A New Jersey state assembly committee today approved a bill that would prohibit retailers from imposing a surcharge on credit card transactions in the state.
The bill moves on to the full assembly. There is similar legislation in the state Senate. The bills do have an exemption for gasoline purchases.
The bill is a reaction to the regulations that went into effect on January 27 that allow merchants to impose a surcharge of up to 4 percent on any credit card transaction. Debit cards are exempt from this surcharge.
There are currently ten states that do not allow a surcharge on credit card transactions: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas.
"Additional fees nowadays can mean a decrease in how much a consumer can spend on their families using their credit card," said Vincent Prieto, one of the sponsors of the bill. "The amount of the surcharge may seem miniscule on paper, but in the family budget 1.5 to 3 percent could add up to a shorter grocery list or less to spend on gas. The legislation helps consumers take a stand against increased fees on already high credit card transaction costs."
A number of retailers have gone on record saying they will not implement the checkout fee, including Walmart, Target, Macy's, Sears, McDonald's, The Gap, JC Penney, Neiman Marcus, Home Depot and Lowe's.