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Surcharge for card payments

The term "surcharge" is used by the international card companies (Mastercard and Visa) to describe an additional fee charged by the merchant on top of the selling price if the customer pays using a credit or debit card (Mastercard, Visa, Maestro and V PAY).

A card surcharge is directly linked to the means of payment. It is added on to the selling price as a fee for paying by card and is usually shown separately on the invoice supplied by the merchant. However, the card surcharge is included in the card transaction and is not shown as a separate entry on your monthly credit card statement.

No. If a merchant in Switzerland imposes a surcharge in direct connection with the use of a credit card or a debit card as the means of payment, then the merchant is breaching the rules of the international card companies Mastercard and Visa. These prohibit merchants from imposing such surcharges.

In Switzerland there is no law that prohibits the imposition of a surcharge because of the means of payment used. However, the Federal Competition Commission (WEKO) has ruled that the card companies (Mastercard and Visa), can enforce their licensing rules in Switzerland, and these rules prohibit the imposition of card surcharges by merchants.

The card surcharge is added to the selling price by the merchant.

Yes, the card issuer can claim prohibited surcharges imposed on card payments in Switzerland back from the relevant merchant's payment processor.

The form "Objection concerning a credit card surcharge" is available to download here. The form must be accompanied by a copy of the invoice or a booking or order confirmation which shows the credit card surcharge. The completed and signed form and accompanying documents should be sent to Viseca Card Services SA within 30 days of the invoice date.

The following requirements must be met for a refund claim to be made:

  • The charge that is contested must be an explicitly declared surcharge for payment using a credit card which is not imposed when payment is made by another means.

  • The country in which the transaction was made must be Switzerland.

  • The written objection must be accompanied by a copy of the invoice or a booking or order confirmation which shows the credit card surcharge.

  • The fully completed objection form must be submitted to Viseca Card Services SA within 30 days of the invoice date.

Viseca Card Services SA will verify the objection, request the return of the surcharge amount from the relevant merchant's payment processor and at the same time credit the amount to the cardholder on his/her monthly statement.

As long as all the requirements are met, the surcharge will be credited on the next monthly statement.

Fees and surcharges that are imposed by the merchants in connection with order processing, dispatch, delivery and service provision and any additional services (e.g. seat reservations with airlines) and are accepted by the cardholder cannot be claimed back.

Fees imposed by the card issuers (e.g. processing fees for transactions abroad and/or foreign currency transactions) which are shown separately on the monthly statement are also excluded from refund claims

A refund claim can only be made in the case of transactions relating to card payments on which a prohibited surcharge was imposed by a merchant in Switzerland. Other countries have different provisions which may allow surcharges.