Living with credit, Research, regulation, industry reports

Emily’s list: Credit card surcharge edition

Emily Crone

In November, I expressed frustration over merchants that require minimum purchases for credit cards. Originally, it wasn’t allowed, but in 2010, merchants won the right to require a minimum purchase up to $10.

The big news this month is that merchants now have the right to add a surcharge of up to 4 percent on Visa and Mastercard purchases. When I heard this, I was initially concerned that my large purchases would have a noticeable fee. Fortunately, our reporters’ research shows that few merchants even plan to charge such a fee, at least for now. Credit card surcharge edition

I’m torn on this one. On one hand, I can see why this is a win for small businesses whose profits suffer from incurring so many expensive credit card transaction fees. But would a major retailer really need to charge us an extra 4 percent? Fortunately, Target says it won’t raise fees, but who knows if others will. Our survey shows that consumers wouldn’t go for it: “65 percent of Americans who use credit cards said they would pay another way if any fee was charged.” I imagine that people wouldn’t mind as much if it was just built into the price rather than tacked on as a fee.

What are your thoughts on these changes? Would you start paying cash if merchants began implementing these fees?

Please read on for my roundup of my favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week!

1. Krant Cents says that regular budgets are a waste of time and explains how to create a budget that actually offers results.

2. For those still burdened by holiday spending, My Personal Finance Journey explains how to dump holiday hangover debt and avoid it next year.

3. Food is often one of the most expensive items in budgets, especially in large families. TeacHer Finance shares six tips to help you stretch your food dollars and make everything last longer.

4. Money Smart Life offers tips on how to both earn more money and spend less in order to pay down debt.

5. Good Financial Cents shares his best financial tips for newlyweds, especially those who haven’t spent much time discussing money yet.

6. Sweating the Big Stuff debates the benefits of using automatic payments versus paying in advance for credit card debt and other expenses.

7. The Money Principle provides readers with seven steps to analyze your debt situation and begin making progress.

8. Money Smart Guides discusses how to make savings a priority, even when there is nothing left after payday.

9. Debt Free Adventure explains the perils of permanent debt and offers advice on how to make debt temporary.

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, we ask that you do not disclose confidential or personal information such as your bank account numbers, social security numbers, etc. Keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.

  • Thanks for including my link! (And that 4% thing is kind of scary, especially if it starts being tacked onto the price in general.)

  • Anonymous

    can cridet card companies charge 29.9% intersest rate on past due? is it legel ? I am being charge every month over 300 just on finances. what can i do about,

  • Thanks for the mention, it is very appreciated!

  • Virtual Credit Card Reward

    Is credit card is taxable ? if yes then i get rewards on open a new account and i convert it to cash back then i have to pay tax?