Some New York residents are warning others to keep cash on them after finding surprising credit card fees while paying for items.

Mary Diedrich tells the New York Post she went to find an ATM after enjoying a meal at a New York City restaurant. That's because her bill came with a 3 percent credit card fee. A sign outside the restaurant did warn of the extra fee when using a credit card.

“This business has (a) 3% cash adjustment built into all pricing. Any purchases made with a credit or debit card will receive a non-cash adjustment and will be reflected on your bill," a sign outside the Lower East Side restaurant reads.

New York Restaurants Charging More To Use Credit Cards

According to the New York Post, some restaurants charge 4 percent for using a credit card, while others give a 10 percent discount if you pay in cash.

Paying The Bill

A reason for the credit card fee is likely due to the rising cost of goods and rising credit card fees for businesses when accepting credit card payments. In 2021, merchants paid $32.60 billion to accept debit and prepaid cards, an increase of 21.7 percent from 2020, according to Nilson.

New Rules For New York Businesses

In 2019, a new rule was issued that allowed New York businesses to legally charge extra for credit card purchases as long as the increased price was made clear.

In December 2020, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection reminded Empire State residents that businesses are required to inform consumers of the higher credit card price for a product or service by posting the higher price. Businesses are also able to offer a discount to consumers who pay in cash.

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“Many consumers and businesses are confused when it comes to surcharges in the marketplace,” Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, who oversees the New York State Division of Consumer Protection, said in a 2020 press release from the New York State Division of Consumer Protection. “New York businesses must advertise accurate prices. A business may offer a discount if consumers pay in cash, but cannot charge more at the register simply because a consumer uses their credit card.”

New York's Attorney General enforces the laws and encouraged New Yorkers to take the following steps if they feel a business did not advertise the credit card fee.

  1. File a complaint with DCP to seek a return of any fees paid to a New York State merchant.
  2. File a complaint with the Attorney General to enforce the law against a specific merchant you believe to have violated the law.

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