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Historically, card association merchant rules have contained anti-steering provisions and “no surcharge” provisions. ; the merchant, which provides the product or service for a price. Card associations charge participating merchants a fee for each consumer credit card transaction and the fee varies based on card association and credit card type. Every payment card transaction involves: the cardholder, who uses a debit or credit card to pay for a product or service. ; the issuer, which provides a payment card to a cardholder and usually maintains the cardholder's account. Here are the average fees and costs for many issuers and payment networks in 2020. At present, merchants can pass along a charge equal to what they pay to accept the card, up to 4 percent. Under American law, in credit card fraud cases, the credit card fraud victim holds little to no liability for the credit card fraud. Credit card processing fees can add up to a big expense for merchants. (1) A seller or lessor in a sales or lease transaction may not impose a surcharge on the buyer or lessee for electing to use a credit card in lieu of payment by cash, check, or similar means, if the seller or lessor accepts payment by credit card. Merchant processing is a separate and distinct line of business from credit card issuing. Merchant services process payments made to the merchant and facilitate the payment of the merchant. The Players and The Process. Credit card surcharges are legal. For example, Cheryl Lavenhar, owner of Knit — a shop geared to all things knitting — in Roslyn, N.Y., warns, “It’s illegal to say you don’t take a card … The Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada (the Code), which all payment card networks operating in Canada have adopted, sets out several rights that merchants have in relation to their contracts and their statements for payment card processing services. Pursuant to a settlement of the U.S. merchant class litigation, Mastercard modified certain rules and business practices to permit U.S. merchants to apply an extra checkout fee, also known as a surcharge, to customers who pay with Mastercard-branded credit cards. Credit card payment networks like Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover permit participating merchants to impose credit card surcharges, when allowed by law. merchant or indirectly through agent banks or other third parties. No credit card issuer may, by contract or otherwise, prohibit a merchant from offering a discount to a customer to induce the customer to pay by cash, check, or similar means, rather than by use of a credit card or its underlying account, for the purchase of goods or services. Most merchants operate within credit card issuer rules and are aware of what can and cannot be done, though the maze of regulations can be confusing. 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