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August 12th, 2006

Credit Card Minimums

Kind of a vague title, I know, but hear me out.

Yesterday I wandered to a nearby sandwich shop to get a sandwich (surprisingly). Upon telling me my total, I presented my credit card. “Sorry,” the fellow behind the register said, “We have a $5 minimum on plastic.”

Nowhere in the store did it say this. Not on the front window, not on the side window, not on the floor, not on the register. Nowhere. So I ended up buying an impulse item (a cookie, natch) and spending a full buck over what I wanted to spend.

I understand why stores have minimums: because the credit card processors take a nice percentage out of their sales. All I ask in return is that you post the minimum somewhere obvious in your store. Perhaps on the front door, underneath the credit card logos? And by the register, too?

I’ll just grumble to myself over in the corner.

Posted in Consumer Commentary

FROM: Steve A
DATE: Saturday August 12, 2006 -- 7:39:26 am
In this area it's very common to have posted signs concerning minimums. Considering Im in the food business, MOST of our revenue is generated through plastic.

One day we'll find 'regular' money listed on eBay ~ but available only through credit or debit cards. LOL


FROM: Suzanne Lanoue [E-Mail]
DATE: Saturday August 12, 2006 -- 2:22:35 pm
Thankfully very few places do that. Personally I would have just said forget it and gone to another place, and told them why I was leaving. It's especially bad for a food place to do that...if you can buy a sandwich and have it be below their minimum (did you have a drink, too?), then clearly they should either not be taking cards or they shouldn't have the minimum. Places like Wendy's will take credit cards now, so if they can do it...

FROM: jk
DATE: Saturday August 12, 2006 -- 10:00:20 pm
I believe it is actually illegal to require a minimum purchase, but in reality they are doing this to make it worth their expense. They obviously pay a % on every purchase and they think they are making up for it a little by requiring a minimum purchase amount.

Interesting note: it has been cheaper for them to run your purchase through as a debit, sometimes only 1/4 the cost of a charge transaction, but some banks are upping the fees on debits to the merchant.

In the long run, I truly believe they will get more customers if they accept credit cards--as Suzanne pointed out, this must be helping McDonald's etc.

Bottom line: if they require a minimum purchase in their strategy, they should absolutely post it somewhere highly visible!

Last night my bank deposit was over $5000 in cash.....I asked my associate "Why don't people use their debit cards? Who is carrying this much cash!?" Over Christmastime I get arthritis in my thumbs from counting all the 20s.

What is this then?

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