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Looking for ways to save money on credit card processing fees? With AscentZeroCost, we help you reduce your credit card fees to nearly 0%.
If your customer chooses to pay with a credit card, an additional fee is added to cover your interchange processing fees and rewards charges. At payment, guests are notified of the fee and are given the option to change to a no-fee payment option (debit card, ACH/e-check, etc.) if desired. If they choose to pay with a debit card—which is already a lower cost for you to process—there is no surcharge fee. This allows you to reduce your fees as much as possible while still leaving the payment method in complete control of your customer.

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100% Compliant to Reduce Your Credit Card Fees to Almost Zero

Federal and state regulations allow surcharges on credit card payments to cover transaction costs, but there are requirements that must be met in order to qualify. Failure to meet those qualifications could mean the removal of your merchant account. We’re the experts on the topic so you don’t have to be. Our team can ensure your business complies with all rules and regulations to keep you 100% compliant.
We created AscentZeroCost to work how you need it to, whether integrated into your reservation software or as a stand-alone solution. And as always, our team is here to help every step of the way: from setup and registration with card brands to ensuring your receipts are compliant.
AscentZeroCost is another way we strive to serve our customers while also saving you money. Contact us today to find out how you can save through the program.

Frequently Asked Questions about AscentZeroCost

Let's take a deeper look at the FAQs below to see how this program allows you to keep more of your revenue while being 100% compliant.


If a sale can be surcharged, the surcharge will be calculated and presented to the guest. They must approve the new amount before the transaction can be completed. If it cannot be surcharged, the transaction will run like normal and will not be presented for approval. The receipt must show the total amount of the credit card fee as a separate line item.

*Please note the surcharge calculation will automatically be applied to refunds as well, however there is an option to override if necessary.

This program allows your clients to pay the fee (surcharge) if they choose to use a credit card for convenience or rewards, or a debit card with no additional fee. Card processing fees are automatically passed to your clients who choose the convenience of paying with credit cards.

The “cost of acceptance” is also known as the merchant discount rate. Our program uses a bundled flat rate for credit cards to make this as easy as possible. We charge 3.5% and merchants cannot charge more than 4%.

AscentZeroCost is a solution that offers cost-savings throughout every part of your business.

  •     Save BIG money on processing fees
  •     Use the money saved on processing to invest in other areas of your business
  •     Remove credit card fees from your advertised pricing for a lower price point than your competitors, which also helps in SEO results
  •     Keep the transaction even if the guest/client elects to not pay the surcharge fee
  •     Clients can opt to pay by debit card, ACH, cash, or check and avoid paying this fee
  •     Clients want to rack up their rewards points on their credit cards, so many will still pay via credit card
  •      Property owners prefer a management company option with lower or no processing fees


We suggest communicating a message to your guests of why you are using this new payment method for them to better understand – and while your reason may vary from another merchant, providing a “why” for an additional fee to the guest assists in a better adoption rate. Merchants can’t easily increase their property rates when costs go up. They have to find new ways to cut expenses or transfer costs. We have found focusing on how the AscentZeroCost program allows card fees to be passed along to the consumer is one way to operate without raising actual rental rates or other costs and continue to provide guests the best value.

Merchants cannot profit from a surcharge fee. Our solution makes it so that the surcharge fee is NOT greater than the actual transactions and 100% compliant to card brand rules and regulations.

No. The ability to surcharge only applies to credit card purchases, and only under certain conditions. U.S. merchants cannot surcharge debit card or prepaid card purchases.

The card brands (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express) have specific rules for merchants to follow in order to be 100% compliant. Ascent, with its expert support and technology solution, makes this a simple process for you.

When a merchant elects to apply a surcharge to customers who pay with credit cards, they must provide Visa, MasterCard, and their acquirer with a minimum of thirty (30) days advance written notice of their intention to surcharge prior to implementing a surcharge. Merchants can satisfy the notice requirement by accessing the respective websites.



The card brands have specific rules for merchants to follow in order to be 100% compliant.  Let’s take a look at them, as well as seeing how Ascent makes this an easy process for you!

The merchant must also disclose the surcharge as a merchant fee and, for both in-store and online transactions, clearly alert consumers to the practice at the point of entry, the point of sale or transaction, and on every receipt.  Merchants should also consider whether they comply with all applicable state and/or federal laws. Currently, several states have laws that prohibit or limit surcharging. Ascent will assist in this process.

Yes. U.S. merchants that surcharge must disclose the surcharge dollar amount on every receipt. In addition, disclosures indicating that a merchant outlet assesses a surcharge on credit card purchases must be posted at the point of entry and point of sale/transaction.

For ecommerce transactions, it must be disclosed on the first page that references credit card brands accepted in a minimum 10 point arial font and again on the checkout page in a 10 point Arial font. Verbal notice from the reservationist including the surcharge amount.

We impose a surcharge of 3.5% on the transaction amount on credit card products, which is not greater than our costs of acceptance. We do not surcharge on debit cards.

Minimal font is Arial 16. Ascent recommends adding your story to help sell the need for this. This could be the escalating cost of interchange, the cost of accepting credit cards driving prices higher for debit card and ACH users unnecessarily.

Face to Face: Minimal 16-point Arial font.

Telephone: Verbal notice from the reservationist, including the surcharge amount. The first page that references the card brands accepted, in a minimum 10-point Arial font. Checkout page in a 10-point Arial font.

Ecommerce: The first page that references the card brands accepted, in a minimum 10-point Arial font. Checkout page in a 10-point Arial font.

Yes. One of the regulations stipulates that the 3.5% Surcharge fee must be on a separate line item during checkout and on the receipt.  The total of the package with the additional surcharge is then processed as ONE transaction.  So, if there were a refund, the total amount of the transaction is refunded back to the customer.

Yes. The chargeback can be for the full amount of the transaction, including the surcharge amount.

While U.S. merchants currently have the option of applying surcharges at the “brand level” or just to particular types of cc transactions at the “product level”, the AscentZeroCost Program is designed to support Brand Level Surcharging.

Yes. If a merchant is prohibited from surcharging in one state, Card Brand rules do not prevent the merchant from surcharging in other states that allow the practice. Surcharging is not currently allowed in Colorado, Connecticut, or Massachussetts.

Ascent is the last independently-owned payment processor in our space. We utilize our more than 20 years of experience in the lodging payment space to offer a dedicated support team to expertly handle any issues your business may have. Customer Service is what our reputation is built on. Our technology allows us to separate ourselves from our competition to offer this surcharging program.

We will assist you in registering with the card brands and the set-up process either in tandem with your reservation software partner, or as a stand-alone product.

AscentZeroCost passes along credit card processing fees to your customer so that you pay for debit transactions only. While there are federal and state regulations regarding surcharges, our team will help ensure you are 100% compliant. Interested in saving money on credit card processing fees? Ascent is here to help. Give us a call today to get the savings started.

If you have questions or want more information on our AscentZeroCost program, contact us at

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