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Educational Consumer Tips

Minimum Charges On Credit Cards

Author: Rachel Willard
Category: Finance

Consumers sometimes complain that stores have "minimum purchase" requirements in order to buy something with a credit card. Consumers question whether a merchant can refuse to honor a credit card unless a minimum of $10 or $25 worth of goods is purchased.

"No," says the Better Business Bureau. According to the merchants' MasterCard and Visa contracts, stores CANNOT require a minimum purchase because it violates the merchants' agreements with both their bank issuer and the credit card company.

That means consumers are entitled to use their Visa or MasterCard to pay for an matter how low the price. If the merchant refuses to accept a credit card for small purchases, consumers should send a letter of complaint to the bank which issued their card. If that doesn't resolve things, they can contact the Better Business Bureau or the appropriate credit card company listed below:

MasterCard International
Merchant Minimum
P.O. Box 1288
Radio City Station
New York, NY 10101-1288

Minimum Purchase
P.O. Box 8999
San Francisco, CA 94128-8999

Neither American Express nor Discover prohibits minimum charges per se. However, both companies prohibit merchants from charging higher minimums for their cards than others they accept. Consequently, if a merchant accepts Visa or MasterCard, the merchant cannot require minimums for Discover or American Express. To make a complaint against a merchant involved in unfair American Express or Discover card practices call:

American Express


About the Author: Rachel Willard is Communications, Marketing Specialist & Webmaster for BBB serving Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont. Find Rachel on Google +.

Questions and Comments

Comment Submitted 9/23/2013

Can merchants charge a minimum fee when consumers use their debit cards?

Comment Submitted 1/8/2014

Can a merchant in NY totally not accept debit cards.
Views expressed on this page are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Better Business Bureau.

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