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Legislative District 02

Posted on: January 19, 2024

Cash No Longer King – But At What Cost?

Cash No Longer King – But At What Cost?

Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe Files Legislation to Protect Consumers from Misapplication of Fees for Credit Card Transactions

(MINEOLA, N.Y.) – Nassau County Legislature Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Siela A. Bynoe (D – Westbury) filed legislation on Friday, Jan. 12 to address the widespread misuse and misunderstanding of New York State laws governing fees for credit card transactions.

While vendors are allowed to charge consumers for using credit cards, they must do so within very defined parameters. However, the law is commonly misapplied, and many vendors post a price for product or service, and then tell a consumer - either in writing or verbally - that they will be charged an additional fee after they have already consumed the product or utilized the service. The correct way to comply with the law is to visibly post the higher credit card price, preferably alongside the cash price, or offer a cash discount.

To protect Nassau consumers and correct the confusion that exists, Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe’s legislation directs Nassau’s Department of Consumer Affairs to create, plan, and oversee regular educational outreach to merchants and consumers – through direct mail, website/social media posts, and PSAs – explaining the law. This outreach would be renewed any time that the state laws governing cash discount policies are amended.

“Like many people, I use non-cash forms of payment to complete many transactions. I enjoy the convenience of not carrying sums of cash with me and take comfort in completing transactions in the safest possible manner,” Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe said. “That is why it is so frustrating to go into a local business and see that the law is being misapplied. My legislative proposal will dispel the pervasive confusion that exists in the marketplace, ensure that Nassau County consumers are fully equipped to make informed decisions when they shop, and hold businesses that willfully violate the law accountable for their actions.”

A three-month grace period would begin upon the enactment of Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe’s legislation. During this time, businesses will be given five business days to cure violations without being fined. However, if a violation during the grace period is not cured during the five-day window, or a violation occurs after the three-month grace period, the business owner in question will be fined up to $500 for each violation.

To aid Consumer Affairs in enforcement, Alternate Deputy Minority Leader Bynoe’s legislation would establish a dedicated hotline and/or online portal for reporting possible violations. 

A guide explaining common scenarios involving credit card transaction laws, can be found here.

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