Things I (and Maybe You?) Didn't Known About Credit Cards

I was doing a little blog browsing earlier today and I came upon a post (over at Punny Money) that was discussing people who write "see ID" on the back of their credit cards, and how that was a bad idea (the blogger went on to mention how he witnessed a salesgirl videotaping each ID as she was handed them).

I was a bit perplexed, because (1) I almost always show my ID before asked, and (2) I always thought ID was (and should be) required and frowned when I wasn't asked!

I did some research and found this article and then this article from the Consumerist.

I was vaguely aware of the fact that credit card minimums weren't allowed, though I've never thought to challenge it (usually the scenario goes like this - "oh, we have a $10 minimum." -- "Ok, let me grab an extra box of cookies!" haha). I had no clue that I had the right to refuse ID when asked (and didn't consider why I might not want to show ID). I also didn't know that merchants can't charge a surcharge for using a credit card - the gas station up the street from me does just that.

Apparently, you can report violations straight to Mastercard, but Visa violations should be reported to the bank that issued the card.

Am I the only one who was clueless about this?? Has anyone ever reported a store for violations? I keep reading that merchants are unaware of the merchant rules. That ticks me off. I'm going to bring a copy of the rules and make a fuss just to prove a point.


HighClassLowIncome said...

I totally didn't know that! I don't really use my CC/debit card often enough so I'm not sure if I'd report these violations? But its good to know.

Mrs. G said...

As someone who worked in a small business where we took credit cards, I can say that the reason many small businesses (especially bars where sometimes people want a separate transaction for each beer) have a minimum charge requirement is because of the crazy rates that credit card companies charge businesses in interchage fees. If you agree to accept Visa, for example, then you have to accept every card that Visa offers even the ones with crazy high rewards. Cash back cards have some of the highest interchange rates that can take a huge percentage off of the total sale. Instead of absorbing the cost of offering those cards, the credit card companies pass those costs onto merchants.

So while we had a minimum fee charged, which was technically against the rules, I was supportive of it. If we hadn't had the minimum there were certain cards that we would have actually taken a loss on after the transaction fees.

Jake from Debt Sucks said...

There are few places that I'm totally fine with the minimum charge, because I know they don't do enough business to cover their fees very well. Gas stations can pound sand, though.

In any case, I've reported several merchants, several times. Problem is, nothing gets done. It would take a heck of a lot of reports from different people to do anything.

Anonymous said...

Hm, nobody has ever asked me for ID, which is just as well because I don't have a driver's license and don't always carry my passport! However, I rarely use my CC for offline purchases, so what do I know.

I never use a CC at a small, non-chain store because I know the costs are high for them. I have no problems with minimum charges.

I did know about the illegality of charging more for CC instead of cash payment. I really don't know how gas stations get away with it, because it's so openly posted.

Revanche said...

It was Punny Money at:

Sunflowers said...

Thanks Revanche :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for the thought provoking post! I'm always a little peeved when I get asked for my ID - especially because my debit card HAS MY PICTURE and SIGNATURE on the front and back. Now I know they aren't allowed to ask for it or have the ID be a condition of the purchase. That is really good info to know!

Miss M said...

I didn't know about the no-minimums rule, the cafeteria at my work has a minimum! But, I know the merchant fees are pretty high and I understand why they have a relatively low $5 min. I don't think I'll report them. I knew they couldn't charge a different price for cash versus credit, but sometimes they'll try to word it as a "cash discount". Still technically against the rules I believe.

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