Price Hike for Plastic

Credit Cards

For years, retailers had to pay a fee to Visa and MasterCard when shoppers used their cards. But merchants technically weren’t allowed to pass along that surcharge to customers.

Until now.

Thanks to a recent settlement between merchants and the two big card companies, if you spend, say, $100 at the grocery store and pay with plastic, the store could charge you an extra $2.50.

A judge still has to approve the settlement, and it won’t take effect until fall at the earliest—but it’s a cue to put on your smart shopper cap.

The last thing you want is the ATM effect all over again. You swore you’d never pay those pesky out-of-network ATM fees, remember?

But then you did. The lure of convenience (and habit) was too great. So the name of the game is limiting your fee exposure. Some ideas:

    • Consider using cash or debit, especially for smaller purchases (debit cards won’t incur these fees, even if they have the Visa or MasterCard logo).


    • Use credit for bigger purchases, and be super-organized when you shop—to minimize multiple trips.


  • Use a card that gives you enough perks to mitigate the fee.

Fee free. How do you shop smart using your cards?