My niece recently reported via Facebook that a merchant in Wallingford would not allow her to complete a purchase for a soda and a pack of gum with her debit card because it did not meet the minimum transaction amount.
This started a flurry of discussion about whether this was right or wrong and the impact to both the merchant and the consumer. While I leave the judgment up to you kind reader, I thought I would share the facts from the research I did on the topic.
“A merchant must not require, or post signs indicating that it requires, a minimum or maximum transaction amount to accept a valid MasterCard card.”
A Merchant must not: Establish a minimum or maximum Transaction amount as a condition for honoring a Visa Card or Visa Electron Card
We could make an assumption that the thought process is “It doesn’t do me any good to sell something where I make .10 profit if its going to cost me .50 to process the transaction”. While I understand that thought process, it may help for the merchant to take a broader look at overall profit vs. overall costs.
If a cashier refuses your purchase, remember to be kind. They are doing what their boss has asked them to do. However, if it’s important to you, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask for a manager and kindly point out that their minimum purchase requirement is a violation of MasterCard / VISA operating rules. If they still refuse to take your debit card (or credit card for that matter) as payment, you can simply leave the items behind and move on to the next store.