CONVENIENCE FEE: Definition and How to Avoid it on Credit Cards

how to avoid convenience fees and how to use credit card wording.

Many credit cards offer benefits and rewards, but the value of such benefits may not be enough to compensate for the convenience fee charged by some retailers. Customers are frequently charged convenience fees by merchants in order to deter them from paying with their credit cards. However, that isn’t the only circumstance in which you may be charged an additional price. In other circumstances, the price is a surcharge rather than a convenience fee. In this article we’ll be looking at how to avoid a convenience fee and how to use credit card wording. It’s critical to understand what convenience fees and surcharges are and how to avoid them if you want to maximize your credit card benefits.

What Is Convenience Fee

When clients use a non-standard payment channel or method, some merchants charge a convenience fee. A convenience fee is a cost charged by a business for payments made by a non-cash, non-check, or non-ACH channel. Typically, the fee is a set amount or a percentage of the sale.

Businesses charge convenience fees to cover the costs of payment processing companies when a customer pays with a credit card. A convenience fee is not the same as a surcharge, which is a fee for just using a credit card. In some states, surcharges are prohibited. When it comes to convenience fees and surcharges, all businesses must adhere to payment processing providers’ policies as well as government regulations.

When you buy tickets online rather than at the box office, movie theaters, for example, often charge a convenience fee. If you pay some bills over the phone instead of online, you may be charged a fee. The cost is based on the payment method, so whether you use a credit or debit card, you will be charged. Customers who wish to pay with a credit card may be charged a convenience fee by other businesses. For example: Tuition, Taxes, Utilities

Convenience Fee For Credit Card

Paying using a credit card typically results in benefits, so why not use it for everything and get significant rewards? Because credit card convenience fees can be an impediment. Credit card purchases, both large and little, may incur additional fees in the form of convenience fees. As a result, some of the most significant expenses you may incur on a credit card — such as taxes, rent, and tuition – may not be the financial no-brainer you expected.

If merchants want to accept card transactions on their networks, they must follow the rules established by card networks. Regulations imposed by card networks include:

  • The customer must be informed of the convenience fee.
  • The fee must be the same for all forms of payment accepted through that channel (over the phone, online or by mail).
  • The cost is applicable to in-person payments, recurring payments, and installments (such as subscriptions, utility bills, insurance premiums).
  • The convenience fee cannot be higher than the fee for other card-based payments.

How Can I Avoid Paying Convenience Fees?

Switching to an alternative method of payment, such cash or a check, is usually the best option if one is available. Keep in mind that your rate may be greater than if you bought with cash or a check, even if the retailer doesn’t state that they impose a transaction fee.

All 50 states allow convenience fees, but they must be made clear at the point of sale. Also, a convenience fee can only be charged if there is another way to pay that is more preferred.

Credit Card Convenience Fee Wording

You can charge a convenience fee for credit cards as a merchant if the following conditions are met:

  • The cost represents an actual convenience, such as web or phone payments, and must be charged for all types of payments made through that channel. This means that if your agency takes both credit cards and ACH payments, you must charge a fee for all web and phone payments, whether made with a credit card or an ACH.
  • Those who pay in person will not be charged the fee.
  • The fee is conveyed to the cardholder in simple terms as a charge for the convenience provided to them.
  • The money is being collected by a business that is NOT in a card-not-present environment.
  • The fee is a fixed sum rather than a proportion of the amount paid.
  • Consumers must be informed that they will be charged a convenience fee prior to making their payment. They must also be offered the option to cancel the payment and pay in another manner if they so desire.
  • Convenience fees are unlawful in the following states: Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Texas. They are likewise prohibited in Puerto Rico. You cannot impose a fee if you are collecting a payment in any of these states.
  • Recurring payments may not be charged a credit card convenience fee.

Convenience fees can be either a fixed monetary sum or a percentage of the transaction amount (often 2 to 3 percent), and must be communicated to the customer in advance.

Methods for charging credit card fees to your customers include:

Add a credit card surcharge line item to the invoice and a standard amount to each invoice.

Calculate the amount needed to offset the 2.9 percent + $0.30 charge per invoice.

How Do You Determine a Convenience Fee?

If you wish to earn $100 from a credit card payment, start with that amount, which is z:

(z +.3) /.971 = y

(100 +.3) /.971 = y

y = 103.2

You must add a convenience fee of $3.30 to receive $100.00 from this credit card payment. In some circumstances, you’ll need to double-check the total to make sure there isn’t a missing $0.01 rounding error. There are other online calculators available to assist you in calculating a credit card convenience fee.

How Do You Avoid Convenience Fee

Here’s how to avoid a credit card convenience fee:

  • To select for ACH (automatic clearing house) transactions, link your bank account using the account number and routing number. There are no costs because this is a payment made directly from your bank account; no credit card payments are processed.
  • If at all feasible, pay in person.
  • Avoid merchants and businesses that charge fees for card processing.

Keep in mind that surcharges and credit card convenience fees are not the same thing. Surcharges are not permitted by most issuers or state governments, however processing costs are. If you’ve been charged a surcharge, contact your card company and provide it with the merchant’s name and location.

When it comes to convenience fees, there are essentially just two options to avoid them: pay the cost or use another method of payment, such as cash. Many establishments, such as petrol stations, give discounts when a customer pays with cash. It’s always worth asking if a company offers a monetary discount. Convenience fees are supposed to be revealed at the point of sale, so if you discover you’ve been charged one after the fact, you should dispute it with your credit card provider.


While processing costs for online credit card payments are prevalent, you can avoid them by directly linking your bank account for automatic clearing house payments (ACH) or paying by mail. Surcharges for using a credit card at a register whether dining out or shopping, on the other hand, are illegal in many states and should not be included in your final transaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is another word for convenience fee?

An additional fee for a service that already has a base fee. Also known as a service fee.

Is it illegal to charge a convenience fee?

Convenience fees are permissible as long as they are less than a specific percentage of the purchase price and are not levied in a jurisdiction where they are prohibited. Whether you pay a convenience fee or a surcharge, it is only allowed if the payee informs you of the fee.

How can renters avoid convenience fees?

Credit card payments incur convenience fees. Please set up e-check payments via the online portal to avoid being charged a convenience fee.

Does Mastercard allow convenience fees?

Mastercard allows convenience fees as long as businesses charge them on all similar transactions, regardless of payment method.

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