The mid-July release of the proposed Visa/MasterCard Antitrust settlement (Payment Card Interchange Fee and Merchant Discount Antitrust Litigation) continues to create waves in the payments community. Many readers have assumed that the settlement applied to consumer card usage at retailers. A closer reading of the proposed settlement agreement makes it clear that it impacts both consumers and businesses, and that “cards” includes card accounts accessed via virtual and single- use digital cards. As a result, NAPCP has pointed out that surcharging may be permitted in the B2B world as well, further complicating the negotiation of B2B payment terms when card-enabled payments are involved.
As other commentaries have noted, the practice of applying surcharges on card transactions remains illegal according to state law in 10 U.S. states. NAPCP Education Manager Lynn Larson notes that many firms are confused:
“To date, card-using organizations have still encountered suppliers wanting to surcharge. This is one reason why the NAPCP has always encouraged buying organizations to address card acceptance and related terms within supplier contracts.”
NAPCP currently has a very brief poll (three questions) on its website, asking firms how they are approaching the possibility of seller or supplier surcharging with respect to commercial cards. To date, the results suggest that the majority of firms have not started to consider the potential impact on their respective payment strategies. Any firm can respond to this poll (NAPCP membership is not required) and every firm should “tune in” to the on-going debate and discussion about the proposed settlement.
Click here to read the press release from the NAPCP.