Popeyes ‘Economic Service Fee’ Is Really Just A Credit Card Fee

57 – 60 = Cash discount

If you haven’t visited a Popeyes fast-food outlet lately, you may be in for a surprise the next time you stop by. Sometimes last year, some franchisees––we’re not sure how many–started to impose a 57-cent service fee on transactions over $5. Coincidentally, they also offer a 60-cent refund on all cash transactions. The net effect is that customers get a minuscule discount off the sticker price for paying cash, but have to pay a 57-cent fee to pay with plastic.

Last year, Washington, D.C.’s WTOP noticed the practice in northern Virginia, and contacted Popeyes corporate. They told the station:

We have notified our franchise system that we do not condone the practice of charging different prices for credit card and cash payments, and continue to follow up with franchises regarding discontinuing this fee.

Clearly, not all franchisees listened, because reader Marky Mark snapped the above picture just this weekend.

Offering cash customers a discount has never been illegal or against credit card issuers’ rules, and is a favorite tactic of gas stations when prices soar. Surcharges might be okay in the near future if an ongoing lawsuit is settled, as long as they don’t exceed the amount that the merchant actually pays to their credit card processor.