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Information For Funeral Homes Using the NFDA-endorsed Bank of America Credit Card Processing Program

Posted: February 8, 2013

by NFDA General Counsel T. Scott Gilligan

Beginning January 27, 2013, funeral homes in 40 states will be allowed to impose surcharges on consumers who pay with credit cards. (Funeral homes in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas are prohibited from imposing surcharges by state law).

Prior to imposing surcharges, funeral homes must notify VISA, MasterCard and Bank of America of their intent to impose surcharges. In addition, notices to the public must be posted in the funeral home. There are restrictions on the size of the surcharge which funeral homes should be aware of. Below is information for funeral homes that may want to impose surcharges and currently use Bank of America credit card processing services, an NFDA endorsed provider.

1. Prior Notice to VISA and MasterCard. Funeral homes must provide 30 days advance notice to VISA and MasterCard before they may impose surcharges on consumers. Notices can be filed at www.visa.com/merchantsurcharging and www.mastercardmerchant.com.

In the notices to VISA, funeral homes will be asked to list information regarding the payment service provider which is Bank of America. That information is as follows:

Name: Bank of America
Contact Name: Valerie Ferguson
Phone Number: 502-315-3117
E-mail Address: valerie.ferguson@bankofamericamerchant.com

Within five business days of notifying VISA and MasterCard, funeral homes must also notify Bank of America that they will be imposing surcharges. That notice may be filed at www.merchant.bankofamerica.com/surcharge.

2. Notices to Consumers. For funeral homes that wish to impose surcharges are required to post notices to consumers that a surcharge will be imposed if a credit card is used. The notice must be in writing and displayed at the point of entry into the funeral home, at the point of sale and on the receipt given to the consumer. An example of how to word the notice is provided on the VISA website and reads as follows:

"We impose a surcharge on credit cards that is not greater than our cost of acceptance."

If funeral homes are imposing a surcharge, a written notice should be placed at the entrance to the funeral home and on the GPL. The amount of the surcharge must also be listed on the Statement of Funeral Goods and Services Selected under a line entry which shows the dollar amount of the surcharge.

3. Restrictions on Surcharges. Surcharges may only be imposed on credit cards, not debit cards. In addition, surcharges may not exceed the amount of the swipe fee that the funeral home pays the credit card company. This maximum limitation may be difficult for funeral homes to comply with since different credit cards have different swipe fees, especially those providing rewards to consumers.

Below is a chart showing the swipe fees that are applicable to credit cards processed through the NFDA-endorsed Bank of America credit card processing program:

VISA, MasterCard and Discover Credit Cards

Qualification

Level Description of Card

Swipe Fee Rate

Qualified

Card Present, Magnetic Strip Read, Signature Obtained

1.799%

Mid-Qualified

Key-Entered, Rewards and E-Commerce

2.782%

Non-Qualified

Commercial Cards – Business, Corporate, Purchasing

3.595%

 

Surcharges imposed upon consumers using credit cards cannot exceed the swipe fees paid by the funeral home. A funeral home in the NFDA-endorsed Bank of America credit card processing program can either vary the surcharge depending upon the credit card used or can set the surcharge at the lowest swipe fee amount of 1.799%.

NFDA members who have questions about credit card surcharges may contact NFDA General Counsel Scott Gilligan at 513-871-6332.

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