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Credit card group takes swipe at NRF

WASHINGTON — The National Retail Federation has been outspoken in its criticism of credit card fees and now a group called the Electronic Payments Coalition that represents credit unions,banks and payment card networks is firing back, claiming that the retail lobby is making false statements regarding checkout fees.

As of January 27, 2013, consumers can be charged a “checkout fee,” or merchant-imposed surcharge, when paying with a credit card. As a result of a major class action settlement agreement between retailers and the payments industry, Visa and MasterCard agreed to retailer demands that they remove their longstanding “no surcharge rule” which protected consumers from these fees, the group stated.

According to the coaltion, there are no existing Visa and/or MasterCard rules that in any way prevent a merchant from surcharging Visa and/or MasterCard credit transactions in such states that do not prohibit surcharging, even when the same merchant may also have a presence in a state in which surcharging is prohibited.

The group commented that NRF's claim that American Express contracts bar surcharging, and that if a merchant accepts American Express that this would also preclude them from surcharging Visa or MasterCard is inaccurate. According to the group, the settlement agreement expressly allows merchants to enter into individual contracts with competing brands that prohibit or restrict surcharging for independent consideration.

For more information on the Electronic Payments Coaliton and credit card fees, click here.