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A Measure To Block Credit Card Swipe Fees [AUDIO]

A measure is advancing in Trenton that would stop merchants from adding a swipe fee when you purchase something with a credit card.

credit cards
Jeff J. Mitchell, Getty Images

One of the sponsors of the bill, State Senator Nia Gill, says the legislation stipulates, “You really can’t put a surcharge – another swiping fee- on a fee that actually has been structured into the purchase price…We want to make sure that as part of a consumer protection that we have this law in place…Businesses should not be allowed to stick in an extra charge, normally the fee for swiping has already been built into the purchase price, so you get two fees on one transaction. We find that to be unconscionable in terms of the consumer protection law.”

She adds, “With respect to fuel merchants, we’ll maintain the status quo that has been advanced by the Attorney General that permits the cash – credit distinction…In New York, they have this statute, Connecticut, they have it, and, of course, in Pennsylvania it’s going through the legislature. If we don’t have it, we can become victim to people going to New York to purchase items on their credit card that they could have purchased in New Jersey…I think what it really does is protect commerce in New Jersey as well as protecting the consumer.”

John Holub, the President of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association believes the measure is not necessary.

“Retailers, as it stands today,” he says, “have no intention to increase the price of products on to consumers in the form of a surcharge – for the last several years we’re dealing with the worst economic downturn in 70 years, so the last thing a retailer wants to do is alienate their customer.”

He adds, “What this issue does, however, is bring to light a much bigger over-arching issue – which are hidden fees the credit card companies, the banks charge retailers -hat are costing consumers billions of dollars every year…hat’s the issue that needs to be addressed…The problem that exists are these swipe fees that are costing consumers billions.”

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