INSITE CONSUMER ALERT: IT VIOLATES VISA AND MASTERCARD POLICY TO FORCE YOU TO SPEND A MINIMUM AMOUNT!

DON’T LET THEM TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOU!

I made a stop at the Shipley Do-nuts on Richmond under the 59 spur Wednesday to purchase less than $4.00 worth of stuff. When I pulled out my Visa credit card to pay I was told I had to make a $5 minimum purchase. Then the cashier asked me if I wanted to add more stuff. I said no, I’ve already picked the items I want and I’m not adding more for your made up minimum purchase. Because they wouldn’t budge and I wouldn’t either – the transaction was canceled. I’ve always wondered if retailers could force you to make a minimum purchase. So I did some research and determined they can’t. Many do require a minimum purchase but they shouldn’t. According to Visa and Mastercard’s policies retailers can not force you to make a minimum purchase – in fact, it’s against both credit card companies policies. Visa says its bylaws clearly state that merchants must not establish a minimum transaction amount. That’s done, “To protect Visa cardholders so they can expect to use their cards anywhere, anyhow and anytime Visa is accepted,” says a spokesman. “If Visa finds out about a violation, Visa will issue an enforcement letter to the acquiring bank that enables the merchant to accept the card. It’s up to you as to how to deal with the merchant.”

WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT:

What you do the next time you’re told there’s a minimum to use a credit card probably depends on how you feel about the issue. If you’d rather complain with less fanfare, write to Visa at askvisacorporate@visa.com. MasterCard complaints will be accepted at 1-800-300-3069.