Posted on Aug 19, 2019

Running a profitable business is a continual challenge. The costs of inventory, labor, energy, and transportation are rising. And at the same time, competition is growing fiercer, so keeping prices low is crucial. A way to cut costs and improve the bottom line is sure to get any merchant’s attention — and you can offer them a solution that allows them to recoup their payment processing fees.

Credit Card Surcharges

A credit card surcharge or “swipe fee” is an added fee that a merchant charges to cover the costs of payment processing. In 2013, merchants won the right to charge the added fee, up to 4 percent, as a part of a federal court case settlement between merchants, payment networks, and credit card issuers. At the federal level, credit card surcharges are legal, but ten states — California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas — and Puerto Rico have enacted legislation that prohibits them.

Credit Card Surcharges vs. a Cash Discount Program

Unlike surcharges, cash discounts are acceptable throughout the U.S. The Durbin Amendment (part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act) makes it illegal for a payment card network to inhibit a merchant to offer a discount to customers for using a particular type of payment. Cash discounts differ from surcharges in that customers pay less if they use cash, rather than pay more if they use a payment card.

Merchants must, however, meet requirements to offer a legal cash discount program:

  • Businesses must have signage at the door and at checkout that clearly shows the credit price alongside the discounted price.

  • The cash discount must be shown on the receipt.

  • The offer of the cash discount must be clearly communicated to all customers before transactions.

Familiar examples of cash-discounts-done-right are gas stations. You can see the credit and cash prices on signage, and people paying with cash will see a discount on their receipts. 

It’s essential to equip your customers with the right technology to manage cash discounts — if it’s not handled in a compliant way, it could be considered a credit card surcharge, which is not legal in some states or by card brand rules.

Visa issued a bulletin in late 2018 that states many programs claiming to be “cash discounts” are actually just adding a fee at the register and then removing it if the customer pays with cash or a debit card — which basically amounts to surcharging.

Visa stated: “To maintain a level playing field for all participants of the payment system, Visa actively enforces its rules pertaining to cash discount programs.” Leveling the playing field may mean finding ways to deal with different card brand’s rules, for example, American Express doesn’t allow charging different swipe fees for different card networks, even though fees can differ. 


Although it will take some expertise to navigate the surcharge and cash discount regulatory landscape, the effort can be rewarded with a big payoff. Merchants that find a way to offer a compliant credit card surcharge or cash discount program have the potential to recover up to 100 percent of payment processing fees, a powerful incentive to invest in a new solution, especially in an era when its growing harder and harder to compete and to control operating costs.

Merchants ready to implement a credit card surcharge or cash discount program are looking for help and guidance. VARs with expertise in this area can elevate themselves from the role of solution provider to trusted business advisor. You can build strong, lasting relationships with your clients who will depend on you for advice to stay in compliance while also improving the bottom line. 

Posted on Jul 26, 2017

We are excited to officially announce the launch of Marketplace - a powerful ecosystem of complementary and value-added third-party applications that are designed to seamlessly integrate with the POS system. Marketplace applications are designed to add functionality to our POS software and create a wide range of operational efficiencies that will save merchants money, free up counter space, improve reporting and streamline operations.

Marketplace is powered by Mozart client. Mozart enables cloud connectivity to a traditional POS platform and activates two-way communication (including transference of ticket data) up to the Lighthouse cloud platform and Marketplace. Mozart also powers the Lighthouse cloud connectivity for SkyTab!

As part of our Marketplace launch, we are excited to announce our first premier partner integration - DoorDash. DoorDash is the nation's largest and fastest-growing on-demand food delivery service to integrate with our POS Marketplace!

  • With this integration, the POS menu can easily be pushed to DoorDash and orders placed through DoorDash will now be able to sync directly with Restaurant Manager POS Systems.
  • By integrating online ordering and delivery services into the POS system, merchants are able to eliminate the need for separate iPads or tablets dedicated to managing these services, saving the restaurant money, freeing up counter space, and streamlining operations. That functionality can now be seamlessly incorporated into the POS, enabling all orders to be managed from one central location.
  • In addition to increased operational efficiency and cost savings, this integration also greatly improves the merchant's reporting data since all orders are being handled by a single system.