Maine’s Credit Card Surcharging Law

Statute 9-A, §8-509 means bad news for all of Maine’s great lobster restaurants. Because of it, businesses cannot impose a surcharge onto their customers in an attempt to avoid the cost of credit card processing. Maine’s credit card surcharging law is much lengthier than most surcharge bans like it. That is because of a recent amendment made to it.

In February of 2017 a bill was heard by the 128th Maine Legislature that sought to abolish the current surcharge ban. Although it failed, the original statute was altered to allow a cash discount. The new wording explains that, “a discount or reduction from the regular price is not a surcharge,” and therefore merchants can easily incentivize customers to pay in cash. In a state famous for its expensive seafood dishes, this cash discount might still flounder.

maine's surcharging

The larger a ticket, the more likely it is that a customer won’t have enough cash to cover it. Restaurant guests are then forced to use electronic methods of payment, and merchants with low margins are forced to take the fee or increase prices. A bigger pill to swallow is the government’s part in Maine’s credit card surcharging law.

Two thirds of statute 9-A, §8-509 explains that government entities are exempt from the surcharge ban and can give anyone a surcharge. That’s right, in Maine you could pay an additional fee on that parking ticket but still have to raise your business’s prices to cover card fees. That is, if those fees are higher than average. Some merchant card service providers like PayFrog charge just 0.75% per transaction on top of the cost of accepting a digital transaction. That means we keep our lights on with less than one percent of each card transaction we help you to make. Alternatively, take our rate challenge to see if you can get an even better rate.

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