Florida law currently prohibits a seller from imposing a surcharge on any buyer who elects to use a credit card. Florida Statute 501.0117 provides that a “surcharge is any additional amount imposed at the time of a sale or lease transaction by the seller or lessor that increases the charge to the buyer or lessee for the privilege of using a credit card payment.” However, a federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals case in 2015, decided on the merits that Florida law prohibiting a merchant from imposing surcharge fees was unconstitutional because it regulated commercial free-speech rights. Similarly, in a U.S Supreme Court case in 2017, the court struck down a New York law that did the same. As our state law continues to stand, federal case law has since overruled the prohibition of seller surcharges.
Are Convenience Fees Taxable in Florida?
Convenience fees are legal under Florida law, and are omitted from our anti-surcharge statute. A convenience fee is essentially a fixed price imposed by the merchant when a customer chooses to pay with a credit card through an online portal or by telephone. This differs from a surcharge, because its only imposes a fee when there is an alternate channel of payment. Whereas a surcharge is not a fixed amount and can be added to any credit card payment, whether the payment is made on a cash register, online or by phone.
Can you Charge a Convenience Fee for Debit Cards?
Generally, convenience fees may be applied to debit card transactions as well. In most cases, debit and credit cards are usually intertwined together, and debit cards have the ability to be swiped as a credit card in various transaction. When a debit card like this is apparent and used for payment, a convenience fee will likely be charged to the customer.
Can you Charge Credit Card Fees to Customers?
Merchants are given the right to charge credit card fees to their customers, so long as they are convenience fees, in accordance with Florida law. Nevertheless, a merchant may still impose a surcharge fee as well. The Eleventh Circuit case has since declared surcharges or swipe fees legal in any consumer transaction.
Florida’s Supreme Court has yet to decide on the surcharge dispute, which creates conflicting regulation between state and federal law. However, as federal law allows merchant surcharges in consumer transactions, many sellers continue to impose these fees upon every transaction.