Can any business charge a credit card surcharge?


Q. I’ve read about the credit card surcharges many restaurants are implementing. Is it only for the food industry? I very recently had an electrician do work in my home and he told me if I use a credit card, there would be a surcharge.
— Consumer

A. Surcharges for using a credit card are annoying, and it can get expensive, too.

Since the pandemic, many businesses have started implementing the surcharges to lower their own cost of doing business.

Whether it’s a restaurant or an electrician, the charges are legal in New Jersey.

But the surcharges must be clearly posted or otherwise communicated to consumers. And importantly, merchants can’t charge more than they pay for the service, meaning they can’t profit off of the charges, thanks in part to a new law in the state.

The charges can’t be added to debit cards, but if your card is accepted by a merchant as a credit card, meaning you’re not asking for a PIN, you’re stuck with the charge.

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This story was originally published on Aug. 1, 2023. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.