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Better Business Bureau ®
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In Metropolitan New York, Long Island, and the Mid-Hudson Region
Minimum Charge on Credit Cards

Consumers sometimes complain that stores have “minimum purchase” requirements in order to buy something with a credit card. In other words, can a merchant refuse to honor your credit in unless you buy a minimum of $10 or $25 worth of their goods?

"No," says the Better Business Bureau. According to the merchants’ MasterCard and Visa contracts, stores CANNOT require a minimum purchase. If they do, it violates their agreement with their bank issuer or credit card company.

That means consumers are entitled to use their Visa or MasterCards to pay for an item, no 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 that issued their card. If that doesn’t resolve things, they can contact the Better Business Bureau or credit card company listed:

Customer Service Center
MasterCard International Incorporated
P.O. Box 28468-0968
St. Louis, MO 63146-0968
Minimum Purchase
P.O. Box 8999
San Francisco, CA 94128-89999
Customer Service: 1-800-847-2911

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

American Express Company
World Financial Center
200 Vessey
New York, NY 10285
Discover Card Customer Service
Discover Financial Services
P.O. Box 30943
Salt Lake City, UT 84130-0943