10 Things You Might Not Know About Your Credit Card

As you might imagine, we get a lot of questions about using credit cards. Based on those piles of emails we’ve put together a list of 10 things a lot of people don’t know about credit cards. Enjoy!

1) Unsigned Cards Are Not Valid And Merchants Can And Will Refuse Them

You might think that everyone knows that you have to sign your credit card in order for it to be valid — after all — there’s a panel on the back that says “Not Valid Unless Signed,” but you’d be shocked at the number of angry emails we get from people who have tried to use an unsigned credit card with “SEE ID” or “CHECK ID” written on it and were turned away when they refused to sign their card.

Here’s what VISA says should happen when you present an unsigned card:

1) The merchant will ask for your government ID.
2) You will be asked to sign the card. If you sign it, the signature on the card will be compared to the signature on the government ID. If you refuse, the card will not be accepted.

Here’s VISA’s official statement on “See ID”:

Some customers write �See ID� or �Ask for ID� in the signature panel, thinking that this is a deterrent against fraud or forgery; that is, if their signature is not on the card, a fraudster will not be able to forge it. In reality, criminals don�t take the time to practice signatures: they use cards as quickly as possible after a theft and prior to the accounts being blocked. They are actually counting on you not to look at the back of the card and compare signatures�they may even have access to counterfeit identification with a signature in their own handwriting. �See ID� or �Ask for ID� is not a valid substitute for a signature. The customer must sign the card in your presence, as stated above.

Most merchants don’t follow this policy, but some (most notoriously— the U.S. Postal Service), are quite strict.

2) The Maximum Liability For Unauthorized Use Of A Credit Card* Is $50 According To Federal Law

The Fair Credit Billing Act protects you from suffering damages due to unauthorized use of your credit card. If you report a lost or stolen card before anyone uses it, you are not responsible for any charges. If you do not report it before an unauthorized use you are liable for a maximum of $50.

(*Credit cards only. Debit cards and ATM cards are covered under the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, and your liability depends on how quickly you report the loss. Unlike credit cards, debit and ATM cards can have unlimited liability in certain circumstances.)

3) Merchants Cannot Require You To Present ID, Unless Your Card Is Unsigned
Some consumers enjoy it when a clerk asks to see their ID. Others do not. In some states, it’s actually illegal for a store to record any additional information (such as an address or drivers license number) as a condition of processing a credit card transaction (unless the address is needed for shipping, of course.) For some reason this is always a hotly debated topic, so we’ll go right to VISA for the answer:

Although Visa rules do not preclude merchants from asking for cardholder ID, merchants cannot make an ID a condition of acceptance. Therefore, merchants cannot refuse to complete a purchase transaction because a cardholder refuses to provide ID. Visa believes merchants should not ask for ID as part of their regular card acceptance procedures. Laws in several states also make it illegal for merchants to write a cardholder’s personal information, such as an address or phone number, on a sales receipt.

We think that’s pretty clear. Don’t want to show your ID? Don’t.

4) Merchants Cannot Require A Minimum Transaction Amount
Unfortunately, all major credit card companies have now changed or are planning to change their policy regarding minimum charges.

5) Merchants Cannot Charge A Surcharge For Using A Credit Card, However, They Can Offer A “Cash Discount”
You may have noticed that gas stations are starting to offer a different, higher price for credit cards. This isn’t technically allowed— unless it is marketed as a “cash discount.” In other words, if you fill up your car and find that you’ve been charged more than advertised because you paid with a credit card — that’s not allowed. If, however, you decide to pay with cash because you saw an advertised “cash discount” to the “regular price” — that’s ok. A subtle distinction, but an important one.

(There is something called a “convenience fee” that some institutions are allowed to charge if they do not typically accept credit cards in their normal course of business. The example VISA gives is a utility company where the customary way is to pay by mail or in person. The rules for charging this fee are somewhat complicated and there are loopholes, etc.)

6) Many Credit Cards Have Programs That Will Automatically Double The Manufacturer’s Warranty And Other Excellent Benefits
We get a lot of complaints that can be easily solved by the complainee’s credit card company. We’ve helped readers get laptops replaced out of warranty, and helped them get their money back when Best Buy sold them a box full of bathroom tile instead of a hard drive. Your card may come with extended warranty protection, 90 day accidental damage protection that includes vandalism, rental car insurance, road side assistance, baggage insurance, and return protection. You should be aware of what benefits your credit or debit card offers so that you remember to use them when you need them.

7) Merchants Are Not Allowed To Make You Give Up Your Right To A Chargeback

You might see a receipt that has suspicious-looking waiver stating that you’re agreeing to give up your right to issue a chargeback against the merchant for any reason, no matter what, period. These waivers are the result of some crafty entrepreneurs selling sales-receipt paper with the waiver printed on it, claiming that it helps protect the merchant. It’s all nonsense and it isn’t allowed. If you see it, you should report the merchant.

8) Merchants Are Not Allowed To Place A Hold For The Estimated Tip

Because so many consumers have instant access to their account information, merchants aren’t allowed to place an “authorization” for an estimated tip. For example, if you go to dinner and the bill is $100 and you pay with a credit card, the restaurant might be tempted to “authorize” your card for $120—a 20% tip. If you choose to leave a 15% tip and then check your balance — it will appear that you have been overcharged. This apparently results in lots of angry customers, so the practice has been forbidden in VISA’s merchant agreement.

9) If Merchants Suspect You Of Fraud They Are Supposed To Call With A “Code 10”
If a merchant is suspicious of you, they are supposed to make a “Code 10″ call. They are instructed to take your card, call in, and say �I have a Code 10 authorization request.” They will then be asked a series of questions that can be discreetly answered with either yes or no. The merchant bank will then authorize or deny the card. They are not supposed to threaten to call the police or try to detain you. Mastercard says that if the police need to be involved, the “Code 10” operator will call the police while the clerk waits on hold.

10) If Merchants Break These Rules, You Can Report Them To The Credit Card Company
Here’s Mastercard’s Merchant Violation form. To report merchant violations to VISA, they ask that you report them to the financial institution that issued you your Visa card. You should be able to find the number your on Visa statement or on the back of your card.

(Photo: Maulleigh)


Edit Your Comment

  1. chuck0008 says:

    This is great for Visa and Mastercard, but what about other cards, ike Amex and Discover, or store-issued cards like our Wal-Mart card?

  2. dallasmay says:

    I have not had a problem with #1. My wife and I both have debt cards and she has a credit card. All three have “Ask for Photo ID” on them and no one has ever made me sign the back of my card. Not even USPS. On the contrary, many cashiers (probably 1 in 3) do notice the back of the card, and ask for ID.

    If I was asked to sign the card I would quickly, but it has never come up.

  3. Smooooth says:

    I’m pretty sure the only people who know any of the provisions of Visa’s and Mastercard’s merchant agreements are Consumerist readers. I’d be shocked if any company had, as part of its regular employee training, anything about how to process credit cards other than hitting the “credit” button on the register.

  4. Aladdyn says:

    @dallasmay: “My wife and I both have debt cards…” Freudian slip? :)

  5. AnderBobo says:

    I love how people think writing “please ask for id” on the back of their card thinks that is preventing ANYTHING.

  6. sleze69 says:

    On the signature bar, I write ASK FOR LICENSE as well as sign it.

    Despite what Visa says, it is easier to fake a signature than to forge a realistic drivers license.

  7. bostonhockey says:

    I am so sick of hearing and reading about #1. Great. They want me to sign the card. Why? Where’s the control? Is it to formally establish a contractual agreement of some sort? I simply DO NOT get why Visa/MasterCard/etc. do not believe that it prevents fraud. If someone steals my credit card(s) and attempts to use it anywhere, a ‘Check ID/Ask for Photo ID’ will immediately prompt the cashier to ask for ID to reconcile the three pieces of information (my person, my CC and my ID); if they don’t match, there’s no transaction. No problem, right? Are the CC companies afraid to ask the merchants to take the extra step and ensure the card and credentials match up to the person holding them? Please, remove my ignorance here.


