The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York has preliminarily approved a proposed settlement agreement in antitrust litigation regarding interchange fees and merchant discounts. As part of the settlement, Visa will be implementing certain Visa International Operating Regulation rule changes, including the ability for merchants in the U.S. and U.S. territories to surcharge certain credit card transactions beginning Jan. 27, 2013. Merchants who choose to surcharge once the rule changes take place will be required to follow certain requirements, including disclosing surcharge practices to customers at the store entry point and at the point of sale. Full details about the surcharge rule changes and disclosure requirements will be provided in late December 2012. After Visa’s Operating Regulations are changed to permit surcharging and subject to the complete rules that will govern merchant surcharging, U.S. merchants will have the option of adding a surcharge to either all Visa credit card transactions or to particular types of Visa credit card transactions. Specific limits will apply to each of these types of surcharges, and merchant surcharges cannot exceed the maximum amount of 4 percent of the underlying transaction.
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