Current laws prohibit merchants from adding surcharges to credit card transactions, even though the merchants themselves are dinged with fees for accepting the cards.

But thanks to a lawsuit brought by retailers against card-issuers, all that could soon change.

In the past seven years, more than 50 such suits have been filed alleging that credit card providers have long conspired to collude on swipe fees. They say that collusion effectively removed any competition from the market and resulted in exorbitant fees the merchants have been barred from passing on to consumers.

Many analysts now believe the settlements will result in, among other things, a permanent removal of the ban on surcharges — which means that unless you live in one of the 10 states that forbids them, you’ll be slapped with a fee every time you use a credit card for a purchase.

[Consumerist]