Most Michigan consumers who pay for purchases with credit cards have, at a certain point, paid a fee for the privilege. Normally, credit card users first encounter these types of fees at gas stations, where there are often two prices listed for each grade of fuel. At these gas stations, it always costs more to pay with a credit card. Why? Retailers incur fees when they accept credit card transactions. So, in an effort to keep these fees from eating away at profits, they pass them on to their customers. Although most common at gas stations, some retailers and restaurants also charge fees for credit card use. Through the years, consumer advocacy groups have questioned whether or not these fees are fair. However, a recent California case determined that credit card surcharges are, in fact, constitutional.
What Michigan Consumers Should Know About How the First Amendment Applies to Merchants and Credit Card Fees
Until recently, there was a statute in California that prohibited merchants from charging consumers more for credit card purchases. Yet, merchants got around the statute by offering consumers discounts on cash purchases. Of course, consumers paying with credit cards still paid more, and this prompted a number of retailers to come forward and challenge the statute.
These retailers argued that the original purpose of the statute was negated when merchants discovered the loophole. This original purpose was to protect consumers from deception – or, in this case, fees tacked on at points of sale. Yet, retailers pointed out that discounting cash purchases was far more deceptive than telling consumers up front that fees apply to credit card purchases.
Eventually, the California courts agreed, and the statute was struck down. How does this decision apply to Michigan consumers? It just shows that, even if Michigan retailers couldn’t legally charge more for credit card purchases, they would probably just discount purchases made with cash. So, while consumers in Michigan may not like credit card fees, at least they know about them up front. Also, based on this California case, a statute that forces retailers to deceive consumers violates their First Amendment rights. Therefore, in that state, it was tossed out as unconstitutional.
Reasons Why Michigan Consumers Should Use Credit Cards for Purchases in Spite of Fees
Fortunately, consumers only pay about 2% more for purchases when they use credit cards with certain retailers. Therefore, if you spend $50 on a tank of gas, you pay about $1 more when using a credit card. Of course, no one wants to pay more for anything. Yet, using credit cards sparingly and responsibly helps Michigan consumers build good credit scores.
In addition, when consumers in Michigan strategically use credit cards to build credit scores, they often pick fuel purchases as their only credit card expense. With this plan, they simply charge all of their gas purchases, and pay off the bill in full every month. This keeps their credit card accounts active, and their credit utilization ratios low. It’s an easy plan, and it works.
Therefore, dealing with small charges here and there doesn’t seem that bad when you’re working toward a larger goal – a good credit score. Besides, there are gas stations in Michigan that don’t charge fees for credit card use.
Why All Credit Card Users in Michigan Should Regularly Check their Credit Reports
Using credit cards to build good credit scores works out well for many consumers in Michigan. However, the increased credit report activity that comes with the practice can lead to more credit report errors. Unfortunately, creditors and the credit bureaus frequently make mistakes with consumer information, and these mistakes lead to credit report inaccuracies that can hurt credit scores.
So, protect the good credit score you’re building by checking your credit reports at least once every 12 months. This is how frequently the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) allows you to request free copies of your credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. Just go to www.annualcreditreport.com, and claim your free credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
Next, while reviewing your credit reports, if you see that mistakes and errors have brought your credit score down, contact Credit Repair Lawyers of America in Michigan. Instead of handling the dispute process on your own, let our credit pros do the work for you. We’ll also connect you with an experienced credit attorney that will do whatever it takes to get you clean credit reports for FREE.
The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit in Michigan
Don’t let errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America in Michigan, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in cases that are settled. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (248) 353-2882 or contact us on our contact page.
For more information about Free Credit Repair, please visit https://www.creditrepairlawyersam.com/michigan/credit-repair/.