    • Bela Oxmyx says:

      Sumdood steals and uses your card, gets caught. He copied your signature? Forgery is a serious felony. Possibly a federal offense, if it’s raised to identity theft.

      Your card’s not signed? Well, Sumdood says you gave it to him to use. He never signed your name, now – did he?

      Easier to prosecute a forgery charge for the credit card companies. And from the point of view of the credit card companies, you are your signature – you need not carry some other piece of plastic when their branded credit card is all you need.

      And if all someone has on their signature panel is SEE ID, there’s no signature to forge, so it’s arguable that the random scribble Sumdood uses in front of an inattentive cashier is no forgery.

  8. Dobernala says:

    @Aladdyn: No, because a debit card doesn’t put you in debt (unless you overdraft, I suppose!)

  9. Quatre707 says:

    My favorite bagel and breakfast item shop just put up a sign at their cash register saying they now require a $5 minimum for credit card purchases.
    I stop in there everyday on my way to work and have always payed with my Mastercard… now I have to keep cash in my wallet unless I wanna get some nasty fast food breakfast =(

    Am I understanding number 4 correctly? That they are not allowed to impose this minimum purchase requirement under the Mastercard merchant agreement?

  10. selectman says:

    So, what exactly should I do when a merchant refuses my card to pay for a $5 sandwich? Act indignant, hold the line up and inform them of their violation?

  11. enine says:

    So they dan’t deny if I don’t show ID, but should I show ID or not? I see so many points both for and against, which way is best.

  12. josecmelia says:

    Ben and/or fellow Consumerists – How do my power and gas company get away with charging a $3.95 processing fee for paying with credit cards?

  13. B says:

    @enine: You should only agree to show your ID if you don’t know who you are. Since the merchant can’t refuse the sale if you don’t produce and ID, showing it won’t do you any good.

  14. dallasmay says:


    Ha, I had to read over my post 7 or 8 times before I found what you were talking about. And no, we don’t over draft our DEBIT cards. But I do fight her often about the credit card.

  15. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    In the picture “Not excepting American Express”

    What the hell does that even mean? We’re not taking any credit cards but making an exception for Amex? The whole sign is a Fail.

  16. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I did not know number 8. Then again, the one restaurant I know that does this also burns their food so I haven’t been back there.

    @bostonhockey: From what I’ve heard it’s because they don’t want merchants making a record of your DL#, address, etc. in addition to your credit card information. I’ve only had that happen to me with checks but maybe the CC companies are worried about a slippery slope.

    I think they should just give people the option of having their photo on their card.

  17. Bagels says:

    @Quatre707: Apparently so. Also, the liquor store across the street from my work imposes a 25 cent surcharge on purchases under $20. So it would appear based on #5 they are in violation.

  18. josecmelia says:

    @selectman: I have twice been able to talk merchants out of this. I told my drycleaner ($15 minimum!) that it’s against card policy to charge a minimum. I told a liquor store manager the same thing. Both begrudgingly allowed me to use my credit card for the small purchases.

  19. mac-phisto says:

    @selectman: take a bite out of the sandwich & suggest that they run the card again or this one’s on the house.

  20. AnderBobo says:

    @bostonhockey: Ugh, credit cards are not gauranteed liberties as citizens. They are issued to you by a corporation and you are using THEIR money to purchase things, so of course they want you to be bound by a contract. Signing the card is in essence signing the terms of agreement of usage. If a theif steals your card and sees that you wrote “see id” they are just going to go online where no ID at all is required. Just the sign the card and buck up.

    Almost every card has a %0 liability when it comes to fraud. It is probably MORE dangerous to have some sales clerk looking at your ID than a credit card.

  21. Scoobatz says:

    Can someone explain to me why a signature is required on the back of a Visa card if the merchant isn’t even allowed to ask for additional information to verify it? Why sign it at all? What value does the signature provide?

  22. B says:

    @Wormfather is Wormfather: It means that there’s no exception for the $10 minimum for American Express cards.

    • Paintmann says:

      Actually, I’d say it should be “not accepting America Express” Sign-poster needs to learn the difference between accept and except…

  23. freepistol says:

    one of our local thrift stores, which also helps out people in the community with living expenses, requires a 15$ minimum on credit and debit card purchases. it used to be a 5 dollar minimum, but i guess they were getting a lot of overspent credit cards and empty debit cards.

    i just thought they were trying to discourage folks from using plastic, but apparently they are breaking rules too.

    i cant see spending more than 5$ there, they dont have much good.

  24. forgottenpassword says:

    I have NEVER had one merchant in the US refuse my unsigned credit card. I DID however, have one prick at some petrol station in England give me shit over it. I had to show him my damn passport for him to accept my credit card (the miserable SOB)….I suspect he only did it to mess with me because i was american.

  25. nadmonk says:

    Number 1 is entirely contingent on the person accepting the card not being too lazy to check. I at one point had a card marked with See ID. How often was I asked? Once. In 6 months of use. I had another card that I didn’t sign as an experiment. It took 2 months of use before a mercant asked me to sign it.

    So I guess the big lesson, is don’t trust the merchants to protect you.

    And I’ll be using number 4 all the time. I never carry cash and use debit constantly (I spend cash when I have it, so it’s better this way, it also lets me better track my spending habbits).

  26. mac-phisto says:

    this is what aggravates me – we all experience blatant violations of the network, but visa/mc (& the others) are very lax in enforcement. i used to get really pissed off at merchants violating their contracts – now i just go elsewhere. what’s the point? those complaint forms are useless. until the networks start enforcing revoking access & imposing fines, nothing’s going to change.

  27. Veeber says:

    @enine: Since I write Please check ID on the back with my signature, if the cashier asks I always pull it out. It’s really up to you. While I know it won’t stop every attempt to use my credit card if it was stolen, I’ve had enough people ask that I feel it would limit the extent of damage. Yes I know there’s a $50 limit, but it’s still $50.

  28. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @B: I know I was being sarcastic, but I dont know about you. :(

    My super computer has deduced that they meant American Express not Accepted.

  29. kepler11 says:

    Maybe some of you all can explain to me the contradictions here. Why do Consumerist and many readers say that they’re fighting for consumers, good business practices, and anti-fraud measures, etc, yet get so uppity about not having to show ID or ratting out businesses that ask for a minimum purchase with credit card use? These are typically small stores that are getting hit hard by fees and surcharges, and trying to save themselves (and you) money on theft, fraud, and fees. Yet, even as you all seem to hate big businesses, you turn around and go enforce Visa’s rules for them, demanding that stores not check ID when it’s suspicious, or insisting on no minimum purchase even on the smallest transactions. It’s just a corporation-made policy, not the law, for godsake. And do you know why Visa has this policy? Because the theft liability is on the store, not Visa, and just so people can save a few seconds and want to use their credit cards more (so Visa earns more money).

    Why are you being Visa’s lackeys?

  30. battra92 says:

    @Wormfather is Wormfather: And I thought I was the first one to notice. :(

    #8 really annoys me. I also hate when a place will automatically add a tip to the bill or will write/print the suggested tip amount on the bill.

    They get $0.00 for tip when they do this.

  31. bostonhockey says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: and @AnderBobo:

    I never said anything about issuing my license as an ID. Why not a state issued photo ID, confirming your name and identity? And what’s to stop said cashier from capturing essential information off of a check (if anyone still writes out a check at a merchant).

    It has nothing to do with giving in and ‘bucking’ up. I simply feel that writing ‘see ID’ adds another layer of protection. Surely as educated Consumerists, you can’t argue that it doesn’t hurt in preventing fraud. A stolen card will still work online regardless of what’s written/signed on the back of it.

  32. Nytmare says:

    I wouldn’t fault a merchant for trying to avoid the card fees that would eat up all their profits in low dollar transactions. It concerns me how dictatorial that credit card companies have become. I’m also tired of customers who think they can dictate special rules by customizing the back of their credit card.

