By CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd

DENVER (CBS4) – If you make most of your purchases by credit card, you may soon have to pay more. Companies like Visa, Mastercard and American Express tack on surcharges of between 1-3.4% when you use your card.

(credit: CBS)

Right now, state law prevents businesses from passing that cost on to customers. Colorado is one of only a handful of states that have such a law and the state legislature is now considering repealing it.

Gail Lindley, owner of Denver Bookbinders, is among those who supports the effort. When the family business opened its doors 92 years ago, customers paid with cash.

Now, Lindley says, most customers put their purchases on a card, meaning she makes less money.

“You have agencies like the federal government. If you don’t take a credit card, they won’t do business with you,” Lindley said.

Gail Lindley (credit: CBS)

State Rep. Colin Larson – a small business owner himself – says government shouldn’t decide which costs businesses get to recoup, especially when it doesn’t play by the same set of rules. Under the current law, government agencies can pass on the fees.

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Larson has introduced a bill that would repeal the law and allow businesses to add up to a 2% surcharge on credit card purchases. He says it’s not just the high dollar credit card sales that hurt business.

“You’re talking about $5. If there’s a 5 cent per transaction plus percentage fee, that’s a significant percentage of a low dollar purchase,” he explained.

State Rep. Colin Larson (credit: CBS)

Lindley says she absorbs an average of $3,000 each month in credit card fees. She says she saw a 60% drop in business last year due to COVID-19 restrictions and the bill would help her to focus more on bookbinding and less on bookkeeping.

“Small business takes a nickel and tries to turn it into 6 cents. At least this gives us a little bit of relief,” she explained.

The bill will get its first committee hearing on Monday. It has bipartisan sponsors in both the House and Senate.

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Another bill would bar businesses from taking credit cards only. Some have gone cashless out of concern about COVID-19.

Shaun Boyd