You may have read that earlier today, MasterCard has agreed to settle a longstanding lawsuit brought by a group of U.S. merchants. One of the issues in the settlement concerns the consumer experience at the register. Historically, MasterCard has not permitted merchants in the U.S. to add a checkout fee to purchases made with credit cards. As part of the settlement and at the insistence of the merchants, we will make a change to the rule to allow merchants to surcharge credit cards only, most likely taking effect in late 2012 or early 2013. We took steps to provide consumers with protections in this rule change, including disclosures and capping the amount of the new checkout fee. While we don’t anticipate that merchants will impose a checkout fee, we want cardholders to understand how this decision might affect them.
MasterCard’s President of US Markets Chris McWilton provides some insight into the agreement.