  33. bostonhockey says:

    @B: Um…try again. I think it’s someone’s poor use of the English language. It’s rather obvious they meant to write ‘Not Accepting AMEX’.

  34. pmathews says:


    When I was 20 I went to England with a college group. When I used my debit card there it was the first time that I had seen anybody ask for my ID. Every single shop asked for it. I was truly amazed that they went through the effort to do that.

  35. B says:

    @bostonhockey: @Wormfather is Wormfather: Blah, you guys are no fun. I was just stating what the sign said, not what it meant to say.

  36. satoru says:

    @chuck0008: The first thing I would do is take that Walmart card and burn it. Store credit cards are worthless and provide you with almost no consumer protections.

  37. DashTheHand says:

    I got a flat on my motorcycle last summer and pushed it 200 yards to a nearby liquor store parking lot which happened to be the only “store” for miles in either direction. As I was waiting for a tow truck to come that I had called from my cell phone, it was blazing hot outside, so I wanted to buy a bottle of water, but had no cash, just credit cards. The store refused to let my buy a bottle of water regardless of telling them I was essentially broken down and waiting on a tow truck outside.

    Glad that I learned #5 though, I’ll now report this liquor store. Though I wonder what actually happens if anything when businesses do get reported.

  38. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Yet, even as you all seem to hate big businesses…
    @kepler11: We hate BAD businesses. There have been small businesses that have gotten complaints on this site and their are large businesses that manage not to suck.

    …demanding that stores not check ID when it’s suspicious…
    The stores that check ID do it all the time, not only when it’s suspicious.

    …trying to save themselves (and you) money on theft, fraud, and fees.
    Wait, how does checking IDs and requiring minimum purchase amounts reduce fees?

  39. DashTheHand says:

    @DashTheHand: Oops, #4 rather.

  40. AnderBobo says:

    I have trouble with #4. I can see how a small mom & pop shop does not want people rolling in and using there cards on a stick of gum. And if small businesses like that are really trying hard to please the customer, and lets face it offering visa is a great convenience, I usually don’t have a problem if they have a minimum purchase required to use that card.

    However, I do think larger stores and gas stations should never be able to require a minimum purchase.

  41. DashTheHand says:

    Oh and as for #1, the only place that has ever refused my unsigned card is the US Post Office, but only one location. I promptly went across the street and mailed the package with FedEx instead.

  42. satoru says:

    @freepistol: Stores like this try to impose a minimum because they are charged a flat fee plus a percentage of the transaction. For a small business this flat fee can range from 20-50 cents. That fee is significant if I buy a $1 chocolate bar on my credit card. It’s technically against the credit cards policy, but I don’t really see a need to report it as they’re probably hurting as it is.

  43. shorebird says:

    A local grocery store recently had a hand written sign posted on each of the registers stating that ID would be required to use a credit card. It seems that they had someone use a stolen card to charge (get this) $6,000 of items. Now I know that grocery prices are going up but really $6,000? I came home and printed out the relevant sections of both Visa and Master Cards merchant agreement. I then returned to the store and spoke with the manager giving him the printouts. He seemed to understand but wanted to justify the stores new policy. I politely stated, that should I observe, that they continued with the ID requirement I would have no choice but to report them to the card companies. When I left the store they were discussing the matter between the manager and supervisors. That was the 8th. I think that I’ll go shopping today and see if anything has changed. BTW; I use cash when shopping with them.

  44. milk says:

    @bostonhockey: Putting “SEE ID” on your card only works if the cashiers bothers to actually check. I worked as a cashier for over three years, and neither my fellow cashiers nor myself cared if you wrote “SEE ID.” Unless you could give us a driver’s license showing your name is SEE ID.

  45. DavidCopperballs says:

    @AnderBobo: I agree – I’m willing to look the other way on the minimum transaction signs at local stores/restaurants as a courtesy to them. It’s hard enough these days without having to give up 2-4% of your profit because I want to get 7 frequent flyer miles on a chicken parm.

    I also don’t have a problem with showing ID if someone asks. I know people around here get up in arms about it, but it’s not a big deal to me. It happens a lot, too, probably because my signature is incredibly messy and only contains about 4 actual letters.

  46. MeOhMy says:

    That’s interesting that VISA has banned the pre-auth tip thing. Kinda cool.

    Reporting vendors for item #4 is, in my mind, utterly worthless. Who has these minimum charges? Pretty much only small mom-and-pop type stores. The type that don’t have a pot to piss in anyway. If everyone reports the Chinese takeout joint down the street for their $10 credit card minimum, here the possible outcomes:
    1. Visa/MC/AMEX cancel the merchant agreement. Result – Now you can’t use credit cards for ANY amount.
    2. The vendor gets tired of the complaints and simply stops accepting credit cards. Result – Now you can’t use credit cards for ANY amount.
    3. The vendor capitulates and drops the minimum but raises prices across the board to compensate for all of the JIMI-carrying urban hipsters who insist on using plastic to pay for their $2 veggie fried fried rice.

    None of these outcomes benefits me as a consumer. Unless “Big Credit” is going to start paying for reporting these violations, I can’t think of many situations where I would report a vendor for this. I’m not going to do Visa/MC/AMEX’s dirty work for them.

  47. @mac-phistothose complaint forms are useless. until the networks start enforcing revoking access & imposing fines, nothing’s going to change.

    I agree with you completely, these rules are pointless. Until we actually hear a story about a credit card provider going after a business by at least imposing a fine, we as consumers are still the female dogs of corporate America.

  48. fostina1 says:

    ive never signed the back of my card and have been using it for years. does that mean i can contest all my charges.

  49. Anonymously says:

    I recently told a merchant that they weren’t allowed force an ID check and it was the most anxiety-causing action I’ve taken all year. I wish I hadn’t done it.

    I feel torn over #4. I know the CC company is really sticking it to the merchants, especially over small transactions, but it makes me angry seeing merchants breaking the rules.

  50. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    If it’s your favorite bagel shop, then give them a break and pay cash so they don’t have to pay over $1.00 in credit card fees to sell you a stupid bagel and coffee.@Quatre707:

  51. MeOhMy says:

    @shorebird: I hope the next time you go, they politely ask you to report them to the credit card companies and to kindly take your business elsewhere from now on before they escort you out of the store.

  52. Supernaut says:

    To those who think writing “See ID” is protecting you:

    I recently ordered a new card from my issuer because my signature was smudged and the signature panel was degraded to the point where I was having trouble making it legible again.

    When I called, all they asked me for were the last 4 digits of my card, my address, and my name. They then asked me where I wanted the new card sent.

    Now, I worked as a cashier for about half a year when I was between jobs. There were people who came in without signatures on their card and I asked them for their ID and required they sign their card. As long as the spelling of the person’s name or their street wasn’t too odd, I would have no problem remembering their name, those digits, the address, and the card issuer (whose number would be easy to find). At least, no problem remembering them long enough to be able to write them down after they walked out the door.

    It’s possible my issuer was also using a caller ID system as additional verification, but that can be dealt with by a good fraudster.

    After this recent experience, I no longer provide my ID with credit card purchases.

  53. MayorBee says:

    @kepler11: You say the merchant agreements are “just a corporation-made policy, not the law, for godsake”. If merchants don’t hold themselves to the agreement they signed with card issuers, why should we trust them to “try to save [us] money on theft, fraud, and fees”?

    Consumers are expected to abide by the rules, why shouldn’t merchants be expected to? If merchants don’t want to abide by the rules (which they signed a contractual agreement to do), they shouldn’t accept credit cards.

    It’s the old have your cake and eat it too argument. Merchants want the increased business, quick payment, and less chance of default on payment, but they also want to inconvenience and harass the customer and not follow the merchant agreement.

    Why are you advocating merchants breaking their word?

  54. That-Dude says:

    @Scoobatz: Theoretically they would check your signature on the receipt vs the signature on the card. I have talked to a few people about this and they universally said that it is easier to fake an ID than it is to fake a signature . . . so for the folks who use “please see ID” they are kind of doing themselves a disservice.

