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Northwoods Business Owners Ponder Card FeesSubmitted: 01/29/2013

Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter
bmeyer@wjfw.com


RHINELANDER - Every time you pay with a credit card, business owners pay a fee.

But now, you could be paying that charge instead.

Starting last weekend, it became legal for businesses to pass on the credit card surcharge to customers.

That could mean you'll pay up to 4% of your total at the register.

Al's Furniture has been a Rhinelander staple for 32 years.

Many people in the Northwoods have been shopping there for years to buy beds, sofas, and chairs.

About half their sales are by credit card.

Owner Jeff Dibbles doesn't want to lose customers by charging an extra fee to buyers.

"First of all, we've been absorbing it for years. There's no sense in changing now. Also, I believe that if I do start charging it, I might have customers walk out the door and not purchase from me," says Dibbles.

Right next door, Coffee Beans, Etc. coffee shop owner Laura Gilbert makes her money dollar by dollar, instead of the hundred by hundred Jeff makes in furniture.

That makes her think about credit card fees differently.

She's hit with a set fee every time a card is used.

"It costs me more money to swipe the card and charge them for it, so I lose money ringing up a refill or even a small cup of coffee, with the percentage that they take out in swiping fees," Gilbert says.

Even selling small items like coffee, about half of her business comes from credit cards, too.

The new rules have Laura thinking about charging customers a little more for using a card.

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