The Right Partner For Surcharge Done Right

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Surcharge is a program that’s getting a lot of buzz. When applied correctly it can benefit your business, but do it wrong and it puts your business in legal jeopardy.

That’s why Heartland is introducing a Credit Surcharge Program that meets all of the processing and compliance requirements surrounding surcharging. It protects you from breaking federal, state and card brand regulations.

Before getting into Credit Surcharge Program details, let’s first look at what surcharging is, and isn’t. Surcharging enables your restaurant or retail business to pass along credit card acceptance costs to the consumer. It allows you to recoup your card processing charges at the point of purchase above the published merchandise price. It’s important to note that a surcharge cannot be applied to debit cards, prepaid cards and gift cards.

Surcharging shouldn’t be confused with cash discount, which discounts the published merchandise price at the point of purchase for consumers paying with cash. Gas stations, for example, have practiced cash discounts for years – posting a published price per gallon, but reducing the price by a few cents to cash paying customers. It’s easy to see how a cash discount program reduces business revenue while a surcharge program increases it.

Businesses operating hybrid programs, or outside the 44 states where surcharging is legal, can quickly get into hot water. For example, it’s illegal to inflate your published merchandise price by adding a service fee at the point of purchase and then rebating the fee to customers who pay with cash. It’s a surcharge disguised as a cash discount, and it’s not even a true discount for paying cash. It simply brings the cost of merchandise back to its original published price.

The penalties for operating non-compliant surcharge programs are steep. Inadvertently or intentionally circumventing rules can get you fined $1000 per illegal surcharge transaction, and card brands can even revoke your card processing privileges.

Heartland’s Credit Surcharge Program eliminates these risks and complications. We make point of purchase checkout easy, accurate and fast, and keep you in compliance. Here’s why you should consider it:

  • Recoups 3.5% on purchases made by credit to reduce your service fees on card transactions
  • Allows you to remain competitive and affordably accept all the ways customers want to pay
  • Automates checkout with intelligent, surcharge-enabled terminals
  • Supplies required signage and receipts language
  • Itemizes surcharging revenue on Heartland Merchant Statement
  • Assists businesses in notifying card brands
  • Meets federal, state and card brand regulations
  • Keeps you compliant to protect your business from cost infringement penalties

The Heartland Credit Surcharge Program is also unique in that you can turn off the terminal surcharge feature at any time with one call to our Service Center. Whatever surcharges you have made up to that point are yours to keep.

With Heartland on your side, surcharging will help your business recoup card processing charges so you remain competitive and can continue offering all the payment options your customers expect. In addition to keeping more money in your pocket, you’ll also have peace of mind knowing you have a trusted partner protecting you.

For more information on the Heartland Credit Surcharge Program, go to