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I didn't think stores could enforce a minimum for a charge?

I don't carry cash much and some of the minimums the stores charge get annoying as they force you to buy more to sue your damn card.

I was told years ago that this wasn't legal. Is this true or not?

by Anonymousreply 1902/04/2013

It violates their agreements with the credit card companies.

by Anonymousreply 101/31/2013

It is not legal but they do it anyway.

What can you do?

Take pictures and call their credit card company?

Won't do any good.

by Anonymousreply 201/31/2013

I believe that they didn't used to be able to do so, but now the card companies have caved. Once, when I objected, a store owner sneered: "I'll take the risk!"

The worst was a server refusing to run a $4.00 beer, saying "Management gets pretty upset at charges under $5.00!" I replied that I fully intended to leave a tip; he ran it, but oddly the eventual charge was only $4.00!

by Anonymousreply 301/31/2013

He expected you to leave the tip on the card, no?

by Anonymousreply 401/31/2013

I think R3 means he did leave the tip on the card but that it didn't go through.

by Anonymousreply 501/31/2013

Tell them if they don't take your card you will report them to VISA and MasterCard for violating the credit card agreement. Then follow through on it. They will get suspended and/or fined.

I understand that they have to pay something like 3% on all credit card transactions but the risks of setting a minimum and not taking a debit card for a purchase of, say, $1.80 is so not worth what they could lose.

by Anonymousreply 601/31/2013

Many mom and pop merchants do it because profit margins are so slim. They pay a fee for each credit card transaction to the credit card company. The fee is not regulated and federal law prohibits merchants from bargaining collectively.

For transactions less than $10, the store probably loses money. One general store owner said she makes $.49 on a ten dollar purchase of gas and pays $.47 cents to the credit card company.

Obviously economics of scale come into play so the corporate chains selling $100s or $1,000 at a time don't notice the charge. The little guy gets screwed.

by Anonymousreply 701/31/2013

Or better yet, stop being an entitled bitch, realize how much your piddly ass charge is costing them to process, and support a local business by either paying in cash or buying a larger amount.

by Anonymousreply 801/31/2013


Well said.

by Anonymousreply 901/31/2013

It's no longer a requirement of the card companies. It was a concession made to store owners in exchange for some other type of usury perpetrated upon proprietors, who naturally pass the costs onto consumers.

by Anonymousreply 1001/31/2013

I see more and more stores, especially small eateries, that accept cash only.

by Anonymousreply 1101/31/2013

One of the best tapas joints in Manhattan is cash only and it's a totally upscale place.

by Anonymousreply 1201/31/2013

I can understand where the little places are coming from if the fees cut that much into their profits.

I agree with others. Spend more to get to the minimum limit or carry a $10 bill with you.

by Anonymousreply 1301/31/2013

They can now, OP:

[bold] New Credit Card Swipe Fee Rules Are Good News For Shoppers [/bold]

There’s much ado about the pending court ruling that would allow retailers to pass on credit card transaction fees — or swipe fees — to shoppers. But consumers should stop worrying they’ll pay more for purchases. This is good news for pretty much everyone, except the credit card issuers.

First the law. Last year Visa and MasterCard settled a legal dispute with a group of merchants claiming collusion on the part of credit card issuers in fixing swipe fees, the amount the credit card companies charge a merchant for each transaction. As part of that settlement, the credit card companies had to allow merchants the freedom to pass along swipe fees to customers if they choose to do so.

And there’s the kicker. If they choose to do so. Because credit card companies have always charged a swipe fee, one that was paid by retailers per transaction to cover the cost of equipment and processing.

The change does not effect debit cards or apply in any of the 10 states that already prohibit merchants from adding a surcharge to purchases.

Most retailers won’t pass that fee on to shoppers. The biggies, including Walmart and Target have declared there won’t be any change to how they do business. Shoppers will continue to shop and swipe and pay the standard price for products.

So why is this a good thing? First off, it opens up marketing and promotional opportunities for merchants. There’s talk of offering discounts for shoppers who chose to pay in cash. Stores may offer incentives to shoppers who use alternative forms of payment such as debit cards or PayPal. The eBay-owned PayPal is already available as an in-store payment option at several large retailers including Home Depot and Dollar General.

Listen, I’m not a credit or banking expert, but I do know a little something about how retail works. Merchants want more business not less. Credit card reform gives them more weapons in their competitive battle to boost sales and build loyalty. Many offer private label card credits — or store specific cards — and could use swipe fees to steer shoppers toward these products. Small businesses that currently don’t accept credit cards, could begin doing so as a convenience to shoppers willing to pay a premium for the pleasure.

There’s a component of the case that has retailers worried, a portion that fails to limit how much credit card companies can raise these fees. But again, sky-high fees may just help fuel more competition and better payment options.

Most shoppers will never pay an added swipe fee, merchants aren’t in the business of voluntarily alienating shoppers. But simply having the option of passing along these fees opens up all sorts of possibilities that will be good for merchants and shoppers. Just not the credit card issuers.

by Anonymousreply 1401/31/2013


To say that some large places also avoid credit cards does not contradict the fact that small places need to avoid credit cards to stay in business.

Larger business may have other reasons for avoiding credit cards.

Especially with a noted restaurant, a unique place, people will go there as the destination they prefer. The restaurant does not have to offer credit card service to attract its patrons. Running a cash only business has its advantages.

There is nothing distinctive about most mom and pop stores. They have to offer credit cards or the customer will go down the street to the mom and pop that sells the same stuff and does take credit cards.

by Anonymousreply 1501/31/2013

I'm a small business owner . On 250,000 worth of sales I paid 11,000 for the privilege of being raped by CC companies. AMEX is the worst.

by Anonymousreply 1601/31/2013

R16 -- here in Seattle, many smaller (cheaper) restaurants (and some small businesses) refuse AMEX much more than other places I've been over the years.

by Anonymousreply 1701/31/2013


That article concerns advantages for big businesses. Mom and Pop places are getting screwed. (What else is new?)

Small places don't have the profit margins. Most of their sales are for inexpensive items bought one at a time. They have to eat the fees.

"Gretel-Ann Fischer already has told customers that she won't accept credit cards for purchases under $5 at her Vermont bakery. The last thing she wants to do is alienate them by passing along the transaction fee she must pay when they use plastic.

"Fischer is one of thousands of retailers in 40 states who now have the right to charge customers the fees that come along with using credit cards. They won that right as part of the settlement of a class-action lawsuit brought by merchants against Visa, MasterCard, and major banks that issue credit cards.

"But many small retailers say customers will bolt if they tack on surcharges that could range from 1.5 percent to 4 percent.

"'It's just not going to happen. It's hard enough to get them to accept the $5 minimum,'" says Fischer, who owns Cupps Cafe & Bakery in Winooski, Vt.

She imposed the minimum because of a 17-cent-per-transaction fee that's in addition to the 2.5 percent Visa and MasterCard charge for the entire purchase. Seventeen cents on a $2 cup of coffee was too much to absorb."

-- Large corporations can absorb the extra fees. Small places have to eat or piss off customers.

by Anonymousreply 1802/04/2013

[quote] Seventeen cents on a $2 cup of coffee was too much to absorb.

Really? If 17 cents is too much, maybe you should re-evaluate being in business in the first place. These are ALL tax deductible fees that are part of the cost of doing business.

And if all else fails, then just accept cash only.

by Anonymousreply 1902/04/2013
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