You knew it wouldn’t be long before the legislature came up with a way to prohibit businesses that accept credit cards for purchases to put an end to the practice of charging a swipe fee.

The swipe fee is the 1 to 4 percent surcharge the credit card company charges the retailer when purchases are made with a credit card.

Currently there are a handful of states that prohibit the retailer from passing the fee along to the customer.

And as you may have found out this week, New Jersey isn’t one of them.

However, the legislature is working up a bill that would prohibit the practice.

Good thing you say?

Senate bill S-2533 would make it illegal for retailers to impose a surcharge on customers who pay with a credit card. Under the law, stores that did impose the fee would be subject to a $10,000 fine for the first offense

"Retailers have already built the cost of credit card fees into their prices,” Senator Robert Gordon, a Bergen Democrat, said in a statement. "This change in regulation is in essence allowing retailers to double-dip into their customers' pockets — customers who are already paying interest fees to the credit card companies for their purchases."

The bill, sponsored by Gordon and Senators Jim Whelan and Nia H. Gill, will be heard during a Feb. 4 hearing of the Senate's commerce committee.

The new fee structure is the result of a $7.25 billion settlement reached last year between major credit card companies and banks and millions of retailers. It does not apply to debit cards.

Now this is all well and good as it protects the consumer from the predatory credit card companies.

However a more equitable solution would be to still allow the practice, but require the merchant to offer a discount for cash; or at least to post that they will charge the added swipe fee when they pay by credit card.

This, at least, gives you the option of choosing where you shop…much the same way you do when you buy gas, thereby promoting competition.

One price credit, one price cash.

I know, it's a pain in the butt, but it allows the merchant himself to decide whether or not to pass along the cost of the fee and not the state.

Oh, and by the way, whenever you re-register your car, doesn’t the state charge you a fee for processing your registration if you do so by credit card?

Maybe they need to put their money where their mouth is and do away with the “convenience” fee themselves.