Senate bill authorizes credit card charges and heads to governor’s office

Senate Bill 21-091 would allow sellers to assess a credit card surcharge of up to 2% per transaction.

DENVER – Senate Bill 21-091, a bill that would allow merchants to impose a surcharge on people who use a credit card to pay for the sale or rental, now only needs the signature of Governor Jared Polis.

“What this bill does is put safeguards and transparencies on these fees and cap them at no more than 2%,” State Senator Roberto Rodriguez told 9NEWS on Saturday.

Rodriguez, who is one of the sponsors of the bill, also chairs the Senate Committee on Business, Labor and Technology.

9NEWS has contacted the governor’s office for a statement on the bill, and a spokesperson said via email: “The governor reviews each bill on its merits and will review final legislation once it has reached. his office.”

Explain the invoice

Current law does not allow a seller, lessor, or business issuing a credit or charge card to impose a surcharge on a person paying for a sale or rental transaction using a credit card.

This bill would repeal this ban, but limit the maximum amount of the surcharge per transaction to 2% of the total cost to the buyer, “… for the transaction of sale or lease”.

Consumers should also be informed in a form showing that the surcharge is present.

According to the text of the bill, surcharge may not apply to payments by cash, check, or debit card and gift card.

Description of the invoice on the Colorado General Assembly website describes the outcome of the violation of the bill, if signed.

“If a merchant imposes an additional charge for breach of the invoice, an individual consumer aggrieved by the breach can request enforcement of the breach as an overcharge under the” Uniform Code of Consumer Credit – Remedies and Sanctions, “states the web page.

Shared feelings

State Senator Rodriguez explained that, if signed, adding the surcharge for a credit card transaction would be optional.

“This cost would be transparent and they have to indicate that it is done when this load is incurred,” he said.

He also added that passing a bill like this, in the long run, could help reduce costs for consumers.

“… with competition, these prices might go down or it might cause people to use lower prices for cash and / or debit cards, which at some point might lower the prices because, like I said, it’s the credit card costs that go into the overall cost to consumers in general, ”he said.

Senator Rodriguez added that overall it could help some businesses.

“I think trying to be proactive and not reactive is the best point to follow. For me, this bill was always about giving small traders the opportunity to recoup and not having to increase costs for everything. world. And that’s why I got into this bill, “Rodriguez said.” … we think the 2% cap doesn’t allow anyone to abuse it. “

On the other hand, supporters like the Colorado Consumer Health Initiative, opposes the surtax portion of the bill, saying the cost could add up for some who are struggling financially.

“… at the end of the day, adding an extra 2% to costly necessities, whether it’s rent, childcare or especially medical bills, can add hundreds of dollars to the bill. someone’s credit card and pushing people into more debt. And that hundred dollars could turn into thousands of dollars if they can’t pay off that credit card right away, ”Adam said. Fox, the group’s deputy director. “I think we know housing costs are rising and are a growing concern for many Coloradians trying to meet those costs. And if particularly low and moderate income Coloradians put the rent on a credit card and that supplement gets added, it’s just going to make it much more difficult to keep their housing stable and to keep a roof over their heads. “

Fox added that they recognized the need for the change the bill would enact, but the surcharge, he said, needed further consideration of the impact it has on consumers.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the right solution, or at least this solution hasn’t really looked at how to protect consumers who have to put some of these expensive necessities on credit cards,” he said. . . “I think it’s important that consumers take note of when these supplements can be added to their bills.”

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