CHARLOTTE, NC - The next time you go shopping, you may want to choose debit instead of credit. Stores can now pass on fees the credit card companies charge them to swipe your plastic.
For local business owners checking out with plastic has always come with a fee. J Major's Bridal Boutique Owner, CJ Bostrom says credit card fees are a big expense, "My fees are in the five figure range on an annual basis." Because of a settlement between Visa, Mastercard and nine banks, retailers can pass that fee onto customers.
Shelly Domenech is the owner of I.C. London Boutique in Dilworth. Domenech says charging her customers the fee simply isn't worth it, "I would not want the customer to feel like penalized or that the prices had gone up because it would feel like that."
Shoppers around the Queen City have mixed emotions. Some say that the fees may be a good thing and prevent people from using credit. Others say that they are not interested in paying any additional costs.
Now that retailers can pass along their credit card fees to customers, that means every time you swipe your card it could cost you anywhere from 1.5% to 4% of your total purchase. If you are making a large purchase; it could be a big chunk of change.
Bride-to-be, Jessie Dugan says her wedding is already a costing a pretty penny, "I'm the consumer, I want to purchase the gown, I don't think I should have to pay extra; I'm already trying to cut the tax out by shipping it to South Carolina."
Bostrom says 99% of her sales are on credit cards, "It just eats into my profits margin and I am okay with that, as long as my business continues to grow and as long as my customers now I am accommodating." She says adding an additional fee in the wedding business could be detrimental. "I won't get the support from my customers and I wouldn't be able to survive if my business decreased because they knew they were accruing that cost."
Credit card surcharges are already banned by law in ten states; the Carolinas are not among them.