Credit card surcharges hit customers, local hikes not expected

FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2009 file picture stickers on a window show which credit cards are valid in a shop in Frankfurt, central Germany. Head to the checkout at an Ikea in Stockholm to pay for your new Karlsfors leather corner sofa and with the simple swipe of a Visa card and a signature it's all yours. But don't try that in Berlin - that'll be 1,699 euro cash or on the debit card please. But just as an American or any number of others wouldn't hesitate to whip out a credit card for a morning coffee on the way to work, a German wouldn't think twice about having to pay cash for a television. It's that financial culture - an aversion to debt and an emphasis on savings - that makes Chancellor Angela Merkel's hardline approach to resolving the European economic through austerity and budget reforms so popular among her constituents. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Several Knoxville companies say they won't pass credit card surcharges on to customers, even though a new policy allows merchants to decide to pay the 4% surcharge or add it to your bill.

"It's always worked into your margin anyway, so there's no reason to put it back out there anyway or anything. That's just not something we would do. We're very customer oriented," said Gourmet Market's owner Eric Nelson.

Nelson said credit card fees cost him close to $40,000 a year, but he'd rather work the cost in to prices than add an additional line to the bill.

A tactic to squash fear as customers start to worry about how the change will affect their pocket books.

"I think it's unfortunate that we're now having to face a surcharge for the use of a credit card," said Cody Chason.

Local 8 News spoke with several shoppers on Market Square and most were split. Some said they're going to be more conscious about their method of payment. Others say they're sticking with plastic regardless.

Nelson hopes the change will increase knowledge about the high costs merchants pay and encourage customers to reach for debit or cash instead.

"It's just easy to flip them the card and go and balance at the end of the month. There's a lot of... there's a lot of convenience in it for everybody, but it's still an expensive thing," said Nelson.

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