Understanding Credit Card Surcharges for Sales Transactions in Oklahoma

In News by Bruce P. Labrie, J.D.

Did you know that Oklahoma law places significant limitations on surcharges placed on sales transactions in which the buyer chooses to use a credit card or debit card? Although a few exceptions have been maintained in the Oklahoma statutes that specifically address this issue, the majority of transactions that seek to impose a surcharge on a sales transaction in which the buyer uses a credit card or debit card in lieu of cash, check or other similar methods of payment are strictly forbidden.

Several exceptions to the ban on credit card and debit card surcharges apply to some forms of private educational institutions, municipalities, and public trusts. However, even these exceptions are limited to various types of costs related to the sales transaction. Among these exceptions are:

  • service fees that are limited to bank processing fees and financial transaction fees
  • the cost of providing for secure transactions
  • portal fees
  • and fees necessary to compensate for increased bandwidth incurred as a result of providing for an online transaction

Also, the Oklahoma statutes permit cash discounts for most transactions. This distinction should be carefully explored to insure adherence to the implications of the ban on surcharges as clearly demarcated in Title 14A of the Oklahoma statutes.

Businesses: beware the temptation. Because credit card fees incurred by sellers can be significant, the impulse to recoup the fees is common. In fact, many sellers continue to charge these illegal fees in contravention of the Oklahoma states, either out of ignorance of the law or out of the belief that any enforcement action related to these illegal surcharges on credit card and debit card transactions is unlikely to impact them directly. Interestingly, federal law allows some forms of surcharges, albeit with limitations. To avoid damages related to illegal surcharges on credit card and debit card transactions, business owners should research and seek legal expertise related to such restrictions.

For more information regarding these pitfalls, consult the Title 14A of the Oklahoma statutes or contact Resolution Legal Group at 405-235-6500.