VISA and Mastercard have agreed to a $7.2 billion settlement in a class action lawsuit brought by merchants over credit card swipe fees. Swipe fees are the fees that VISA and Mastercard charge merchants each time a customer uses one of their credit cards, usually calculated as a percentage of the overall transaction.
Under the terms of the settlement, merchants are permitted to pass on to consumers the cost of swipe fees, something that was not permitted in the past. But California consumers may be among those least impacted because, notwithstanding the settlement, California law prohibits consumer surcharges related to swipe fees when the consumer elects to use a credit card.
Similar laws exists in several other states. California Civil Code § 1748.1 (a) reads:
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