Credit Card Convenience Fee Wording: Templates and Scripts for Small Businesses

Credit Card Convenience Fee Wording: Templates and Scripts for Small Businesses

In today’s digital world, your clients often prefer using credit cards to settle invoices for quick payment. This process is straightforward for clients, particularly with the advent of digital wallets, but it presents challenges for small business owners. The fees associated with accepting credit cards can significantly erode profit margins. Credit card convenience fee wording is crucial in safeguarding profits.

Typically, business owners bear the majority of credit card processing expenses. While large retailers may have the leverage to negotiate lower fees with banks and card networks, small businesses usually find these fees to be fixed.

However, there is a silver lining. If you need to accept credit cards, you can mitigate some of the financial impact by implementing a convenience fee. This article provides templates and script suggestions to help you effectively communicate your convenience fee policies to your customers.

Understanding Credit Card Convenience Fee

A convenience fee represents an additional charge passed on to customers for the convenience of using an alternative payment method not typically accepted by a business. For instance, a business accustomed to cash or check transactions may offer credit card payments as an added convenience and levy an extra fee for this service.

Businesses implement convenience fees to offset some processing costs associated with credit card payments. Typically, merchants incur a fee of around 2% or more per card transaction, depending on the payment network. While Mastercard, Visa, and AmEx endorse convenience fee programs for most businesses, certain exceptions may apply. Therefore, businesses should consult their respective merchant services acquirer to determine eligibility for available consumer credit card fee programs.

Although convenience fees are often used interchangeably with service and surcharge fees, they are separate.

Understanding Credit Card Convenience Fee

What Are the Regulations Surrounding Convenience Fee?

Convenience fees are permissible in most jurisdictions, so their implementation is relatively easy. However, each major credit card brand—Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover—has distinct regulations regarding the permissible fee amounts. Notably, the convenience fee must always be fixed and cannot be calculated as a percentage of the transaction value.

Specific rules established by the major credit card companies govern the application of convenience fees:

  • Visa permits convenience fees exclusively for alternative payment methods that are not in-person transactions. Moreover, these fees must be flat amounts, not percentages, and uniformly applicable to all alternative payment methods.
  • Mastercard allows for the broadest range of convenience fees for alternative payments, including in-person and recurring transactions, provided the cost is uniformly applied to all payment types.
  • American Express mandates that merchants must not impose any restrictions, conditions, disadvantages, or fees that are not equally applied to all payment methods except for electronic funds. Therefore, as long as convenience fees are uniformly applied, they are generally permissible.
  • Discover does not have explicit regulations regarding convenience fees but permits surcharges as long as all cards are treated equally. Consequently, convenience fees, if applied uniformly, are typically acceptable.

Regulations require that fees for payment methods be applied equally to ensure fair treatment of customers. Visa’s guidelines can be used to set convenience fee charges. As a result, online-only businesses generally cannot impose convenience fees, and flat fees must be used instead of percentages.

In addition, it is crucial to disclose convenience fees to customers before they finalize their purchases. This transparency allows customers to choose a standard payment method, cancel the transaction, or agree to the convenience fee.

Merchants are required to notify customers clearly and conspicuously before the transaction is completed about the application of convenience fees. Credit card companies have provided guidelines for communicating this disclosure, which typically requires ample signage in-store and near the point of sale.

The notification should specify the fee amount, clarify that it is for utilizing an alternate payment method, indicate the types of payment methods subject to the fee, and disclose the fee before the customer completes the purchase. Additionally, the total dollar amount of the convenience fee should be itemized separately on the customer’s receipt or invoice. Customers should never encounter surprise fees and have the option to cancel the payment and select an alternative method if desired.

What Should You Consider When Creating Convenience Signs?

What Should You Consider When Creating Convenience Signs?

Adhering to certain design principles or best practices is crucial when crafting credit card convenience signs. Here are some key considerations:

  • Compliance:

Regulations regarding convenience fees vary across jurisdictions. In the United States, for instance, the legality and permissibility of convenience fees differ from state to state. Certain states prohibit convenience fees entirely, while others permit them with specific conditions.

Businesses must acquaint themselves with their jurisdiction’s regulations to ascertain the permissibility and constraints related to charging convenience fees.

  • Clarity and Visibility:

It is essential to ensure transparency when implementing convenience fees. Communicating the fee’s presence and value to customers can help prevent potential legal conflicts. For instance, businesses should disclose the convenience fee transparently at the point of sale or during the payment process, ensuring that customers have complete knowledge of any additional charges before finalizing their transaction.

Failure to provide sufficient notice can lead to legal disputes and harm the business’s reputation. The main goal is to ensure that customers are aware of your credit card convenience program as they enter your store and before they make a purchase at the cashier’s terminal.

