💲 Credit card surcharges are legal in New Jersey, under certain conditions

💲 Dozens of businesses have been cited for violating the rules

💲 Keep reading to see the list of businesses that have been fined by the state

Consumers in New Jersey that absolutely hate credit card surcharges being imposed on almost every restaurant and retail transaction in the Garden State.

Unfortunately, those fees are completely legal as long as the business tells you about it before you are charged. They also have to give you the option of paying with cash to avoid the fee.

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has cited dozens of businesses for not telling their customers about the surcharges and others for not accepting cash payments.


Under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (N.J.S.A. 56:8-2.33(a): "A person selling or offering for sale goods or services at retail shall not require a buyer to pay using credit or prohibit cash as payment in order to purchase the goods or services.”

Consumer Affairs officials announced Wednesday they had been conducting a year-long investigation of dozens of complaints and fined 30 business for violating the rules on cash payments and credit card fees.

The majority of the businesses cited were bars and restaurants, but also included coffee shops, delicatessens, hair salons, and a clothing store.

What notices does the law require?

According to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs:

If a seller of good or services imposes a surcharge on a consumer using a credit card, the seller must notify the consumer of the amount of the surcharge.

Disclosing the amount of the surcharge by stating a percentage is permissible, but in all cases the surcharge must be disclosed prior to the consumer incurring any charge for goods or services.

Getty Images
Getty Images

Disclosing only that a surcharge will be applied, without also disclosing the amount prior to the consumer incurring a charge, is not sufficient to comply with the law.

For example, it is not enough for a seller to post a sign stating: “We impose a credit card surcharge that does not exceed our processing costs.”

For in-person transactions, where and in what manner must the notice about any credit card surcharges be posted?

According to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs:

For sellers other than restaurants, the amount of the surcharge must be disclosed on a sign at both the point of entry and the point of sale (e.g., the cash register or wherever payment is collected).

For restaurants, the amount of the surcharge must be disclosed on signs both in the customer service area and on the menu, including menu-boards and menus posted online or accessed through QR codes.

Two empty wine glasses sitting in a restaurant on a warm sunny afternoon.

There is no particular form of signage required. Handwritten notes, homemade signs, and stickers (on menus, for example) can be sufficient, so long as they clearly and conspicuously display the amount of the surcharge prior to the transaction and are posted in the required locations.

How much of a surcharge can be applied?

In 2023, Gov. Phil Murphy signed new consumer protections into law.

The biggest change was a provision that prevented businesses from profiting on these surcharges.

Merchants are prohibited from imposing a credit card surcharge that is greater than the actual cost to the seller to process the credit card payment.

Customers Pay With Contactless Cards
Bloomberg via Getty Images

These costs are generally no greater than 3.5% of the transaction.

Below is a list of businesses cited for violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

The following businesses were cited for “failing to clearly and conspicuously provide notice to customers” about the surcharges:

💲 Sunrise Bagels, Oradell (Bergen County)
💲 Bagel Supreme, Paramus (Bergen County)
💲 Riverside BBQ, Riverside (Burlington County)
💲 Merryman’s Pub, Pitman (Gloucester County)
💲 Tastee Platters, Hoboken (Hudson County)
💲 The Lola, Hoboken (Hudson County)
💲 Los Cuernos, Jersey City (Hudson County)
💲 Park Deli, Highland Park (Middlesex County)
💲 Krauszer’s Food Store, Piscataway (Middlesex County)
💲 La Lupa, Manalapan (Monmouth County)
💲 Hot Bagels and Deli, Boonton (Morris County)
💲 Uzbekistana Restaurant, Boonton (Morris County)
💲 Café Crevier, Denville (Morris County)
💲 King’s Kid Delicatessen, Pequannock (Morris County)
💲 22 West Tap and Grill, Bound Brook (Somerset County)
💲 The Sizzle BBQ, Newton (Sussex County)

The following businesses were cited for “no-cash” policies:

💲 Twisted Tavern, Hammonton (Atlantic County)
💲 Pullman Bakery, Edgewater (Bergen County)
💲 Patisserie Florentine, Hackensack (Bergen County)
💲 Madewell, Marlton (Burlington County)
💲 Glosslab, Hoboken (Hudson County)
💲 Bluestone Lane, Hoboken (Hudson County)
💲 Maggie’s Home Expresso, Hoboken (Hudson County)
💲 Moge Tee, Jersey City (Hudson County)
💲 Modcup Coffee Truck, Jersey City (Hudson County)
💲 Bluestone Lane, Jersey City (Hudson County)
💲 Van Gogh Café, Trenton (Mercer County)
💲 Ayala Coffee, Union (Union County)
💲 Dry Bar, Multiple locations (Bergen, Hudson and Union Counties)
💲 The Cookie Connect, Multiple locations (Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Morris Counties)

If you suspect that a business has violated New Jersey's rules on credit card surcharges, you are urged to report it by calling (800) 242-5846.

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