Report: R.I. businesses 15th most affected by swipe fees in U.S.

PROVIDENCE – Credit card swipe fees cost Ocean State businesses $2.2 million per year, according to a new report by Forbes Advisor, making it the 15th-most-affected state in the U.S.

The inaugural report, released earlier this month, ranks the the 50 states based on credit card swipe fees per capita, average fee per swipe and total value and volume of credit card transactions.

Based on data drawn from 2021 through 2023, Rhode Island recorded $2.03 in fees per capita, according to the report, and charged 20 cents per transaction on average.

Other New England states also ranked high in swipe fee impacts, with Rhode Island least impacted out of the region. Massachusetts placed second and Connecticut 11th, while New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine ranked 10th, 12th and 14th, respectively.

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Massachusetts businesses felt a $19.1 million impact from swipe fees last year, according to the report, with $2.47 in fees per capita and an average transaction fee of 24 cents. Connecticut paid $7.5 million in fees, with $2.08 in fees per capita and 21 cents per transaction.

The findings suggest that states with higher average incomes have higher per-capita fees, Forbes notes, identifying Massachusetts as an example of this trend.

California businesses were most the most affected of all states, with businesses paying $97.5 million in swipe fees, $2.47 fees per capita and an average fee of 24 cents per transaction, according to the report. After Massachusetts, New York, Hawaii and Maryland rounded out the top five.

Tennessee was the least affected state in the U.S., followed by Arkansas, Wester Virginia, Nebraska and Iowa.

Nationally, swipe fees amounted to $637 million in 2022.

“There’s no one-size-fits-all explanation” to the results, the report notes, though all businesses feeling the impact of swipe fees are likely weighing similar choices.

“With transaction fees ever on the rise, businesses have to make tough decisions about whether to absorb these fees as a cost of doing business (likely raising prices overall to compensate), or to pass along them directly to the consumer with a convenience fee if they choose to pay with a card instead of cash,” Forbes states.

The report drew from sources including the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank, Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census.

Jacquelyn Voghel is a PBN staff writer. You may reach her at