  55. johnfrombrooklyn says:

    It’s funny how Consumerist readers seem to hate big retail chains; who do you think will be left standing when all the small mom-and-pops go under because they’ve had to pay 1/3 their profits in credit card fees? The big chains can negotiate low credit card fees with Visa/Mastercard. That’s why Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks don’t ask for minimum charges. If Big Al’s Donuts needs to ask for $5 minimum charge then pay the $5 or pay cash. That Big Al’s longjohn with the special cream filling won’t be around much longer if you keep bitchin’ and moanin’ about these rules.

  56. TWinter says:

    @battra92: I also hate when a place will automatically add a tip to the bill or will write/print the suggested tip amount on the bill.
    They get $0.00 for tip when they do this.

    I agree that that it is annoying to see those things on bills, but it’s really not fair to punish your server because the restaurant set up their cash registers to print suggested tips on the bill. Your server didn’t decide to do that and your tip is most of your server’s pay. You should tip the innocent server and then complain about the practice to a manager who might actually be able to change it.

  57. theora55 says:

    I reported a suspicious card using a “Code 10” request. It was approved. The guy came back later, I called again, also approved. It was a fraudulently obtained card. They really don’t care enough about fraud because their profit margin is high. They only care about getting consumers to use cards as often as possible.

  58. waza says:


    wal-mart cards and staples cards most of the time are hosted by mastercard or visa

  59. punkrawka says:

    To all those who still think that “Please See ID” will help if your credit card is stolen, you are wrong. Most credit card thiefs will buy things where there is no cashier involved (gas, self-swiped convenience stores, or online purchases, etc.), or if they do gamble with a cashier, you probably know from using your own card that there’s a less than 50% chance of them even reading the back anyway. It just doesn’t help. If you want to carry on with the delusion of safety, good for you, but Visa’s rules make more sense.

  60. Dobernala says:

    @waza: This depends if the transactions are done by MC/Visa or if the store processes them in their own system.

    You may have a harder, if not impossible time disputing a transaction and doing a chargeback this way.

  61. MayorBee says:

    @Supernaut: I used to work for American Express in their card replacement division. To send out a replacement card, we would ask the normal questions like SSN, address, password on account (if there was one). In order to send to an alternate address, however, we would have to send the cardmember over to a special handling group that would ask things like who your mortgage was with, who your car was financed through, how much those payments were, etc. I don’t know if it’s the same for every card issuer, though, but at least American Express was a little more thorough when sending to an alternate address.

  62. ThunderRoad says:

    Any chance that Consumerist can query Visa/MC/Amex in an interview to find out what they do when a violation is reported? We all assume they do nothing. Do they need a threshold of violations on a particular business? Do they only go after big merchants or small ones? ie, is it even worth our time as consumers to try to get places to abide by the rules?

    Could be good journalism.

  63. bigring55t says:

    OK, here is one question I do have about #2. I have a card from my bank that works as both a debit and credit card. If that gets stolen, or I am defrauded, how does the liability work. Am I on the hook if I used it as a debit card to buy something, but not if I used it as a credit card. Likewise, if it is stolen, if the thief uses it as a credit card but not a debit am I safe, or is there some default level of responsibility that automatically happens with these type of cards? I would think from a common sense point of view, that it would depend on how I used the card, but if reading the Consumerist has taught me anything, it is that common sense rarely prevails in the world of credit cards.

  64. Hanke says:

    @bostonhockey: Except at Best Buy when I use my Best Buy CC, I can’t remember when the last time someone verified my signature. In fact, on sveral of my cards, the signature panel is completely worn off. On top of that, many of the stores in my area now have self-checkout stands, where NO ONE checks my signature, and I sign an electronic pad. I’ve taken to writing ‘Stolen’ on those, just to see if something happens. Then I can write to Consumerist, and everyone can have a feild day blaming me or causing the problem. And once again, they’d be right.

  65. Televiper says:

    @BurnsyNY: I’m with you guys on that one as well. I have some friends who run small businesses and the costs of having a credit card/debit system are absolutely punitive at times. I carry cash. I would rather have my money go to the local company instead of buying the big wig at VISA another ivory back scratcher. It’s sad that some here are musing about ratting out a mom & pop store to ‘big brother’ because they’re too cool to carry $20 in their wallet. Besides, carrying a little bit of cash is basic urban survival.

  66. Bagels says:

    I really hate #4 and feel bad for the mom-and-pop stores. It’s not really their fault. CC’s and debit cards are pushed on consumers left and right. I finally gave in and got a debit card a few years ago after getting sick of going to the bank to cash a check to get $40 cash. It’s the way the CC companies have gotten society to be. Even the various rewards stuff. I get points/cashback for using my card, isn’t that incentive for me to use the card ALL THE TIME, even to buy a pack of gum and a bottle of pop? But now the result is small places taking a big hit.

  67. Televiper says:

    @Greg P: You are angry about merchants breaking a rule that you just acknowledged is unfair to them.

  68. rpm773 says:

    My understanding of #5 is that gas stations engaging in this practice are in violation of their contract with the credit card company, but not necessarily acting outside of the law (depending on local laws). Is this correct?

  69. hellinmyeyes says:


    The signature section is not meant to prove your identity at all. It’s to prove to the store cashier that you have entered an agreement with the card company to pay the amount that they are loaning for the transaction. That’s it. As long as the cashier can see that assurance, the company essentially says, the transaction gets a nod. As a consumer assurance for this more-or-less lax transaction processing, the card company, through its benefits, promises to fight any fraud that’s put on your account if an ID is not checked, etc. The signature serves only to prove that you are bound contractually to the card company.

  70. JoeInRaleigh says:

    I work part time in retail, and this is how I handle it:

    Debit card: If you know the pin, I do not ask for anything else. If you have “see ID” on the card, I do ask to see the ID.

    Credit Card: If it is not signed, then you have to sign it and show ID.

    If it is signed and I can make out the signature, I compare the signature on the card to the signature you give me. If I am satisfied that they are the same, you are good to go.

    If the card is signed, but I can not make out the signature, I do ask for ID.

  71. JulesWinnfield says:

    As for #4, in NY a merchant cannot impose a minimum purchase amount unless that requirement is posted conspicuously. If they can’t point to a sign in their store, they’re subject to a $100 fine for the 1st offense, and a $250 fine for every subsequent offense.

  72. digitalgimpus says:

    Should note that there’s currently a chain email going around that you can use #3 (can’t force you to show ID) to purchase alcohol or cigarettes while under the legal age.

    Reality is that this is not true, and it can be credit card fraud in addition to the already illegal act of purchasing ____ under age.

  73. Quatre707 says:

    The minimum transaction fees that cause businesses with average order values in the $2-10 range is absurd. It has only ever made sense in the early days of credit card processing.
    Now that the major credit card companies have their massive infrastructure in place, the cost to process a transaction is likely a tiny tiny fraction of a penny. Even after a credit card company is factoring in the risk of having to reimburse fraud, pay out on rewards programs, pay phone CSRs, pay for their computer networks and security upkeep, etc… It’s almost pure profit.

    The credit card companies charging merchants a set minimum value is what needs to change. Merchants are being forced to inconvenience consumers with their minimum purchase requirements to use credit cards, and it’s entirely understandable. Would you bother with a sale if you know your $0.60 profit margin from a sale is actually going to be a $0.40 loss because of credit card transaction fees?

  74. hellinmyeyes says:

    Another thing about #4. With local businesses, I typically use cash to give them a break on the terminal fees, etc. If it’s a big-box or big chain store, I don’t mind cashing in on the rewards points. My apartment complex recently started accepting credit cards for monthly rent. I was kind of torn at first, thinking maybe they would raise everyone’s rent 2% to cover the transaction fees. I figured what the heck – they probably already had raised the rent enough to justify it before offering the service. Beaucoups monthly points!

  75. TheLemon says:

    @punkrawka: Most credit card thiefs [sic] will buy things where there is no cashier involved

    Exactly. Writing “See ID” does absolutely nothing to prevent this. Sign your cards and play by the rules to avoid any reason for fault or blame on your part should an incident of fraud arise.

