Beginning today, US merchants in 40 states have the option of charging checkout fees for Visa and MasterCard credit card purchases, to cover the surcharges they pay. In the past this has been prohibited by the credit card companies, but that’s no longer the case due to a preliminary lawsuit settlement. The fee can vary from 1.5% to 4% of the purchase price and cannot be more than the amount paid by the merchant. Usage is voluntary, and initial adoption is expected to be slow and limited to smaller merchants. Only actual credit cards are affected—prepaid cards and debit cards are exempt, even if you select “credit” as the payment method. Ten states have passed laws prohibiting checkout fees: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas. Note that American Express and Discover are not part of the settlement, but their merchant agreements allow checkout fees provided they are consistently applied to all cards.