A convenience fee is a charge that a merchant can levy when a customer opts for a non-standard payment method. Convenience fees are legal in the US provided you follow specific guidelines and rules. In order to be in compliance with the Card Brands a convenience fee must meet the following guidelines for applying it correctly:
1. Convenience Fee can only be charged when using an alternative payment method outside of the 'customary payment channel'. For most of our dealers, the 'customary payment channel is 'in-person check or cash'.
2. Merchants (Dealers) must have a customary payment channel available to the customer, and the convenience fee cannot be assessed to these transactions.
3. The fee can only be assessed on the alternate payment channel, non-face-to-face transactions only.
4. You must disclose that the convenience fee is for using an alternative payment method.
5. Must be included in the transaction total, disclosed prior to completion of the sale, and clearly and conspicuously disclosed to the cardholder (merchant must afford the cardholder an opportunity to opt out of the sale).
6. The convenience fee cannot be added to a recurring transaction.
7. The convenience fee should not be advertised as a fee assessed by MasterCard or Visa and cannot be charged in conjunction or in addition to a surcharge.
8. The convenience fee cannot be advertised or otherwise communicated as an offset to the merchant's credit card processing fee.
Dealers are expected to follow all local, state, and federal laws and regulations.