Marleau bill would ban ‘swipe fees’

LANSING—State Sen. Jim Marleau introduced a consumer protection measure Thursday that would prevent retailers from adding surcharges to certain bills.

Under current law, merchants are allowed to charge “swipe fees” or “checkout fees” to consumers who pay by credit card. Senate Bill 240 would ban these surcharges, which may be up to 4 percent of a total sale.

“Michigan residents have enough challenges. Paying extra at the register for using a credit card shouldn’t be one of them,” said Marleau, R-Lake Orion. “My measure will protect consumers from this practice. To maintain Michigan’s comeback, we must remain a consumer-friendly state, for Michiganders as well as for the millions of tourists who spend their hard-earned money here every year.”

Currently, 10 states have laws banning credit card surcharges, and at least 13 other states have introduced legislation that would prohibit the practice.

As of January 28, Visa and MasterCard have allowed merchants to add a surcharge to credit card transactions as part of a settlement from an antitrust lawsuit brought by retailers.

“I am thankful that three Republicans as well as three Democrats have signed on as co-sponsors of this bill,” Marleau said. “This issue hurts everyone at the cash register, and we have found a bipartisan solution for it.”

SB 240 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions for consideration.