    It’s a tough call, but I say if Mom & Pop stores can’t afford to accept credit cards on all purchases, then they shouldn’t accept them at all. When you start trying to break the rules with minimums, you invite accusations of discrimination. Either accept them for all purchases, as agreed, or don’t accept any. It’s the cost of doing business in today’s world.

  76. dveight says:

    I exclusively use my credit card for all purchases and payments, and I will admit that I am one of those people who have written down “Check ID” on the back of my card. Yeah, I know that I am going to get slam here for that, and someone is bound to say “try using it as the post office and see what happens!” Well, I have, and never have I been declined service. Yeah, it may happen one of these days, but then I can just use my ATM card and use the pin.

    As for the minimum purchase, I agree that the places that have them are the mom and pop shops, and in this economy, I feel for them. Besides, if you are going to a mom and pop shop, you are usually willing to pay more, so buck up and just accept it. Either that or go to the big box stores.

  77. Greeper says:

    I’ve complained about the minimum purchase violations to AMEX and CHase and they don’t care. They don’t care. No, they really don’t care.

  78. TPK says:

    @Scoobatz: The signature on the back of a credit card is kind of like the first signature on a traveler’s cheque. The signature on your transaction slip is then kind of like the second signature on a traveler’s cheque. They are supposed to match.

  79. SacraBos says:

    I know they are not allowed, but if a small store doesn’t want to accept a credit card for a $0.50 candy bar, I don’t blame them. I really try not to make small purchases by credit, since the fees will mean they are selling at a loss.

    Maybe just for fun we could organize a “charge a candybar” day, just to mess with some company. Like, all the Consumerist readers go to Walmart at 6PM today and charge a box of Milk Duds. Of course, tomorrow Walmart would likely be highly overstocked with Milk Duds…

  80. rwyuan says:

    I’m curious if any of the people who have “Check ID” on their credit cards are also the same people who refuse to show their sales receipts when leaving a store that checks those?

  81. TPK says:

    How about something like this:

    Vendor: “Sir, I’m sorry, we require a minimum purchase of $10 in order to use your credit card. You’ll need to either use cash, or purchase more items.”

    Me: “I see… well, how about this… why don’t you ignore the fact that I’m below the minimum for this purchase, and I’ll ignore the fact that you are in violation of your credit card merchant agreement. You make this exception for me, and I won’t report you. Fair enough?”


  82. azzy says:

    My Amex blue card does not say anywhere on the card that you must sign it, and the “signature” box has a printout of the card numbers in it. I’ve never signed it, but I don’t use it too often.

    Anyone know if it’s required for amex?

  83. haoshufu says:

    I did not sign my card and I have never been asked to sign it. They just ask for me ID.

    The no minimum rule is stupid from the merchants’ standpoint. Many Visa/MC agreements have a %+per transaction charge. Per transaction charge can be anywhere from 10 cents to a dollar as far as I know. If a guy comes in and buy a pack of gum for 50 cents with a credit card, you might as well just ask him to take it for free. Besides, I see soooo many places asking for minimum with a big sign and I really doubt Visa/MC cares to enforce that anyways.

  84. @Troy F.: I disagree. Just about every gas station and even most restaurants around where I live have adopted a “minimum charge” policy. Once one started it it seemed like they all got on board.

    I have found that if they try to enforce it and you notify the manager that they are not compliant with there agreement with Visa or Mastercard, they usually let it slide.

    I believe these are more of a “processing fee” deterrent than actual store policy.

  85. mavrick67 says:

    I’ve been in banking 20 years and you wouldn’t believe the number of idiots who came in to the bank for cash advances and then argue about not having to sign their card.

    Thus far the score is:
    Boneheads who leave screaming they are reporting me and having me fired – 100+
    Number of times I’ve been repremanded by my bank or VISA – 0

  86. DanPVD says:

    My colleges charges a little bit extra if you pay tuition via credit card.

    Is this a violation of Visa/Mastercard policies? It isn’t marketed as a “cash discount.”

  87. captainvegetable says:

    I totally agree that it’s counterproductive and unkind to report the small businesses who have a posted credit card minimum. Usually that amount isn’t hard to spend, and I appreciate that they are trying to make my life easier by not forcing me to find an ATM (or use the one with a double whammy of fees next door) to buy their delicious food. They’re getting screwed and all they want to do is make food people want to eat. Unless they’re doing something super-shady, I’m never gonna pick Big Credit over the little guy.

    One of my favorite places doesn’t post a minimum, the owner (and only employee) will just bitch at you if you don’t have cash. He’ll take your card, but he will tell you how it costs HIM money to do so, and that he’s trying to stay in business here. I am sure many people don’t find this as oddly charming as we do, but the dude makes a hell of a falafel–giant and delicious–for only $6. I will bring cash, every time.

  88. exkon says:

    These rules ONLY apply to Credit cards, not debit cards correct?

  89. afw says:

    The IRS charges you a fee to pay your taxes with a credit card. We owed $188 for 2007, and I paid with my Amex – I think it cost me $6 or so to do that. It was worth it to me to know it was all taken care of, but I wonder if Visa/MC/Amex want to take on the IRS? :-)

  90. HunterZ says:

    I sign my credit cards as “*CHECK ID*”. I want to use them that way. You can’t tell me that the average Starbucks employee is trained to compare signatures with your receipt and make any kind of reasonable judgement about their validity. I’d rather take the chance that a credit card thief won’t go to the additional trouble of forging my ID. I thank merchants who (often apologetically) ask to see my ID when they see the notice I’ve written on the back of my cards.

  91. keith4298 says:

    I went to a pizza store where they had a minimum to use a credit card posted and since I knew the owner, told him that it’s a violation of the visa merchant agreement.

    He told me that after the first few thousand $1 charges, Visa contacted HIM and asked to modify they agreement to only charge amounts over $5. Has anyone else ever heard of this?

  92. Landru says:

    The only place I shop that makes me show ID is one of those big pet superstores – petco or petsmart or megapet, whatever. It’s the only place to get the only food my cat can eat. Anyway, when they ask, I show them my library card. The clerks look outraged, but it works.

  93. Froggmann says:

    Oh on #1, uhh… I havent signed or written anything on the back of a credit or debit card in… 4 years now? In other words nobody ever checks.

  94. SOhp101 says:

    Be careful with #6. Many (actually, virtually all) extended warranties only extend it by max one year.

  95. MercuryPDX says:

    For #1 – DO BOTH. Sign your card and in thick black sharpie marker write CHECK ID

  96. Brine says:

    I’ve had “SEE ID” on the back of my card for a while, and after reading this site, I kept meaning to sign it as well, but I always forgot. That is, until I went to a liquor store and I was asked to sign it. I even noticed a sign by the register that stated that they would only accept credit cards with signatures on them.

  97. aeronaut says:

    AMEX charges higher fees for a transaction and mechants may need to use a different CC processor. That’s why many don’t accept it.

    A transaction with a signature verification generally has lower fees, depending on the processor.

    A transaction with the 3 digit security code generally has lower fees.

    Merchants balance the time saved at the checkout line by not requiring signatures with the time needed to sign your receipt. Getting more customers through the line is sometimes more important, say at McDonalds. This is why many don’t accept checks anymore. A transaction with a check takes forever now.

    The parking garage at the airport takes CC for 75 cent charges (in and out quickly) without signatures so they can move cars through more quickly. Yes, it costs them a transaction charge, but it also means improved customer service, less infrastructure and fewer staff.

    Debit cards are checks with minimaly improved security. Consumers should use credit cards instead for the added protection.

  98. aeronaut says:

    One more item: Remember that you’re dealing with minimum wage store clerks who were told by their boss what they need to do to accept a credit card or lose their job.

    Negotiating at the checkout is wasting your time.

