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Hi all, Sorry if this has been covered already! I seldom carry cash these days and it's particularly inconvenient for me when a merchant (bakery, general store, etc) imposes a ...
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  1. #1
    Junior Member fgray30's Avatar
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    Minimum transaction amounts for credit cards

    Hi all,

    Sorry if this has been covered already!

    I seldom carry cash these days and it's particularly inconvenient for me when a merchant (bakery, general store, etc) imposes a minimum transaction amount. They usually have a sign up that reads "$10 minimum for cards" or whatever.

    This morning I went to a cafe and tried to purchase $9 worth of food on my card, only to be told of their $10 limit. I told them I'd be happy if they added their merchant processing fee to the sale, and yet they still refused! These stupid businesses are refusing $9 worth of business (and whatever margins they would make on a takeaway coffee and muffin would be considerable and more than cover the transaction processing fee).

    Does this seem ridiculous business practice to anyone else? If they are really be hurt by this cost of doing business, just raise the cost of a coffee by the same amount - no one will even notice.

    The Mastercard 'Merchant Rules' on their website state that merchants cannot impose these limits.

    Apparently the fines are quite severe for imposing minimum limits for a 'properly presented Mastercard' - $US 25,000 for the first offence and then up from there! Does anyone know if these rules apply to Australian merchants? I'm not out to try and put anyone out of business, I just want the convenience of being able to actually buy breakfast once in a while, and pay with my card so that I don't end up with a pocket full of coins.

    Cheers!

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    Established Member notzac's Avatar
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    Re: Minimum transaction amounts for credit cards

    To the best of my knowledge, there are no rules permitting or denying minimum tx limits in Australia.

  4. #3
    Junior Member fgray30's Avatar
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    Re: Minimum transaction amounts for credit cards

    Thanks notzac,

    If you go to mastercard.com/au, then do to the 'Merchants' tab, there will be a link to the .PDF file for the merchant rules, which clearly state no limits (either minimum or maximum) are to be enforced.

    I'd provide a link but I don't have 10 posts on here yet.

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    Senior Member Dave Noble's Avatar
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    Re: Minimum transaction amounts for credit cards

    Quote Originally Posted by fgray30 View Post
    I'd provide a link but I don't have 10 posts on here yet.
    Um, you do

    Posts: 11

    Dave

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    Junior Member fgray30's Avatar
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    Re: Minimum transaction amounts for credit cards


  8. #6
    Senior Member Dave Noble's Avatar
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    Re: Minimum transaction amounts for credit cards

    Quote Originally Posted by fgray30 View Post
    Hi all,

    Sorry if this has been covered already!

    I seldom carry cash these days and it's particularly inconvenient for me when a merchant (bakery, general store, etc) imposes a minimum transaction amount. They usually have a sign up that reads "$10 minimum for cards" or whatever.


    Does this seem ridiculous business practice to anyone else? If they are really be hurt by this cost of doing business, just raise the cost of a coffee by the same amount - no one will even notice.
    It seems more ridiculous to me to not carry any cash to cover small purchases

    Would they have accepted your card if you had been prepared to pay $10 for the $9 purchase?

    As far as the referred to regulations go, I am not sure whether that will be valid. One of the other prohibited practices ( 5.9.2 - not permitting surcharging ) is not a valid prohibition in Australia. I would check the legality of the prohibition 5.9.3 before complaining

    Dave

  9. #7
    Member wxxnxs's Avatar
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    Re: Minimum transaction amounts for credit cards

    Quote Originally Posted by fgray30 View Post
    Hi all,

    Sorry if this has been covered already!

    I seldom carry cash these days and it's particularly inconvenient for me when a merchant (bakery, general store, etc) imposes a minimum transaction amount. They usually have a sign up that reads "$10 minimum for cards" or whatever.

    This morning I went to a cafe and tried to purchase $9 worth of food on my card, only to be told of their $10 limit. I told them I'd be happy if they added their merchant processing fee to the sale, and yet they still refused! These stupid businesses are refusing $9 worth of business (and whatever margins they would make on a takeaway coffee and muffin would be considerable and more than cover the transaction processing fee).

    Does this seem ridiculous business practice to anyone else? If they are really be hurt by this cost of doing business, just raise the cost of a coffee by the same amount - no one will even notice.

    The Mastercard 'Merchant Rules' on their website state that merchants cannot impose these limits.

    Apparently the fines are quite severe for imposing minimum limits for a 'properly presented Mastercard' - $US 25,000 for the first offence and then up from there! Does anyone know if these rules apply to Australian merchants? I'm not out to try and put anyone out of business, I just want the convenience of being able to actually buy breakfast once in a while, and pay with my card so that I don't end up with a pocket full of coins.

    Cheers!

    I think that's why the survey which did by RBA shows the CASH is still the major way to pay for the transaction. If I'm in that situation, I will ask the merchant to charge $10 straightway, because I don't think the staff even knows how much does the processing fee cost?

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    Established Member notzac's Avatar
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    Re: Minimum transaction amounts for credit cards

    Quote Originally Posted by fgray30 View Post
    Interesting, thanks for posting that link!

    Reading the rules, I'm intrigued by point 5.9.2:

    Quote Originally Posted by MasterCard Rules
    Charges to Cardholders
    A Merchant must not directly or indirectly require any Cardholder to pay a
    surcharge or any part of any Merchant discount or any contemporaneous
    finance charge in connection with a Transaction. A Merchant may provide a
    discount to its customers for cash payments. A Merchant is permitted to
    charge a fee (such as a bona fide commission, postage, expedited service or
    convenience fees, and the like) if the fee is imposed on all like transactions
    regardless of the form of payment used, or as the Corporation has expressly
    permitted in writing.
    This seems to be in conflict with what large number of merchants do, and certainly in conflict with the RBA guidelines which permitted merchants to impose a CC surcharge from 2003 onwards. Is this another example of the law overruling a business agreement?

  12. #9
    Member fortymilliondaggers's Avatar
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    Re: Minimum transaction amounts for credit cards

    Is that a consumer protection provision or a condition of the contract between merchant and mastercard? If contractual, it cannot be enforced by third parties (consumers).

  13. #10
    Junior Member fgray30's Avatar
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    Re: Minimum transaction amounts for credit cards

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
    It seems more ridiculous to me to not carry any cash to cover small purchases

    Would they have accepted your card if you had been prepared to pay $10 for the $9 purchase?

    As far as the referred to regulations go, I am not sure whether that will be valid. One of the other prohibited practices ( 5.9.2 - not permitting surcharging ) is not a valid prohibition in Australia. I would check the legality of the prohibition 5.9.3 before complaining

    Dave
    I asked them to make my transaction $10 but they refused. They said I would have to purchase another item to make it over the $10 limit. I sometimes do carry small amounts of cash, but when I don't, I don't want to be out of options without an ATM in sight. Plus it reduces the amount of small change I need to carry around every day.

    I would rather these small businesses provide the option of adding a surcharge of 25c or whatever (which I would happily pay) rather than refusing service all together. I get my goods, and the merchant does a bit of extra business that day. Win-win!

    My gripe isn't necessarily about the legalities of these transactions, I just want some common sense! It seems these small businesses are shooting themselves in the foot by turning away the extra business.

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