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VISA / MASTERCARD IS COMING AFTER MERCHANTS

As we speak, Visa/Mastercard is hiring some 95,000 people as “Fact Checkers.” Their goal is to to locate, fine and terminate merchants who are not following the rules of engagement when it comes to surcharging their customers.

Commonly referred to as “Secret Shoppers,” you’ll find job listings all over for Visa/Mastercard hiring these folks.

Their “job,” if you will, is to walk into stores, make a small purchase, and then report if a merchant is surcharging.

Surcharging, is illegal. Cash Discounting or Dual Pricing is not.

THE DIFFERENCE:

Surcharging is where a merchant, on his own, develops a program where they ADD A FEE for use of a credit/debit card. Since 2013, this practice (once incredibly popular) is now against the rules.

Here’s why. Congress realized that it is practically impossible to police millions of merchants. They passed laws placing the practice on the backs of credit card processors. The number of processors makes it relatively easy for oversight.

However, there are lots of merchants, including right here in our home area, who still practice surcharging. Some are aware of the rules and do it anyway, others are simply unaware of the rules.

Cash Discounting / Dual Pricing was the result of the 2013 rule change and is now offered by some Merchant Service Providers, including our company.

This is a perfectly legitimate way to reduce your processing fees without running afoul of the law.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU GET CAUGHT

1. The First “offense” is an automatic and non-refundable $5,000.00 fine from Visa/Mastercard. There is no way to not pay the fine since their response would be to automatically deduct it OR, if you block the fine, they will simply terminate your merchant account and black list you so that you can’t get another one.

2. The second offense will result in forfeiture of your merchant processing account.

3. Assuming you get another account, if you’re caught again (and you’ll already be “flagged” as a repeat offender) will be to blacklist you making it next to impossible to process credit cards.

This is a game changer for our industry as well as yours. Since we’re already in the Cash Discounting/Dual Pricing model, we have been providing this service to merchants for years.

In your industry, imagine having to pay a $5,000.00 fine or losing your ability to accept credit cards. This could easily cripple your business, perhaps even putting you out of business.

HOW TO AVOID THIS MESS

Find a Merchant Service Provider who can immunize you from having the problem in the first place.

WE DO THAT

If you need help, feel free to reach out.

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