Know your consumer rights in Mexico: Can a business charge you more for paying with a credit card?

If you use your cards to purchase goods and services, it is important to know your consumer rights in Mexico, since many businesses charge a “commission” or “surcharge” that can range from 3 to 5% on the total value of the purchase or service, when the payment is made by means of a credit or debit card.

Charging more for purchases paid for by credit or debit cards goes against the contract between the business and the banking institute handling the credit card transaction. All contracts for the use of point-of-sale terminals clearly indicate that the payment of services with credit and debit cards cannot affect the cost of the goods and services.

While there is no federal law that prohibits the practice, there are options for the consumer that could result in the business losing their ability to accept credit cards in the future by reporting the contract violation to the processing company used by the business.

CONDUSEF, Mexico’s financial regulatory body, considers this type of practice, in addition to being inappropriate as it conditions the acceptance of credit and debit cards for payment, it’s also onerous for the cardholder, and hinders the promotion of Financial Inclusion.

Although it costs the establishment a commission to receive payment by credit or debit card for the use of the terminal, it also receives benefits such as:

  • Increased sales potential, since today there has been an increase in the population that uses credit and debit cards to purchase everyday goods and services.
  • It reduces business costs, since the transfer of cash implies hiring a company to carry it out or the risk involved in going to the bank to deposit the day’s sales.
  • Through payment with credit or debit cards, the level of security increases in the establishment because less cash is handled.

CONDUSEF recommends that if you are a victim of this type of practice, you can notify the Financial Institution that processes the transaction, notify your banking institute and report an unauthorized charge, or contact financial regulators in Mexico (CONDUSEF) at 1 800 999 8080. You will need to know the business name and full address (street, number, city, colony, state, zip), a phone number to the business can be useful, and the percentage of the purchase you were charged as a commission.

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