We here at Visa wanted to take the opportunity to clarify a few recent posts about U.S. merchants setting a minimum purchase requirement for using a credit card. For our part, we want to proactively offer Visa’s perspective on this issue to minimize any confusion, particularly since Visa did not allow this practice in the past.
The answer is actually rather simple: We’ve changed our rules to conform to U.S. federal law.
Allowing minimums was one of the provisions of the recently enacted financial reform bill (the Dodd-Frank Act). This provision became operative as soon as President Obama signed the bill. So beginning July 21, the law gave U.S. merchants the ability to set a minimum on credit card transactions. The same law says those minimums can’t exceed $10.
It’s also important to note that this applies only to credit card transactions in the U.S.; the law doesn’t cover debit card transactions, and Visa’s no-minimum rule remains in effect for merchants who accept debit cards.
Not all U.S. merchants will decide to impose minimums for using a credit card. (In our view, that’s a good idea because it makes things more convenient for consumers.) There also may be some merchants who don’t fully understand the new law and will try to impose a higher minimum or one for debit. In those cases, consumers should let their card issuer know by calling the number found on the back of their card or on their monthly statement.
Posted by: Ted Carr, Visa Corporate Relations on September 2, 2010 at 7:44 pm