Managing expenses is crucial for moving businesses, and one of the significant costs is credit card processing fees. These fees can cut deeply into your profit margins, sometimes consuming as much as 50%. To alleviate this burden, many businesses consider adding a surcharge to credit card transactions. However, it’s vital to understand that Visa strictly prohibits surcharging debit cards.

We’ve personally seen Visa enforcing surcharging rules to a much higher degree than they have in the past. If you are not surcharging in a compliant fashion, you are opening yourself up to fines and penalties that add up quickly.

Key Point on Visa’s Surcharging Rule

No Surcharging on Debit or Prepaid Cards: Visa explicitly prohibits surcharging on debit and prepaid cards. This means that if a customer pays with a debit or prepaid card, you CANNOT add a surcharge to their transaction. Ensuring compliance with this rule is crucial to avoid penalties.

Check State Regulations: Each state in the U.S. has its own laws and regulations regarding whether surcharging is allowed. It’s essential to check your state’s specific rules to ensure compliance. Some states have outright bans or specific limitations on surcharging practices. There are some states where surcharging is not allowed at all.

Identifying Debit and Prepaid Cards

To comply with Visa’s rules, it’s imperative to distinguish between credit cards and debit/prepaid cards. Here are two effective methods to check if a customer is paying with a credit or debit card:

  1. Ask the Customer: Simply inquire whether the customer is using a credit or debit card. While this method relies on the customer’s knowledge and honesty, it can be a straightforward way to get the information you need.
  2. Use a BIN Lookup Tool: The first six digits of a card number (the Bank Identification Number or BIN) can identify the card type. BIN lookup tools are available that can tell you whether a card is a debit, credit, or prepaid card based on these digits.

Failing to comply with Visa’s rule against surcharging debit cards can lead to significant consequences. Penalties for non-compliance can quickly add up, resulting in substantial financial losses. Therefore, it’s crucial to stay informed and vigilant about these regulations.

While surcharging can be a valuable tool for recouping credit card processing fees, it must be done in compliance with Visa’s rules. By ensuring that you do not surcharge debit or prepaid cards and following the proper procedures, you can avoid penalties and maintain a positive relationship with your customers and Visa.

Stay proactive in understanding and implementing these rules to protect your business from unnecessary fines and ensure you are operating within the guidelines. This way, you can focus on what you do best—providing excellent moving services to your customers.

If you have any additional questions regarding surcharging, please feel free to reach out to our team by calling 714-461-2200 or emailing

Remedy is powered by Chosen Payments whom is a registered ISO and FSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Concord, CA and BBVA USA, Birmingham, AL., and Elavon, Inc., N.A., Atlanta, Georgia, and Evolve Bank & Trust; Memphis, TN., and Merrick Bank, N.A., Draper, UT.