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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -
The next time you use a credit card for a purchase, you could pay an extra surcharge to the retailer.
Effective Jan. 27, retailers can now impose an extra charge of up to four percent of the value of your transaction.
A recent court settlement in U.S. District Court between retailers and the payments industry allows the so-called "checkout fee," which permits merchants to pass along the "interchange fee" they pay to banks or credit card companies to the consumer.
Ten states have already banned the new surcharge. They include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, and Texas.
The fee can only be charged on credit card transactions and not on debit cards or pre-paid cards. Retailers cannot charge more than the interstate fee, which averages between 1.5 percent and 3 percent of the value of the transaction.
If retailers intend to impose the fee, they are required to notify customers at the store entrance and at the point of sale or online on the first page that references credit card brands.
Much like many gas stations have been doing, retailers may offer a "discounts" for using a form of payment other than a credit card.
Consumer advocates recommend educating yourself on each store's policy and taking a good look at your receipts.