Minimum purchase requirements now allowed

Two years ago, I wrote about a rule-breaking coffee shop. This coffee shop required that I spend $5 or more if paying by a credit card. At the time, the coffee shop was breaking the rules. In 2008, the agreements merchants had with MasterCard and Visa prohibited their ability to set minimum amounts for credit card purchases.

I understand that paying transaction fees on small purchases can be hard for some retailers.  However, as someone who doesn’t carry a lot of cash, the coffee shop’s minimum has been very inconvenient. I’ve been tempted to say something to the shop owner all this time, but never have. And now, it’s too late. In fact, if I were to complain about the $5 minimum now (the same little hand written sign is still in the same spot as it was in 2008), the problem could only get worse.

I recently learned that effective July of this year, merchants can legally set a $10 minimum purchase requirement for consumers who want to pay by credit card.

What do you think of this new rule? Have you seen merchants upping or adding a minimum purchase requirement? Will it cause you to carry more cash or use a debit card instead of a credit card more often?

Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.