Business owners can charge for credit card use, but some won't

The convenience of using a credit card could cost you more at the register.

This week, business owners nationwide got the option to pass on the fees they currently pay every time you swipe your credit card instead of paying the cost themselves.

That means the fee of 1.5 to 4 percent of the total bill that businesses previously paid could be added to what you pay at the register.

Mastercard and Visa agreed to give business owners the option of passing on the fees as part of a court settlement with a group of retailers last summer, Indianapolis economist Kyle Anderson said. The settlement does not include customers who use debit cards.

Businesses pay a fee per credit card transaction as a way to cover processing costs, but the fees have increased in recent years as more customers use cards instead of cash, Anderson said.

J.P. Parker Co., a local florist, pays more than $18,000 a year for the fees. And Cecily Harlow, owner of Wavelengths Hair Designs in Greenwood, said 95 percent of her customers pay with a card instead of cash.

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