By Atossa Araxia Abrahamian
Jan 28 (Reuters) - Retailers in 40 U.S. states can now charge up to 4 percent extra when consumers pay for goods and services with a credit card.
These so-called "checkout fees" went into effect Jan. 27, and do not apply to debit card payments. The fees are illegal in California, New York, Texas and seven other states.
It is up to individual businesses to decide whether or not to add the fee. They also need to disclose it to consumers.
The surcharge is the result of the biggest anti-trust settlement in U.S. history. In 2005, a group of merchants claimed that MasterCard, Visa, and nine other companies including JP Morgan Chase & Co conspired to fix the fees that stores pay to accept credit card purchases.
After years of negotiations the case, which was in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, settled. The credit card companies and banks agreed to pay $6 billion to the merchants who sued.
As part of the settlement, the merchants are allowed to charge customers a fee equal to the cost of accepting cards, typically 1.5 percent to 3 percent of the purchase price.
"While it is legal to charge extra, there are still limitations," said Kathy Li, the San Francisco director of Consumer Action, a consumer advocacy agency. "For example, what kind of cards can be charged? What cards can't be charged?"
To avoid the surcharge, consumers can pay with cash or debit cards. And when shopping online, "there's always PayPal or other electronic payment options that can't charge extra," said Li.
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$50 American Buffalo
First minted in 2006 primarily for investors and collectors, this coin with a face value of <a href="http://www.usmint.gov/pressroom/index.cfm?action=press_release&ID=674" target="_hplink">$50 was the first to be minted using pure 24-karat gold</a>.
$50 American Buffalo (Reverse)
American Eagle Platinum Coin
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American Eagle Platinum Coin (Reverse)
Chief Justice John Marshall $500 Bill
The <a href="http://www.bargaineering.com/articles/fun-trivia-facts-about-the-500-bill.html" target="_hplink">$500 bill, printed in 1918</a>, featured the face of Chief Justice John Marshall alongside a blue seal.
Chief Justice John Marshall $500 Bill (Reverse)
The reverse side depicts Hernando de Soto's discovery of the Mississippi River.
President William McKinley $500 Bill
President William McKinley could be found on the <a href="http://moneyfactory.gov/smallsize500gdenom.html" target="_hplink">$500 bill, printed in 1928 and 1934</a> (latter shown).
President William McKinley $500 Bill (Reverse)
This $1,000 bill, printed in 1918, features Alexander Hamilton, the current face of a the $10 bill. A <a href="http://www.mentalfloss.com/article/23692/100000-bill-story-behind-large-denomination-currency" target="_hplink">later series in 1928 featured President Grover Cleveland</a>.
$1,000 Bill (Reverse)
James Madison is featured on the <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-19/brother-can-you-spare-a-100-000-bill-echoes.html" target="_hplink">$5,000 bill, printed in 1934</a>.
$5,000 Bill (Reverse)
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$10,000 Bill (Reverse)
The $100,000 Gold Certificate
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The $1 Trillion Coin
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