California cracks down on illegal credit card charges

A number of businesses throughout California were recently charged with tacking a fee onto the purchases of consumers who opted to use their credit cards.

Consumers all over the Golden State may have been charged additional fees for putting their purchases on credit cards, according to a report from Visalia, California, television station KMPH. While the state’s law allows businesses to charge these fees for those who use debit cards, the additional cost for credit card purchases is still prohibited. Often, these charges range from 45 cents to $2, and may only be applied if a purchase is worth less than a predetermined amount, usually $10 or $15.

In addition to the fees for using debit cards, businesses are also permitted to charge less to consumers who choose to make their purchases using cash, the report said.

Companies may choose to charge these fees, regardless of legality, to defray the cost of the processing charges they are hit with by credit networks. Often, these transaction fees are for a small percentage of a total purchase price, but can add up to tens of thousands of dollars per year for even small businesses.