MsKiwi wrote:This is true but I still see many stores with signs that require minimum purchases. Maybe I'll challenge one of these merchants.A friend of mine who had his own retail business used to require a minimum purchase for CC transactions. One day he received a letter from Visa or MC (don't remember which one) that he needed to stop that practice. Instead, he (stupidly, IMO) chose to stop taking CCs altogether.I reported a restaurant across the street from where I work for requiring a $15 minimum on CC transactions. Shortly after that, the Visa and MC logos disappeared from their front window.Merchants are not allowed to make their own rules or set their own policies when it comes to these things.
Thanks Cheddar. I thought you would chime in eventually. Would I just go on Visa's or MC's websites and lodge a complaint or is their a number I can call?
cheddar wrote:TexCredit is correct. Merchants are not allowed to require ID in order to complete a credit card transaction, as long as the card is signed on the back. They are supposed to compare your signature on the back of your card with the signature on the sales slip, and nothing more.Those who require ID will say it is a measure of fraud and identity theft prevention. Perhaps, but it is a matter of protecting the merchant from these types of fraud, not the consumer. Showing my ID to a complete stranger who is working behind the counter actually puts me at greater risk of ID theft, IMO. Nobody needs to see my ID to complete that transaction.If they require ID or if they require minimum purchase amounts in order to use a CC, you may report them to Visa and/or MasterCard, who do follow up on these complaints.A friend of mine who had his own retail business used to require a minimum purchase for CC transactions. One day he received a letter from Visa or MC (don't remember which one) that he needed to stop that practice. Instead, he (stupidly, IMO) chose to stop taking CCs altogether.I reported a restaurant across the street from where I work for requiring a $15 minimum on CC transactions. Shortly after that, the Visa and MC logos disappeared from their front window.Merchants are not allowed to make their own rules or set their own policies when it comes to these things.
You guys are correct about the merchants not being able to require a minimum purchase to use a credit card, but before going around reporting everyone that does, think about the repercussions for these business owners.
My general agreement with this post notwithstanding, I do want to point out that credit card merchant fees are a tax-deductible expense of doing business.
Thanks for the follow up post Cheddar. I can see why you were frustrated with the response or lack thereof from the manager/owner. I just didn't want your one report to encourage a flock of myfico members making calls to Visa/MC without thinking of the potential damage it could do to those business owners and their familes.One other thing I totally forgot to mention in my last post, which isn't really relevant in reporting a merchant for posting a minimum purchase requirement, but does related to the flock of fees they are charged for small purchases...is that the secret behind our rewards cards is that the merchant picks up a big chunk of the cost of that too. I learned this after establishing my own merchant account. So, the banks aren't being as generous as they lead us to believe. Every business gets different rates and like I said earlier, small business gets whacked the hardest because they don't do the volume needed to negotiate the lowest rates like large corporations do, but I know that with my rates any time someone uses a rewards card, I get charged an extra 1.50% in transaction fees. Just thought that was a tidbit everyone might be interested in knowing.I also agree with the ID thing. It's too dangerous for someone to see all of that information. I have done what a previous poster mentioned and held it with my finger over the information. I have also noticed that most merchants and their employees do simply look at the names and not the signature.
cheddar wrote:I certainly have no desire to argue, either. I thank you for your kind comment.I suppose one's opinion on this depends on one's perspective. As a consumer and credit card user, of course I have a slightly different view than a merchant who accepts credit cards and pays the interchange fees.I understand that the fees are not a wash just because they are tax deductible. My point is that they are a cost of doing business, and like every investment in the business, the merchant/owner hopes that the investment will help contribute to the bottom line. The alternative for the merchant, of course, is to stop accepting credit cards at all. That means, however, that my business (and the business of others like me) will be taken elsewhere.So in the end, merchants who pay the interchange fees do so because they bring customers into the store. If they don't want to swipe my $5 lunch because it costs them too much to do so, there is usually a merchant down the street who will be more than happy to.
I do believe it probably is a matter of one's perspective. I see it from both sides I guess. And, I agree, there is always someone down the street that will swipe your $5 lunch, and mine too for that matter. I'm not saying I don't use my card for small purchases, ever...that would be a lie. I'm just saying, I do now consider the cost to the merchant when I run into a convenience store to buy a $1 drink and use my credit card. I do try to keep $10 on me to make small purchases, etc. I also make an effort to pay in cash at the mom & pop pet store in our town. I LOVE the owners and they treat me very well, so I figure I might as well save them a buck or two with my purchases.In the end, it is a decision for the merchants to determine whether the risk outweighs the benefit, though in my opinion I think nearly any business these days deciding not to accept credit cards is losing a large volume of business. I just feel for those that are stuck in that middle point where they are dam*ed if they do and dam*ed if they don't, I suppose. I also wouldn't want to hurt any innocent employees, because we know if the business is losing profits, the first ones to make the cut are the employees. I know this is going round in circles now, I just wanted it to be in the back of people's minds if they were considering reporting their local businesses. But, it is certainly their right to do so.Thanks for keeping this a friendly debate. It's so nice when we can discuss things with a different perspective and it not turn into something heated!