Have you ever been told that you need to spend a minimum amount at a store if you want to purchase anything at all with your card? These are called credit card minimums and merchants have a legal right to enforce them if they wish. The good news: there are regulations to these minimums! You should be familiar with them.
What’s the Largest Minimum Enforceable?
For Visa credit cards, it cannot exceed $10. Merchants do have some leeway in that it can be any amount less than $10, but that is the max.
Does this Apply to All Cards?
No. Legally, credit card minimums cannot be enforced on debit card transactions or any other type of non-credit purchase. This includes Visa prepaid, and gift cards. Merchants should train their staff to be able to visually identify debit from credit cards. You can determine this when a card displays the word “debit” above the Visa logo.
Do Merchants Have to Disclose the Credit Card Minimums Requirement?
Unfortunately, Visa only recommends that stores both post a sign at the point of sale and verbally inform their customers. Although, they do include a “best practices” list on their site that highly recommends disclosing this.
What if a Customer Selects “credit” for a “debit” card?
Some cautious debit card users choose to run their debit cards as credit cards to avoid typing in their pin. We’re happy to inform you that this won’t impose any credit card minimums on these customers!
What if the Merchant has a Signature-Based Terminal Only?
Some stores are running a little behind on their point of sale equipment. If they do not have a terminal that allows customers to enter a 4 digit pin code with their debit card transaction, an employee might wrongly assume the card is credit. Again, this is why it is imperative for business owners to train their staff to visually recognize the difference between a debit and a credit card.
Can Merchants Change the Minimum Based on Situation?
If a store enforces a $10 minimum or less, they must do so with all card brands and all customers. It is a violation to charge some people a $10 minimum and some people a $5 minimum.
Did We Answer Your Credit Card Minimums Questions?
We hope we covered the basics of Visa’s rules on credit card minimums. Also, it is worth noting that business owners should prepare for customer complaints and strained relationships if they enforce a minimum. Depending on their payment plan with their merchant service provider, a merchant may choose this route to save on their monthly statement, not realizing it could cost them more in loyal customers. If you have any questions on the policy or want a monthly statement that will avoid the need for minimums, book an appointment with us today!