  99. mitchelwb says:

    good info… on #4, I have mixed emotions… I guess it depends on where I am. I typically only see this in smaller mom and pop places. And if the minimum is low enough, I’m not worried. Our favorite local frozen custard place has a $5 minimum. I don’t mind that. It’s small, locally owned (owner is usually behind the counter making treats) and they are very friendly. However, the large sandwich chain that is down the street has a $10 minimum. Even if I bought two sandwiches, I would have to get their meal deals to make the minimum. I realize it is a franchise, but still.. I don’t think it’s right. So I don’t eat there.

  100. bricem says:

    @battra92: I actually find it useful when they print the different tip amounts at the bottom of the receipt. Of course, they should base it on the pre-tax amount of the bill but I’ve never seen any of them do that.

  101. hellinmyeyes says:


    It may have been his merchant bank, instead of Visa. The merchant bank probably has a stipulation in his account that they’ll cover some of the fees, and they were getting bitten.

  102. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    @B: I know, my sarcasm meter only hit maybe. When being sarcastic on the internets a great rule is to always be so outragous that no one could belive you’re being honest.

    I call it the O’Reily Factor.

  103. crazybutch says:

    so if someone uses my credit card at a store to buy $500 worth of crap, i have to pay $50 of that as a liability fee. Does Visa/ MC pay the store for the $500 purchase, or is that store just sol? Because if the store has to take that as a loss, it should be their right to take necessary measures to try to prevent this.

  104. Javert says:

    @Greeper: Chase does not issue the agreement…they are the bank. Chase cards are either going to be Visa or Master…unless you refer to a debit card?

    I am suprised more businesses are not following the lead of the gas stations with respect to No. 4 and offering a cash discount. No fee involved and from what I have gathered thus far, does not violate the business’ agreement with the CC company.

  105. prop7 says:

    4) Merchants Cannot Require A Minimum Transaction Amount

    This may be true – but especially for small businesses – when you pay with a credit card for small amounts (say under $5 for a cup of coffee) that merchant has to pay all the same transaction and other merchant processor fees that they would for a $25 purchase. In essence, your convenience to use a credit card instead of cash is something you ought to pay for not vice versa.

    I recommend paying cash when faced with a small purchase. It helps the small businesses at the end of the day and brings more dollars directly into the community as opposed to forking 2-5% of numerous small transactions over to Visa, Mastercard, and the many merchant processors that do a great job of ripping off small business owners.

  106. wooster11 says:

    I have a question in regards to #4.

    Merchants Cannot Require A Minimum Transaction Amount
    It’s a violation of the credit card company’s merchant agreement to refuse a transaction because it is below the “minumum.”

    VISA says:
    Imposing minimum or maximum purchase amounts in order to accept a Visa card transaction is a violation of the Visa rules.

    Mastercard says:
    A Merchant must not require, or indicate that it requires, a minimum or maximum Transaction amount to accept a valid and properly presented Card

    I’ve twice, when purchasing a car, wanted to put my down payment on my credit card. Both times, I’ve been told that they could only accept a maximum of $X on the credit card for this purpose. But because both VISA and Mastercard note “maximum” amounts, does that mean that I could have placed the whole down payment on my credit card? I think the wording is a bit confusing on the rule, so I was hoping that someone could help me clarify this. So that next time I buy a car, I’ll fight harder to place my full down payment on my credit card – I don’t want to miss out on all those rewards.

  107. FlyingSaucrDude says:

    So regarding number 5 above, I totally get the surcharge vs. “cash discount” thing, but I have a similar issue, and I’m not sure where it falls.

    I know of a merchant that charges a “convenience fee” for using a credit card. Their website says that the convenience fee comes from them using a third party service that accepts credit cards. The cost of the transaction is borne by the customer in the form of a convenience fee. Is this legit?

  108. digitalgimpus says:

    Should note that the minimum transaction amount rule is for explicit use with credit card (“in order to accept”).

    A store can still have a minimum transaction amount for a sale (any payment method).

    That’s why many places with frequent small purchases (newspaper stands for lack of a better example) only accept cash. Rather than state “minimum purchase price”, they will generally just not set the sale price for any individual item below that.

  109. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I never said anything about issuing my license as an ID.
    @bostonhockey: Never said you did. But most people are only going to have their driver’s license. Even if you have an alternate ID we’ve already seen stories on Consumerist about merchants who insist it has to be a DL.

    There’s nothing to stop a merchant from stealing information off of a check which is why I only write one when absolutely necessary (wallet lost/stolen & no cash).

    As far as it not hurting, according to Supernaut it could if the cashier has a good memory or, if the slippery slope fear is actually valid, merchants decide to start recording the info off of your DL.

    I agree that matching a face to a photo is better protection than matching signatures but that’s why people’s photo should be on their credit or debit card.

  110. bobarchor says:

    This reminded me of a credit card prank. It is worth a look:


  111. digitalgimpus says:

    @wooster11: Laws vary by state on down payments and car purchases. IIRC many/most states require anything above $x be via certified check. And yes, a car dealer typically needs to see a drivers license (ID) before they can complete the sale of a car. Again depends on the state.

    Merchants are never required to break the law. It’s typically illegal for a credit card company (or anyone) to create a contract that violates the law. Hence if your state has rules regarding down payments, or car purchasing… the dealer must abide by them.

  112. bobpence says:

    What if a cashier is prompted to call in for approval on a card? This happened a couple times a shift a decade or so ago when I was in sales, and often required verifying ID. Has this stopped? Or does #3 only apply when the store chooses to require an ID routinely without prompting?

  113. lily_bart says:


    I worked retail through high school and college, and, diligent 18-year-old manager that I was, tried to enforce #1 many times. I would usually get a moronic lecture, and/or comments like “A police officer told me to!” But store policy (i.e., customer always right) didn’t allow me to refuse the transaction if the customer refused to sign. One of the many reasons that working in service positions makes you lose your faith in humanity.

  114. Nick1693 says:

    @dallasmay: Yes, they are “debt” cards.

  115. B says:

    @crazybutch: The $500 is split between the store and the bank that issued the credit card. On average, the store will eat about 70% of the loss, and the bank the other 30%. Visa or MasterCard won’t take any liability for a fraudulent purchase.

  116. Mr_D says:

    If I recall correctly, about #4, AMEX doesn’t have a similar stipulation, BUT, they do have a clause that says AMEX cards can’t be discriminated against. So if a merchant takes MC/Visa/AMEX, they can’t say there is a $10 minimum only for AMEX but none for MC/Visa. If they take only AMEX, they can have any minimum they want.

    Of course, as has been noted, reporting for this sort of thing will simply cause headaches for the merchant (and they will pass those headaches down to you, the customer).

  117. wooster11 says:

    Thanks. I’m in CA. Where is there a good resource to find out about these types of laws? I’ve never been told that it was the law which is why they couldn’t accept that amount. They’ve always just said that they don’t want to accept more than $X for the down payment on a credit card. I always assumed it was just to avoid the fees, Transaction Fee + 2-3% of the charged amount, which I know would come out pretty high on an expensive purchase.

    As for the ID thing, that never bothers me. I figure a car dealer would want to make sure I’m a licensed driver as well before driving a car off their lot.

  118. SacraBos says:

    @bricem: I usually tip around twice the sales tax if I get good service. Our sales tax is about 8%, so it’s a good approximation.

  119. mgy says:

    @DanPVD: I would like to know the answer to this as well.

  120. nightshade74 says:


    No Visa/MC have “zero liability” .. $50 is the most
    under the law they *could* charge.

  121. How many of you have ever seen a merchant compare the signatures? How many of you go to the self-service lanes in the stores you shop at? To those who have SEE ID, how often do you actually get asked? Why are some of you so sanctimonious and pompous about this?

    I’ve never seen a merchant compare my signatures, and only once have I been asked for ID as my signature had worn off. A majority of the stores I shop at use those electronic pads and I just scribble something out and the merchants never look at my card. The self-service lanes at my grocery stores don’t even ask for a signature under $30 now, and only recently have I needed to enter a zip code (I like this feature) when using some self swiping machines. When I had a company credit card, it had SEE ID on it and it was about 50% of the time that I was actually asked.

