Stores Cannot Enforce Visa & Mastercard Credit Card Purchase Requirements: At local stores, you may have seen signs enforcing a “$10 Minimum with Credit Card Use” or a “2% Credit Card Use Fee”. It is a violation for merchants to require minimums and surcharges for Visa and Mastercard credit card transactions, and sometimes if you mention this to the store salesperson or manager, they will waive the credit card purchase requirement. Some information provided by credit card companies:
* Rules for Visa Merchants PDF File. On page 10 of their booklet, it says “Imposing minimum or maximum purchase amounts is a violation.” On that same page, it also says “you may not impost any surcharge on a Visa transaction.” These rules apply to credit cards, not debit cards.
* Rules for Mastercard Merchants PDF File. On page 2-22, section 9.12.2 and 9.12.3 disallow stores to surcharge or impose a purchase minimum. These rules apply to credit cards, not debit cards.
* American Express discourages surcharges, but it is allowed.
* Discover Card allows surcharges.
Stores typically pay a percentage of every transaction to cover credit card service fees, and they sometimes have purchase requirements to avoid losing money even though it is a violation of rules. If you are shopping for something cheap, like a $0.50 candy bar or a $1 bottle of water, it is best to use cash to avoid any hassle. However if you find yourself without any cash and want to use a credit card, knowing these rules could save you from padding your $1 purchase into a $10 purchase. If you spend a lot at a gas station with a credit card surcharge fee, you could save money by requesting they waive the fee when using your Visa and Mastercard. Stores are less likely to violate the rules of credit cards, and more likely to waive their posted credit card purchase requirements if you spend a few minutes politely asking for it.