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TSG in PaymentsSource: Pandemic's timing could push more merchants to start surcharging

It’s still unclear how the coronavirus pandemic will alter payment habits over time — will consumers avoid cash out of fear of germs, or will they favor it as the one payment option that nearly all merchants accept?

An impending change in interchange rates may tip the scales in cash’s favor.

Only four states — Kansas, Connecticut, Colorado and Massachusetts — continue to ban the practice of merchants adding an extra fee to defray the cost of credit card acceptance.

But an increase in interchange fees for card-not-present transactions is scheduled to take effect in April — right at a time when card-not-present transactions are likely to spike due to increased online shopping from people sheltering at home.

It’s one of many complexities companies are struggling with as the crisis progresses.

“As for coronavirus, there is not a lot of thought on credit card fees for primarily business owners of small restaurants,” said Alecia Muth, director of market intelligence for Strawhecker Group. “For them, it is more about how do we stay in operation at this point?”

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