When shopping locally, stores may warn you that paying with your card will incur additional fees, intended to offset the processing fees charged to stores for each electronic transaction.
New Jersey is one of several states that allow establishments to pass these charges on to the consumer. But local Garden State governments don’t have the power to do the same.
A bill put forward by a committee of the Assembly aims to change this. Sponsored by MP Annette Quijano, D-Union, the measure would allow local governments to impose convenience fees for accepting electronic payments in person or online.
The measure, which was unanimously approved on Nov. 15 by the Assembly’s State and Local Government Committee, would cap fees at $ 3 per transaction, instead of allowing a percentage-based fee system.
“It kind of helps the law catch up,” New Jersey 101.5 Mike Cerra, executive director of the League of New Jersey Municipalities, told New Jersey.
According to the bill, several counties in New Jersey imposed these convenience fees, even though they are technically not allowed. With this proposed law, Cerra noted, the individual taxpayer who chooses to pay electronically can pay the bill for more convenience, instead of having the processing fee taken out of the general fund.
The measure was recently amended to clarify that local governments should always give residents the option of making payments through non-electronic means, such as cash, checks or money orders.
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at [email protected]
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