Small businesses should know when (and why) to levy surcharges

Regulations regarding additional charges attached to credit card processing transactions can differ in certain states, and it's necessary for stores to be kept up to speed on what's allowed and what isn't. With transactions offering potential costs to business operators, it pays to know exactly what strategy will make the most sense without getting your business in trouble. Business2Community contributor Kevin Fleming discussed this in a recent post examining the pros and cons of levying additional charges.

Obviously catering a business to those with a proclivity toward higher levels of card spending could be a means of securing a steady customer base. But even though 69 percent of the younger consumers polled in a recent survey identified themselves as primarily frequenting small businesses that take plastic, the use of surcharges, which could accumulate very easily, also has the potential to alienate potential repeat buyers.

Rules established by major card companies are also reportedly concerned with maintaining consistency, and can penalize even smaller chains that vary too much in their policies in certain ways.

"If you have even one store location in a state that bans these surcharges, you won't be able to charge extra at any of your locations thanks to rules set by Mastercard and Visa banning retailers from adopting different payment policies in different locations," Fleming writes.

Regardless of the approach taken by individual companies, credit card payment software can offer a means of maintaining that same consistency when it comes to the quality of payment processing desired. Any surcharges or other changes that are enacted may be secured across the board for maximum effect. 

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