Are your surcharges souring your customers’ dining experience?
During a weekend trip to Acadiana and several dining experiences there and back, we were caught off guard by the practice of surcharge options for credit card payments. At two different locations, we were hit with a four percent surcharge on our bill – one we were advised ahead of time as it was posted on the menu. At the second location, it was posted on the entrance door, however, we missed it. Neither provided a receipt that indicated the charge, which is a requirement.
Here are a few things to remember if you are considering this or doing it at present to be compliant.
While adding surcharges to the cost of a purchase is legal in Louisiana, each credit card brand has its own rules that merchants must adhere to. Our partners at Heartland Payment Systems have a thorough article to review here.
Some of the guidelines include:
Be careful in changing processors without understanding the exposure you could have to your existing processor under liquidated damages for a breech or early termination of an existing processor agreement. And, remember to read your merchant agreement with Visa, MasterCard and Amex. There are some that require you to provide advance notice to the processor before instituting these charges.
Our payment system partner Heartland has a new POS system that can help you with compliant processing of any surcharge, and avoid those on debit transactions.
And, accept that you have the risk of a guest choosing to frequent another restaurant for one that doesn’t use surcharging and instead includes its total operating costs in the menu price.