Passing on Credit Card Processing Fees and Compliance       

It’s possible to pay 0% for credit card processing with one catch: There are a few rules and compliance items that need to be addressed first.  

How does this work?

Afirmpay provides technology for both online and retail businesses to pass on processing fees to their customers. At the time of the purchase, customers are informed of a fee amount for paying with a credit card. If customers choose to pay with a no-fee method of payment (debit card or cash), the business receives 100% of the sale. The business only pays the low cost of debit card acceptance.

What rules are involved for passing on credit card fees?

To pass on credit card fees, businesses must comply with the contractual rules of each card brand (such as Visa and MasterCard) as a condition of accepting their cards. The rules are as follows:

  • The business must be registered with each card brand and this process takes about 30 days.
  • The merchant must inform their customers of the credit card fee with appropriate signage or documentations at the point of sale.
  • The amount of the credit card fee cannot exceed 4% and the merchant must not profit from the credit card fee.
  • The credit card fee and the price of the product or service must be processed together as one transaction.
  • The receipt must show the amount of the credit card fee as a separate line item.
  • The merchant must not apply a fee to debit cards.


Q: I see that some companies offer a “cash discount” program. Is this complaint?

A: In general no, because they list the cash price and add a fee at the point of sale.

Q: Can I pass on the cost of card acceptance with a “convenience fee”?

A: No, you cannot.

Q: Can I pass on the credit card fee if a customer using a debit card presses the “credit button “on a terminal”

A: No, you cannot.

Q: Do different rules apply for government and education institutions?

A: Yes, they are eligible for a separate low cost “service fee” program.

– Chelsie Cooper- CPP, Owner / President of Afirmpay and Second-generation Payment Processional.