Credit-card users may start paying merchants fees



COBB COUNTY, Ga. - Credit-card users might soon end up paying more than cash customers.

Starting now, merchants can pass on their credit-card surcharges to customers.

The fees charged by banks range from about 1.5 percent all the way up to 4 percent.

Many consumers Channel 2's Diana Davis met in a Cobb County shopping center told her they don't like the idea.

"It would tick me off if a merchant decides that he wanted to charge me extra just for using a credit card. I would not patronize that facility," said Sabrina Stallworth.

George Scott's small Smyrna gift shop opened nearly a year ago. He told Davis that business is tough and credit-card fees don't help.

"It ranges from one and a half percent for a no-frills card up to 4 percent for some of their reward cards that people give me," said Scott.

Still, he told Davis he's not sure if he'll pass on those fees to customers.

"I know I kind of wouldn't like that, so I started thinking my customers probably wouldn't like it either," he said.

Big-box stores like Walmart have already said they won't pass on fees to customers.

Channel 2 consumer advisor Clark Howard told Davis it may take some time for smaller merchants to decide.

"It's going to start really slow. It's going to be a while, and it's going to be a matter of pioneers getting out front testing this out," Howard said.

The owner of Smyrna's Adventure Outdoors told Davis he's offered a 3-percent cash discount for customers buying new firearms for some time, since there is such a small profit margin on firearms.

About 60 percent of the store's sales are with credit cards. Still, the store owner has not made up his mind.

"We just kind of heard about it last week, so we're not really sure, but it's probably something we should look at. We always like to offer our customers options and then let them choose," Eric Wallace said.

Howard agrees it all comes down to consumer choice.

"I will choose. If one business is charging me a surcharge and another is not, maybe I go to the one that doesn't charge surcharge."

Merchants who do decide to charge for using credit cards will have to post a notice in the store informing consumers.

Channel 2 Action News

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