Legislation would bar credit card surcharge in RI

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Providence Democrat has introduced legislation that would prohibit retailers from charging customers extra if they use a credit card to make a purchase.

Rep. John Lombardi says that passing along a credit card transaction fee isn't consumer-friendly. He says if merchants want to avoid paying the fees themselves, they can offer discounts to customers paying cash.

Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said Tuesday that the bill would provide an important consumer protection.

A call requesting comment was left with the Rhode Island Retail Federation.

Businesses won the right to impose a surcharge in a settlement last year of a lawsuit brought against Visa, MasterCard and major banks. Beginning Jan. 27, retailers were allowed to charge customers using credit cards up to 4 percent extra.

Massachusetts, Connecticut and several other states prohibit the surcharge.

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