Checkout Fees Not Allowed on Debit Cards

Effective January 13, 2018 surcharges (“Checkout Fee”) on credit and debit card transactions in the European Union are prohibited.

In the United States, confusion about checkout fees still lingers; here are some facts you should know:

1.  The surcharge only applies to credit cards; it does not apply to debit cards (Advantage Checkcards for example) or prepaid cards (gift cards for example).

2.  Cardholders who use a debit card or prepaid card at checkout and choose the “Credit” button in order to make a “signature” purchase should not be charged the checkout fee. If a store attempts to add a surcharge on a purchase made with an Advantage Checkcard, cardholders should inform the clerk they are using a Debit Card and not a Credit Card and the surcharge is not allowed.

3.   The Checkout Fee may not exceed four percent (4%) of the transaction amount and merchants must disclose the actual dollar amount of the surcharge on the receipt. For credit card returns, a prorated share of the surcharge should be refunded as well.

4.   Merchants who implement the Checkout Fee are required to post a notice at the point of store entry and at the point sale. Online merchants must post a notice in the first web page that references credit card brands. The disclosure must include the amount of the surcharge and the fact that the fee is being charged by the merchant, not the card issuer.

5.   Some merchants will charge a “convenience fee” to the cardholder for using a card for their purchase, for example, taking online payments for rent rather than accepting checks only.

6.   Merchants are allowed to require minimum purchases for credit card purchases — up to $10.

7.   Merchant are allowed to offer discounts for cash, checks, or other non-credit card means of payment.

8.   Several states have laws restricting surcharging; if you suspect a violation in these states, contact the state attorney general’s office.

9.  Cardholders may report merchants charging excessive Checkout fees, or surcharging debit or prepaid card transactions, or setting minimum debit purchase requirements by going to this website and filling out the “Report a Merchant Violation” form:

10.  For FAQs and information about credit cards and debit cards visit

If you have any questions, contact Karen Bos-Carey with The Advantage Network at (605) 335-2937.

Business Checkcards make purchasing fast and easy!

Business Checkcards can be used for equipment, monthly utility payments, office supplies, and more! Business Checkcard holders have access to account funds at over a million ATMs and millions of merchant locations.

Several cards can be ordered for each business, allowing employees access to company funds without carrying the business checkbook. Each employee will have his or her name printed on the card along with the business name for easy recognition.  Each card can have customized spending limits to determine the amount of access each cardholder has to company funds.

 Protection against fraudulent use of a Checkcard, including transactions made via telephone or on the Internet.

Business Debit programs must offer these core Visa enhancements to cardholders.  These enhancements include:

  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Purchase Security/Extended Protection
  • Travel and Emergency Assistance Service
  • Emergency Card/Cash Disbursement
  • Cardholder Inquiry Service
  • Lost/Stolen Card Reporting.

Visa Savings Edge provides Advantage Business Checkcard holders discounts on qualifying purchases at participating merchants. All Advantage member institution Business Checkcard programs are automatically enrolled. A mobile app is available for cardholders to download.

Your institution may choose to offer a rewards program for your Business Checkcard holders. Rewards enhance cardholder relationships and encourage increased Checkcard usage, earning additional interchange for the financial institution.

Small Business Owner Resources
Cardholders can share advice, resources and ideas for taking care of a small business. This free page offers connections with other small business owners, a variety of blogs and helpful videos.

Contact us to learn how you can start a Business Checkcard program at your institution!


Advantage Fraud Rate Lowest of All Visa Debit Issuers

One of the reasons Advantage has such a low fraud rate is that we process disputes for all members in our network and receive all fraud notices. Because of this we are able to see fraud trends and common points of compromise before an individual institution would be able to spot them.

In addition, Advantage offers a number of best-in-industry products and services to member institutions including:

  • Free Consumer Education/Awareness  The best defense against fraud is the cardholder. By being aware and engaged they can help protect themselves from fraud.
  • Checkcard Alerts About 50% of fraud is found by the cardholder.
  • Chip Card Production When you complete a transaction at a chip-enabled terminal, a one-time code is generated for that transaction. This makes it nearly impossible to use stolen transaction data to create a counterfeit card, reducing in-store fraud.
  • Data Navigator is a web-based tool that collects real-time data on all Checkcard and ATM card transactions made by your cardholders as well as all transactions made at your ATMs.
  • Debit Insights is a data analytics tool that provides information about the behavior of your cardholders so you can meet their needs with Checkcard products and features.
  • FIS SecurLOCK, Fraud Alert Management Fraud scoring and rules are applied to all Advantage card products and all card activity including ATM, PIN Debit and signature transactions.

Surcharge-free access to 55,000 Allpoint ATMs Worldwide for all Advantage Cardholders

Membership in the Allpoint ATM Network is free to Advantage member financial institutions.

Your cardholders receive surcharge-free cash withdrawal transactions (and other account access) at Allpoint ATMs, conveniently located in destination retail outlets including national and regional retailers such as Target, Kroger and Costco. This means you are not sending your cardholders to competing financial institution ATMs.

As an ATM owner, you are not required to participate in the Allpoint Network, so you keep your surcharge income. Issuers may choose to charge or waive foreign service fees for Allpoint transactions.

Other benefits of membership include:


  • Freedom to market Allpoint ATMs as your own in messages to your cardholders.
  • Browser-friendly web-based ATM locator and customer FAQs (
  • Free ATM locator app for mobile devices including iPhone®, Android® and Blackberry®.
  • 24/7 IVR phone system with English and Spanish options.
  • Comprehensive “members only” Allpoint website which provides access to Allpoint graphics, marketing tips, and web banners as well as the ability to download and customize marketing collateral.For an additional fee, you can create a customizable ATM locator which incorporates your ATM locations as well as Allpoint locations.

Click here to find Advantage, In Balance and Allpoint locations around the world!

Card production update: new opportunities for member institutions!

The Advantage Network is excited to announce that we have migrated our ATM card and Checkcard production to a third-party vendor. The move will provide our member institutions with access to cutting-edge technology as well as providing quick turn-around and personal assistance for card pulls and other services.


The migration will also provide new opportunities to institutions once the migration is complete:

  1. Ability to customize card packaging including the card mailer and envelope.

  2. In-branch instant issuance and/or PIN-pad capability.

  3. Individually customized card capability (put your pet’s photo on your Checkcard).

  4. Contactless readiness. (Contactless card production is projected to be approximately three years out.)