Report Them


Ever been pissed off when you’re at a merchant that requires a minimum purchase amount to use a credit card? Did you get stuck buying something you don’t necessarily want/need to get over the amount? Or is it just the principal of the thing that sticks in your craw? According to the merchant rules for MasterCard and Visa, this is not allowed. Section 9.12.3 of the MasterCard merchant manual (be careful, it’s a 268-page pdf) clearly states:

“A merchant must not require, or post signs indicating that it requires, a minimum or maximum transaction amount to accept a valid MasterCard card.”

Http://www.mastercard.com/us/personal/en/contactus/merchantviolations.html is the page to report such violations. Let’s all do our part!

On an unrelated note, there was a problem with the anti-hotlinking setup on the webserver that affected people viewing this blog through a link aggregator or external interface such as bloglines. This should be resolved now. Feel free to let me know if any issues persist. I had to do something, since all sorts of people were annoyingly hotlinking to certain images and sucking up bandwidth. I suppose that story is for another entry, but it’s similar to the fishgina/damon situation that errhode ran into a while ago

  1. #1 by Scojo on September 25, 2006 - 12:12 pm

    Back when I worked at Active, our merchant account fees were about 50 cents per MasterCard transaction. Obviously, given that rate, if you were to let people buy $1.50 parts with their damn credit cards, you wouldn’t be able to stay in business. Of course, we went out of business.
    Since (inexplicably) merchants are not allowed to pass on the cost of credit card transactions to the credit card users, the only solution is to raise the prices for every customer. Thus people like me, who usually pay cash, are forced to subsidize the cost of lining the pockets of the big credit card companies.

  2. #2 by benoc on September 25, 2006 - 12:50 pm

    Note, it is NOT against regulations for merchants to provide “discounts” for people paying in cash. This is a fine distinction, of course. Gas stations do this all the time.
    I’m not railing against the whole surcharge “pass the cost” on thing here, and happen to think that that would be a reasonable thing for merchants to do. The minimum required purchase thing is slimy though.
    -ben