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

AscentZeroCost is client friendly. Your guests are in control of how they pay. Those who choose to pay with a credit card will pay an additional fee to cover your interchange processing fees. If they choose a debit card, which is low-cost to you, there is no additional fee. Credit card rewards are important to some clients – no problem! If your guests want to collect their rewards and choose to pay with their credit card, a fee is automatically passed to them. At payment, your clients are notified of the fee and automatically presented the option to switch to a no-fee payment method – it is that easy.

AscentZeroCost is 100% Compliant. Recent rulings at Federal and State levels allow surcharges on credit card payments to cover transaction costs, however, there are requirements that must be met. Failure to be compliant could mean the removal of your merchant account. We are the experts, so you do not have to be. Ascent’s turnkey solution complies with all the rules and automatically keeps you covered.

AscentZeroCost is simple. It works in tandem with a growing number of reservation software or as a stand-alone product. And we do the work for you so you can focus on your business. We will assist you in with every step – from registering with the card brands to ensuring your website and receipts are compliant.

AscentZeroCost keeps more money in your pocket. You pay 0% on every credit card sale. When you sell $5,000, you keep $5,000 if the consumer pays with a credit card.

ZERO COST CREDIT CARD ACCEPTANCE that is Simple, Safe, Secure, and Compliant

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.


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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

  • What is the AscentZeroCost Program?

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

  • How does a merchant calculate their “cost of acceptance?”

    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%.

  • Why should I consider AscentZeroCost?

    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
    • Vacation Rental Property Managers differentiate your business from the competition and add more owner contracts to your portfolio of properties
      • Property owners prefer a management company option with lower or no processing fees
  • How does AscentZeroCost work?

    You run a sale and if it can be surcharged, the surcharge will be calculated and presented to the guest/reservationist. They must approve the new amount before it can be completed as a surcharge. If it cannot be surcharged, the transaction will not be presented for approval and will be run like a normal transaction. It is important to remember the surcharge calculation will be done on refunds as well. There is an option to override the surcharge for refunds if necessary. The receipt must show the total amount of the credit card fee as a separate line item:

  • How do I communicate to my customers why I’m doing this?

    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.

  • Can I utilize AscentZeroCost on both credit and debit card purchases?

    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.

  • What is the process that a merchant must follow in order to utilize AscentZeroCost? How hard is the process to start?

    The card brands (MC/V/Disc/Amex) 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 the impacted brand (MasterCard, Visa, or Discover) and their acquirer with a minimum of thirty (30) days advance written notice of its intention to surcharge prior to implementing a surcharge. Merchants can satisfy their notice requirement to MasterCard, Visa, and Discover by accessing the networks’ 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.

  • Am I required to disclose the surcharge to my customers?

    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.

  • What happens if there is a cancellation- is the 3.5% refunded?

    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.

  • When processing any chargebacks can the surcharge amount be included?

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

  • Can I choose which types of cards I add a surcharge to?

    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.

  • I operate offices in multiple states. I understand that state law prohibits me from surcharging in some states where I operate, but not others – does that mean I can’t surcharge in any of the states where I operate?

    No. 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, Kansas, or Massachussetts.

  • Why should I trust ASCENT?

    ASCENT Processing is the last independently-owned payment processor in our space. We utilize our 25 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 allows most credit card processing fees to be passed along to your guest/client instead of you or your owners paying the fees. You just pay for debit transactions. We make sure you are 100% compliant. This product is available NOW for interested merchants. Yes, there are a lot of rules that a merchant must follow and ensuring you are set up with a processor and technology that will keep you compliant is key. This is a business model decision that each merchant must make for themselves but ASCENT is here to help.

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

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