If you use a credit card you could be paying an extra fee when you make that next purchase. The new charge is called a "checkout fee."
When you use your credit card, it costs the store money to process the transaction. Now they want to pass that charge on to you. Beginning January 27, stores can charge up to 4 percent extra just for using your credit card. Websites like Consumer Action and Consumer World are sounding the alarm and informing people about the changes so they won't be shocked at the register.
This is all the result of a settlement that was reached in July of 2012 between retailers and several major banks, including Visa and MasterCard. Here's a bit of good news, consumer advocates don't expect many stores will be quick to pass this charge down to you for fear of losing customers, but don't count this a victory. Those same advocates, say while it may take a while, this new checkout fee could become the new norm.
Here are some things to keep in mind, stores will be required to post the new surcharge clearly in their stores and on their websites. You won't be charged for using a debit card or cash. Also remember, while this new rule is allowed, it is not mandatory, it's up to each store. If you are asked to pay the new surcharge, you can always decline and find a place not asking for the checkout fee.
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