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The Real Deal: The hidden cost of using a credit card at a restaurant

Cash may be king these days while dining out because a surcharge may be tacked on to your bill for using your credit card -- and you may not even realize it.

News 12 Staff

Jul 27, 2022, 10:56 AM

Updated 691 days ago

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Cash may be king these days while dining out because a surcharge may be tacked on to your bill for using your credit card -- and you may not even realize it.
News 12's consumer reporter Janice Lieberman tells us how to save when we go out to dinner.
Added fees can be anywhere from 1.5-3.5%.
In most states, the surcharge must be visible to the diner.
New Jersey lawmakers are trying to pass a bill requiring all businesses to clearly post that you will be paying more for the convenience, but will prohibit establishments from charging you more than just to cover their costs.
Connecticut law prohibits charging a customer a surcharge for using credit instead of cash -- and in New York, it’s legal if clearly stated.
Melissa Fleishert, the CEO of the New York Restaurant Association, says restaurants are struggling to make a profit and have to try to recoup some of their losses.
"I think they're just looking for anything right now to help because it's such a struggle with all the increasing inflation prices right now," Fleishert says.
To save money on eating out:
Buy a gift card that is below face value and use it to pay your bill. Warehouse stores like Costco often sell bundles of cards for less than face value.
Ask for discounts for students or seniors.
Join the restaurant's mailing list and see if there are specials for kids to eat free, or when you celebrate a birthday.
Don't be shy about taking leftovers home -- it may mean a meal for the next day.
If you have a story idea, question or tip, click here to reach out to Janice.


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