Can restaurants charge you extra for using a credit card in New York?

Like many people, we love going out to dinner. The fancy restaurants, the popular restaurants, the hole-in-the-walls, the chains, and everything in between. NEVER until 2023 have I seen restaurants doing this.

We got charged almost $10 just because we paid for our dinners with a credit card over the weekend.

This has happened a few times. I get the bill and there is another line item that will be charged all because I use my credit card. For instance, look at my picture here. Here's one recently where they charged us $1.79.


I didn't want to throw anyone under the bus so we blacked out the business name above. When we asked the owners about this, they said they didn't want to pay the credit card fees. No kidding. Neither do we. Unfortunately, people are coming to YOUR restaurant and paying YOU money for food. Food that isn't cheap anymore, by the way.

The owners said that they didn't want to raise their prices. Raise their prices? My chicken dish was already $20. What would you have to do to cover YOUR credit card fees? 60 cents? That's 3%.

Just raise the price of your food. Your average chicken dish is already overpriced. It's for every credit card too. Not just a few companies that I use.

In another instance when I used my card, there was a FLAT fee to use the credit card.

Of course, you may think "Then just don't go there, Rob". Totally. We aren't going to go back. But, it would have been nice for a heads-up, I guess. The owners said they posted the info by all the doors. Great. Let me check at every restaurant all the fine print by all the doors.

Restaurants in Buffalo: don't charge US for your credit card fees.

It turns out that this is illegal.

Illegal For Restaurants To Do This in New York State

Again, we were charged almost $10 because we paid for our dinners with a credit card and it's not the first time this has happened. Restaurants are doing this because they have to pay a service fee to the credit card companies, but don't want to pay it. Instead, they pass that charge onto YOU. However, if you see a restaurant do that, it may be in violation of the New York State law.

New York State says that a lot of businesses and customers are confused, according to their website:

New York businesses must advertise accurate prices.  A business may offer a discount if consumers pay in cash, but cannot charge more at the register simply because a consumer uses their credit card", said Secretary of State Rossana Rosado, who oversees the New York State Division of Consumer Protection.

Note: The law is different from debit cards.

Here were two examples on the New York State website that were both in VIOLATION if you were to use a credit card at a restaurant:

VIOLATION--Percentage Fee: Tabitha goes into Tavern T for a meal.  She sees on the menu a sign that says, “if you use a credit or debit card, you will incur a 5% fee.”

VIOLATION--Flat Fee Notice: Kevin goes into his corner store for some groceries.  A sign at the register says, “$5 fee for credit or debit card sales.”

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