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Ideas. Insights. Inspiration.

Credit Card Advice

Here's my advice for businesses thinking about passing along their credit card fees to consumers as a separate charge...


Consumers don't like surprises at the end of their transactions.

In the online world, unexpected fees and surcharges that appear on the transaction page immediately before the purchase is to be completed are one of the top reasons for cart abandonment.

And even if your customers don't throw down their merchandise in protest and leave your store empty-handed, you will have created a moment of dissatisfaction that may cause them to begin considering competitors who aren't directly charging this fee. And for what, the 3% that you've already been paying for years (and that should have already been built into your business model)?

If you've been accepting credit cards as a cost of doing business up until now, you won't earn any consumer goodwill with your "transparency"... which consumers will rightly interpret as you blaming the credit card companies for the fee you're suddenly choosing to add to their bills.

If you suddenly feel you need to recoup your credit card fees, raise your prices. Consumers know everything is increasing right now due to rampant inflation, so you have the perfect cover to do that.

And if you'd prefer your customers pay with debit or cash?

Just tell them that.

Small businesses can put out a sign that says, "𝘈𝘴 𝘢 𝘴𝘮𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴, 𝘸𝘦'𝘥 𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘱𝘢𝘺𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘥𝘦𝘣𝘪𝘵, 𝘪𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘤𝘢𝘯, 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘦𝘭𝘱 𝘶𝘴 𝘴𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘰𝘯 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘵 𝘤𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘧𝘦𝘦𝘴."

Some customers will choose to do so, and that's great! Some won't, preferring to earn their credit card points or delay the cost of their purchase for 30 days... and that has to be okay too.

(Global enterprises? Don't bother with the sign: consumers won't have any sympathy for you. Instead, use your scale to demand lower fees from the credit card companies.)

Merchants in Canada were previously forbidden from passing along credit card fees to consumers... until today.

But retailers should remember this simple truth:

Just because you can do something, it doesn't mean that you should.


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