Attorney general says credit card surcharges ban likely unconstitutional
As of this year, Oklahoma businesses are allowed to include a credit card surcharge at the point of sale, as long as they make the required disclosures to their customers.
In a legal opinion, Attorney General Mike Hunter said a decades-old state law that banned surcharges was likely an unconstitutional restriction on commercial speech.
Federal courts have struck down similar laws in Florida, California and Texas.
The issue stems from credit card fees that eat into retail profits. Because of those fees, sellers would charge an additional amount to cardholders, but state law prevents a surcharge.
Hunter's opinion issued in December allows businesses to apply credit card surcharges as long as they make the required consumer disclosures, giving state merchants more flexibility on how they manage their costs.
State Sen. Michael Brooks requested the attorney general opinion.
“As a result of this restriction, both businesses and consumers in Oklahoma have been denied information that would help each group make important decisions about how they buy and sell products and services," said Brooks, D-Oklahoma City.
Now, he said, the opinion gives consumers more choices on how to pay, and gives merchants more flexibility on how to manage costs.