    In my experience, and that’s all I can comment on authoritatively, these rules are useless because they aren’t followed by merchants or consumers. We want more convenience and to get out the door quicker and use our cards for whatever the hell we want. Yet we expect the companies to protect our interests and take the hit if our card is stolen, but not inconvenience us and take an extra 30 seconds to verify stuff.

    You’re not in danger of a merchant stealing your info by quickly showing them an ID. You show that same ID to liquor stores, barmen, tobacco purveyors, etc. So do you really think these people are that much more trustworthy than the average cashier?

    /calms down a little

  122. SinisterMatt says:


    You could make a difference between a Mom and Pop Store and a ginormous corporation for #4, but where would you draw the line? What constitutes a Mom and Pop and what is a corporation? Publicly vs. Privately owned? That could work, except there are a number of privately owned giant companies, like the people that make Mars Bars and what not.

    Just asking!


  123. LVP says:

    #4 is hard to enforce because the merchant can claim it as a store policy even when you tell them that they can not legally require a minimum. They will say that by entering their establishment or opening a bar tab that you have agreed to that policy.

    This happened to my sister last weekend and the nasty bartender confiscated her credit card and id until she was willing to pay with cash or be charged the minimum.

    It’s a fake rule and it’s not fair but there is no true way for the consumer to enforce it.

  124. lightmanx5 says:

    Where could one find the information that has been quoted from VISA and MasterCard?


  125. WeAre138 says:

    Can’t the store just invoke their right to refuse service to anyone if you don’t produce an ID upon request?

  126. brian25 says:

    I know we all want to support the little guy, but why do I have to be penalized? If they do not want to support me and my credit card, then they shouldn’t accept it. I’m tired of being slapped with a fee as #4 describes. Can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  127. jaxun says:

    @shorebird: What the managers and supervisors were probably discussing as you left was that they’d just nominated you for “Douche Customer Of The Month”.

    So congratulations on that.

  128. crazybutch says:

    @B: that sucks! stores should be able to protect themselves. a 70% loss is a lot. i will grant that stores like Walmart, JCPenny, etc. could afford to take the loss, but who is it going to come out of? the consumers, ultimately. the people who fight i don’t want anyone to know it’s me using my card, because if it gets stolen it’s someone else’s problem…. you just might be the problem.
    get your pic put on the card, then you won’t have to show the cashier your driver’s license. because you know the cashier is going to steal your info, apply for several cards in your name, and mess up your credit… give me a break.

  129. Factorxfiles says:

    Used to work at a card processor. Basic info:

    Discover is under the same umbrella as VI/MC. They were recently purchased by U.S. Bank. As a condition of the purchase, DI now has the same policies and such in place as VI/MC (VI/MC required this before they would contract with U.S. Bank if they own DI). AMEX is their own entity, they have their own rules.

    The “Code 10” is the best way for a merchant to verify a suspicious card. Never heard of one using it though.

    Policies are fantastic, but most merchants do not stick to them. Most will look for the signature, if they see it, they don’t ask to verify it. If they see a blank card, they ask for ID. Check printed names, don’t ask them to sign the card. If they see “See ID” they do the same. However, these precautions are to protect the merchants, NOT you. Chargebacks lose the merchants a fair chunk of money, and the signature verification protects them from it.

    Consumers are protected by a whole different system, mostly based on their shopping trends. If your card is stolen, they determine what transactions are fraudulent by the location of the transaction, and the amount. You live in Tulsa, and you just bought a BMW in Chigago? Suspicious. The easiest way to protect your card from unauthorized use is to put something official sounding, like “Void Without ID” on it. Technically it means nothing, but merchants don’t know that. It’s hard to fake an ID. If you sign it, the merchants won’t ask the criminal for ID. If you don’t, the criminal will with your name, and again, never be ID checked. If you put “See ID” they could be asked for ID, but they could also just sign it and refuse to present ID.

  130. tracykins82 says:

    @Troy F.: I live in CA and a bunch of big, NICE bars in both LA and SF require a $20 minimum for credit cards. I’m subjected to this every weekend…so I’m really surprised to see so many people say they hardly ever encounter this. I’m sure the drunk bartender doesn’t know that he/she’s not allowed to enforce a minimum purchase price…but short of reporting the establishment to the credit card company at a later time, what’s there to do?

  131. chareverie says:

    #1 I’ve actually been able to get away with for a long time. Not that I ever intended to do so, but my signature faded away over time, including the white area that’s used for the signature.

    I never noticed it for a while, and it probably kept on going along for a couple months until I did. Right now I just have my initials in a small white area that it’s still kept in tact.

  132. NateDog1022 says:

    This is a link to the Merchant Rules for Visa. Page 9 has the exact language referenced in this story. I have a copy of it printed out. I carry it in my wallet at all times. It comes in handy when you are arguing with a manager.


  133. williehorton says:

    @forgottenpassword: That was you?

  134. Dr Jones says:

    @Quatre707: I know I am going to get some serious fallout for this. However, “payed” is not a word, however, “paid” is. Also, wanna…not a word =(

    Just getting really tired of the random spelling errors!

  135. Doofio says:

    Explain this to me:

    Scenario 1:
    If a card is unsigned, the merchant should ask you to sign it, then compare signatures to your Government ID. If something doesn’t match up, no transaction. This makes sense and I see no real problem with it.

    Scenario 2:
    I steal someone’s unsigned card and forge the signature. The rules state that if the card is signed, no ID is required for the purchase to go through. So basically by just signing any unsigned credit card I find is automatic proof that I am the owner of the card?


    That’s like saying I can walk up to a car on the street that has the doors unlocked and engine running, sign my name on the door, drive off and no one can challenge my ownership of the car.

  136. trogam says:

    @Dr Jones: Random one’s are better than non-random ones!
    I only use credit to do online purchases and gas. And even then, I use one mainly for gas and music, and the other one for large purchases.
    And I pay off my bill monthly in full.
    What sucks about signing though is if you have a particularly long name that ends up on the card, for which you then have to sign. My full name makes it quite hard at times…

  137. dveight says:

    @crazybutch: Usually the stores are SOL. That is another reason that these credit card companies are making it so easy and trying to restrict what companies can or cannot do. They are not out anything, its the stores that are.

    Do you think that Visa/MC cares if someone just use a credit card for a $0.50 pack of gum? No, they just made about $0.52 on the transaction, while the store pretty much gave the gum away for free.

    For the amount of people here who hate big business, you guys sure back Visa/MC and complain about these minimum fees that some Mom and Pop store charges.

  138. Nofsdad says:

    So you stiff the servers for a crappy company policy they had nothing to do with? The company could probably care less since they don’t get the tip anyway. Or shouldn’t.

  139. jccalhoun says:

    The “see id” people drive me up the wall. When is the last time you uses a credit card and it left your hand? The only place I can think of that I go to regularly that doesn’t have a card scanner facing the customer is my local post office. At a non-fast food restaurant you are a heck of a lot more likely to have the underpaid waitress steal your credit card number while she takes it in the back to run it through than someone is to find or steal your card and use it someplace where they have to hand the credit card over to someone.

    The only thing “see id” does is create trouble for people who work at places where they will not take a credit card that isn’t signed.

  140. bigvince1981 says:

    @DashTheHand: So instead of signing your card, which really does make sense, you went across the street and paid more at FedEx? Nice.

    I don’t see what all the controversy is about.

    1. No matter what you do (sign your card, don’t sign your card, write “See ID”), the cashier probably won’t look at the back of the card, ask for ID, or attempt to compare signatures, regardless of the merchant’s policy. What do you expect when most retailers are staffed by high-school students?

    2. The credit card company, which you choose to do business with, says that you have to sign the card to use it. Regardless of whether or not you like the policy, you accept it when you get the card. You agree to sign the card by applying for the card. If you don’t like the policy, don’t use a credit card. Otherwise you’re a liar if you don’t sign the card.

