Businesses are passing their credit card fees onto customers, what can you do?

Apr 24, 2024, 10:42 PM | Updated: 10:57 pm

SALT LAKE CITY You’ve likely noticed a growing number of businesses that have gone completely cashless. When it comes time to pay, it’ll involve a tap, swipe or maybe a click on an app. It’s a phenomenon that is contributing to the price we pay for goods and services.

Credit card companies don’t just make money when we are late paying our bills. They rake in billions of dollars through credit card processing fees. Those are the fees businesses pay credit card companies to process your payment. It’s a small percentage of every swipe. They used to swallow that cost as a cost of doing business, but now more and more stores are passing it onto us says WalletHub editor Christie Matherne.

“People are not big fans of credit card processing fees that are passed down to them,” she said.

With many stores no longer even accepting cash as an option, is it fair for those fees to get passed on? An overwhelming number of consumers don’t think so, according to a recent WalletHub survey.

Eighty-five percent think they are being nickel-and-dimed when asked to pay an extra fee to process their credit card payment, while 48% of people feel merchants are not transparent with their credit card transaction fees. And 59% of those surveyed by WalletHub say it’s unfair that businesses are passing their processing fees onto customers.

Is there anything you can do to avoid getting stuck with that cost?

Matherne says you can seek out businesses that do take cash or complain to those who don’t. If you must buy something at a store that won’t let you pay in cash, you can always load money onto a prepaid debit card and pay that way an option. You can also put cash on a prepaid debit card and pay with that to avoid those credit card processing fees but that, too, has its drawbacks.

“Those do tend to charge fees though,” she said. “So, it’s not like you’re saving a ton of money, depending on which one you get.”

Whether or not you agree with the fees being passed on, she says there is another issue of concern about businesses not taking cash – not everyone has a credit or debit card. Some don’t want one while others don’t qualify. Either situation can create some real inequalities.

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Businesses are passing their credit card fees onto customers, what can you do?