Surcharge
done right.

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Looking for a way to offset the cost of accepting credit cards? Our compliant credit card surcharge program recoups the cost associated with non-cash paying customers, so you earn 100% of your published price.

What is surcharge?

Instead of your business paying for a credit card transaction, the user pays a 3.5% program fee. This helps you retain more revenue while offsetting your cost of credit card acceptance in a way that doesn't break the rules.

The Heartland surcharge program ensures your business is registered and compliant with the card brand regulations. Surcharge fees can only be applied to credit cards — debit, gift and prepaid cards are excluded.

Terminal Receipt
Program Perks

Program Perks


Increased revenue

Save thousands of dollars annually by recouping credit card processing costs from your customers. Your Heartland merchant statement will show you exactly how much you recover through surcharge revenue.

Seamless and simple

Ensure accuracy with our smart, surcharge-enabled terminals that calculate and apply the correct amount on eligible transactions and avoid accidental surcharges on debit and prepaid cards.

Competitive edge

Keep your prices and margins competitive while accepting all the ways customers want to pay — and provide customers with an itemized receipt of all surcharged transactions.

Compliant and secure

U.S-based payments experts ensure your surcharge program is compliant with card brand rules and state and federal regulations. All transactions are protected by Heartland’s high-level security to guard against fraud and breaches.

How it Works


The customer enters their credit card into the terminal and is prompted to confirm the sales amount.

Terminal Receipt
The transaction will go through on a smart terminal, charging the customer a 3.5% Surcharge on their credit card transaction.

Receipt
The 3.5% Surcharge covers the business credit card processing fee, and is reflected on the customer’s receipt.

Check Marks
Funds are deposited the next day. The surcharge revenue earned is shown on the Merchant Statement.

Card Cash

Surcharge vs. Cash Discount

Surcharge and cash discount programs have confused so many people that Visa issued a bulletin to all acquires in October 2018.
Visa
"Models that encourage merchants to add a fee on top of the normal price of the items being purchased, then give an immediate discount of that fee at the register if the customer pays with cash or debit card, are NOT compliant with the Visa Rules..."

Does the distinction really matter?

It does, for three reasons:

 

Debit is Never Credit

Surcharges cannot be applied to debit cards, even if the PIN is not being used and the card is swiped for the transaction. Merchants that don’t remove the surcharge fee for debit cards can face fines or other repercussions.

Prohibited States

Adding a fee makes it a surcharge program. Surcharge programs are prohibited in a handful of states.* This means improperly implementing a surcharge in those states could land merchants in legal trouble.

Service Fees

Posting cash prices and charging a “service fee” that is removed for cash customers is not a discount. Programs using this model are not compliant, which lead to repercussions from the card brands.

It’s not worth the risk. Instead, merchants can implement a fully compliant surcharge program with the help of Heartland.

*As of early 2021, only Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Puerto Rico continue to prohibit surcharging. Note that surcharging laws have been overturned by court decisions in several other states but are still on the books.

Learn more about surcharge

Discover additional information about surcharging practices and the rules which major card brands laid out to help our merchants remain compliant.

 

Clear the Confusion

There are a lot of misunderstandings and much misinformation regarding cash discount and surcharge programs. Let’s dispel the myths in simple terms.

 



Clear the Confusion

Beware of Fees with Clever Names

A surcharge by any other name is still a surcharge. But that hasn’t stopped misleading programs with creative labels for surcharge fees from popping up. It also doesn’t change the fact that there are strict rules for surcharging that you must comply with.

 

Beware of Fees