Prominently display the convenience rate on your signs, especially at points of sale. You should include a credit card convenience sign on the homepage for online stores. Checkout pages should have clear alerts, banners, text, or sections that inform customers about the convenience fee.

  • Placement:

It is important to ensure that all disclosure signage is clearly visible and not obstructed. For each credit card convenience sign, whether for online or in-person transactions, use large, easily readable fonts to ensure the text can be read from a distance.

Using contrasting colors highlights important sections of the signs, such as the convenience rate. Different colors can make your signs more attractive and help make lengthy texts more digestible. However, it is advisable to avoid using elaborate lettering and excessive colors that may hinder readability.

  • Set Up Your Credit Card Payment Infrastructure

The subsequent step involves configuring your credit card hardware and software to align with your convenience charge policies. If you accept credit card payments in person, this process entails configuring your credit card terminals while ensuring compliance with convenience laws.

You must configure your online payment platform to ensure customers are appropriately charged. The exact procedures at this stage depend on the hardware and software you use. It’s advisable to seek guidance from your payment platform provider, payment processor, or merchant service provider to configure your payment systems correctly.

Additionally, businesses must remain informed about any new developments or revisions to existing laws. Regularly seeking guidance from legal counsel or industry experts can assist businesses in maintaining compliance and avoiding any legal risks associated with convenience fees.

Credit Card Convenience Fee Wording: Templates and Scripts

Credit Card Convenience Fee Wording: Templates and Scripts

Here’s an example of a convenience fee notice for US-based businesses:

For Online Transactions


ExampleBusiness offers the option to pay via credit card for your convenience. By proceeding to checkout, you agree that a flat convenience charge of $2 will be added to your total purchase amount.

This fee is included in the total cost of the goods or services you purchase. If you do not want to pay this charge, please click “cancel” below to return to where you were. Alternatively, you can pay using a debit card, digital wallet, ACH, or check to avoid this convenience fee.

In-Person Transactions


A convenience fee of $2 will be added to each credit card transaction to cover the costs associated with processing them. This fee helps us maintain the quality of our services without increasing our prices.

Credit card companies charge us for processing payments, and this nominal charge helps offset those expenses. We gladly accept payments via cash or debit cards, which do not carry this fee. Your comprehension and collaboration are sincerely valued, and we are dedicated to delivering the utmost quality service to you.

These notices comply with major card network regulations. The notice itself does not have strict wording guidelines. And apart from this notice, you may need to have a proper script to convey the fee to the customers.  Here’s an example of a convenience fee notice for US-based businesses:

Over the Phone Transactions

I’m ready to process your credit card payment. Please note that a convenience fee of $2 will be added to transactions made with Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, and similar credit card products. This fee covers our acceptance fee and is not higher than that cost.

However, there is no convenience fee for payments made using debit cards, ACH, or digital wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Is Implementing Convenience Fees Right for Your Business?

Convenience fees are charges merchants impose to offset the expenses related to payment processing. However, these fees are permissible only when alternative standard payment methods are available to customers. Contacting your credit card acquirer is advisable if you plan on applying a convenience fee. They can guide you through adhering to the regulations set forth by credit card companies and inform you about the permissible fee amount.

It is essential to recognize that society is moving towards cashless transactions. Charging a convenience fee may discourage some customers while enticing others. For instance, some people may be willing to pay an extra fee to speed up processes like renewing a driver’s license, but they may not find it worth paying for the time saved when they can mail a check for their electric bill.


Small businesses that want to manage transaction costs while providing diverse customer payment options must understand and appropriately implement credit card convenience fees. To navigate the regulations effectively, it’s crucial to comprehend the distinctions between convenience fees, service fees, and surcharges. Clear communication and transparent disclosure of fees are paramount to ensure that customers have all the necessary information before completing transactions.

Following regulatory guidelines, especially those established by major credit card companies is vital to reduce legal risks and maintain customer trust. Crafting clear and compliant convenience fee notices and communicating transparently during transactions is also necessary to create a positive customer experience and ensure business sustainability in a changing payment environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a credit card convenience fee?

    A credit card convenience fee is an extra charge a business may add when customers use non-standard payment methods like online or phone payments. It helps offset credit card processing costs.

  2. Are credit card convenience fees legal?

    Yes, they’re legal in the US, but they must be disclosed upfront and charged as a flat amount, not a percentage. Laws vary by state, so checking local regulations for compliance is crucial.

  3. How should I notify customers about a convenience fee?

    Inform customers about the fee before purchase, stating the amount, reason, and applicable payment methods. For transparency, include it as a separate line item on receipts or invoices.

  4. Can convenience fees vary between card networks?

    Yes, the rules differ among networks such as Visa and Mastercard. Visa mandates flat fees for card-not-present transactions, while Mastercard offers more flexibility. Check with your acquirer to understand network-specific rules.

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