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Businesses Reluctant To Add Additional Credit Card Swipe Fee

A new law allows businesses to pass on credit card fees to their customers, but many say they're too worried they'd lose business if they did.

A swipe of a credit card may now cost buyers more than they bargained for. Until Sunday, individual businesses had to foot the bill for swiping a customer’s card, anywhere from 1.5 percent to 4 percent. Now, it is up to retailers to decide whether to pass the charge along to shoppers.

“I think that for me, you know standing in front of the customer at the end of the day when they’re picking up their car and explaining to them that I’m going to charge them a fee for using their Master Card or Visa just doesn’t send a good message,” says Don Seader, owner of World Wide Automotive Services in Bloomington.

Four percent may not seem all that hefty, but on big ticket items it adds up. A $1,000 purchase could generate up to a $40 surcharge fee. In this troubling economy, the extra fee may send loyal customers somewhere else.

“I try to limit what I do and where I go to, you know, what I’m buying and things and if I really have to I, generally now, go to the bank and withdraw money if I go to a certain place where I know that will happen. I just go ahead and pay cash,” Bedford resident Bryan Duke says.

Businesses that do choose to pass along the fee are required to alert customers by posting a sign at the entrance of their store. The percentage amount, however, does not have to be disclosed until a sell is final.

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