Spotted this sign on a Brooklyn BP gas pump last night, taking pains to point out that they are charging customers the same price whether they use cash or credit. Interesting, because last year around this time we ran a few stories about gas stations who doing the opposite. The thing is, credit card companies charge merchants various transaction fees to process the cards. If retailers can’t assess those fees to the customers who actually incur them, the business has to raise prices on everything for everyone.
In New York, it’s illegal for retailers to levy credit card surcharges on customers. Making stores charging the same price sounds pro-consumer, but it actually leads to higher prices. Sometimes it really is best to let the market to find its own solution. Some stores already have. To get around legislation and merchant agreements barring charge credit card customers more, they instead give discounts to people paying cash.