    2. If a merchant accepts a card that isn’t signed and there is a problem with that transaction, the merchant is responsible. Hooray for merchants that take five seconds of your life to protect themselves and you.

    3. If you don’t sign your card and it’s stolen, all someone needs to do is sign it. And because most merchants don’t ask for ID, they can use your card wherever they want.

    4. If you write “See ID” or “Ask for ID” and your card is stolen, the merchant will still probably not ask for ID. And if they do, all the thief needs is a fake ID. Now, if you’re from California, you could probably spot a fake CA driver’s license. But unless you’re in law enforcement or fraud prevention or something like that, you wouldn’t know a fake Florida license from the prize in a cracker jack box. Also, you can make a passable fake ID with a self-service color copier.

    5. If you sign your card, it gets stolen, and the cashier actually compares signatures, the thief at least has to forge your signature in front of the cashier. As for me, I’d be suspicious if it took someone ten minutes and five tries to do a signature. If the cashier also asks for ID, the thief has to forge your signature and have a fake ID with your forged signature.

    Maybe rather than arguing over whether or not to sign a credit card (which you agreed to do by getting the card and which is smart to do anyway), we should focus on getting merchants to train their cashiers to actually compare signatures and watch for signs of fraud.

  141. shykid10 says:

    How do you find out what benefits fall under: #6) Many Credit Cards Have Programs That Will Automatically Double The Manufacturer’s Warranty And Other Excellent Benefits?

  142. TorrentFreak says:

    I worked at a mom and pop store for years and I had people always coming in to do less than $2.00 purchases. We knew it was in violation of the rules to charge a min but we had no choice. If you didn’t like it thats fine, you can shop somewhere else. No way in hell was I gonna do a transaction that would lose me money. It was a gas station, and I would rather you go over to Shell or Exxon and buy your stupid gum with your Visa than in my place. It costs $0.50 every transaction! Its bad enough you only make pennies on the gallon for gas, hell you could fill up and use a credit card to do it and while you might spend $100, i would only make a buck or two.

    If you try to make those tiny purchases with a CC you might as well ask me to grab it for free, it might actually be cheaper for me.

    If you don’t like the min purchse rule then don’t buy it. Just walk away, but don’t come back crying and bitching that small buisness is dying and the corporations are terrible with bad customer service. You can’t have it both ways.

  143. sventurata says:

    @bostonhockey: Chargeback rights – if you dispute a transaction made with the card present, and your card is not lost or stolen, Visa or M/C will contact the store, pull receipts, and compare signatures. If they match – it’s your charge. If not – the credit issuer can offload the cost (or chargeback) the amount to the merchant.

    Authorizations made without the card present (internet, mail-order) default automatically to the merchant, which is why many do name/address verification, require SecureCode or Verified by Visa, etc.

    It’s a dated technique, but works for a significant majority of credit card disputes.

  144. resonanteye says:

    I stopped taking credit cards at my studio. Mainly because the percentage they charge made it so that I actually LOST money when people used them.

    Also I found that not being able to refuse chargebacks, set me up for more scammers than it was worth.

    Damn credit card companies. I take cash only, now, and things are much easier.

    I don’t know how you’d be able to use your card without ID, though. How are they supposed to verify your signature, then? Earlier in the list it says

    “1) The merchant will ask for your government ID.
    2) You will be asked to sign the card. If you sign it, the signature on the card will be compared to the signature on the government ID. If you refuse, the card will not be accepted.”

    how on earth can they do this if you aren’t required to show ID? I don’t get it, am I missing something?

  145. closeupman says:

    @LVP: “This happened to my sister last weekend and the nasty bartender confiscated her credit card and id until she was willing to pay with cash or be charged the minimum.”

    How did the bartender get her ID? Didn’t he say about the minimum before asking for ID?

    Also, if I was her I would’ve then either let him charge me the minimum and then do a chargeback and explain the situation


    Tell the bartender that you’ll call the police. And then do it if he doesn’t give the stuff back!

  146. DanGarion says:

    1. I haven’t signed a credit or debit card that I have received in the the last 10 years and they let me rack up thousands of dollars of debt (at one time). I guess I shouldn’t be liable for it! Since it’s the stores fault for not checking.

    3. I was at a McDonalds in Costa Mesa, CA a couple days ago and they had a sign posted that said you had to have an ID in order to use your credit card. I tried to get a picture of it but couldn’t do it without being obvious.

    5. I’d love to know why small liquor stores charge fees and why they have set minimums if they aren’t supposed to be able to. Almost every store I go into charges if you use credit or debit card. Wouldn’t a store be considered a typical place to use those in the course of normal business?

  147. Mark says:

    You should read #3. If Visa says that a merchant cannot refuse to complete a transaction because a cardholder refuses to provide ID, what is the merchant going to look at if there’s no signature on your card? They’ll see your signature on the receipt and that’s it. What is the merchant going to compare your signature to then? Besides, it protects you. I used to work retail and the ignorance of the consumer regarding credit cards is sometimes beyond belief. The bank owns the card, not you. It can be taken by a retailer and sent back to the bank if you misuse the card (for a reward, I might add). Those small print terms and conditions labeled “Terms and Conditions” that arrive in the mail in the envelope with your credit card are the “rules” for using your credit card.

  148. antisane says:

    What about putting “Ask for ID” with a red sharpie on the back, and then signing over that with a black pen (so it would show up over the red marker)?

    Would seem to be a way to make all parties happier (at least those that actually check the back).

  149. pgh9fan says:

    PA state liquor stores (can’t buy wine/spirits anywhere else in PA) require a signature or they won’t accept the card. I was working there over the holidays once and refused a guy’s AMEX because it wasn’t signed. I’d asked for ID and asked him to sign it. He wouldn’t so I refused the sale. Man, was he annoyed. And since the state liquor stores systems is a 100% monopoly he couldn’t go to a competitor. The guy started yelling and screaming. It was sweeeeet when he asked for the manager and the manager also refused the sale.

  150. Jesterphun says:

    @Doofio:Scenario 2: I steal someone’s unsigned card and forge the signature. The rules state that if the card is signed, no ID is required for the purchase to go through. So basically by just signing any unsigned credit card I find is automatic proof that I am the owner of the card?

    Yup, you’re right. That’s why the person from whom you stole the card should’ve signed it like the agreement requires!

  151. synergy says:

    I’ve called about various merchants for requiring a minimum transaction amount and nothing’s come of it. One of them even told my husband, rather, dared him, to report him saying that nothing would happen to him. Apparently he knew what he was talking about.

  152. Rachael says:

    The minimum purchase amount thing doesn’t really bother me that much, as it’s usually smaller places who are hurt more by the fees that they incur from processing credit cards.

    And to be honest, I HATE the cashiers who insist upon seeing my ID. I almost feel like it’s a punitive thing coming from most, as they’ll ask that I not only show them but remove it from my wallet (the clear plastic isn’t enough) and they typically spend time examining it as though it’s going to provide them with answers.

    My favorite card encounter was at Borders, where the cashier demanded that I show ID because she wasn’t sure about the signature on my receipt matching the one on my card (Seriously- do you all sign your receipts really carefully? I sometimes scribble more quickly so it’s not a perfect match). She then took time to lecture me because the signature on my ID also differed slightly from the one on the back of my credit card. Come fucking on- I don’t sign my name the exact same way every time. I pointed out to her that various letters were exactly the same and I always have the same flourish but she was really out to get me for a $10 purchase that day.

  153. digitalgimpus says:

    @The Walking Eye: They don’t check because they are told not to. If they incorrectly call fraud, when the signature is valid… they are in trouble. Easier to just be blind.

    At least that’s what everyone who worked behind a cash register has told me. Never had the job myself.

  154. ThyGuy says:

    Credit card companies have too much power and they give the customer too much as well. These commercials I see on TV that basically state, “If you don’t like what you see on your credit card, even if it’s legit, you can do a chargeback and steal money and we’ll defend you!” makes me sick.

    Sometimes people forget that the credit card companies, and if business owners stopped being pussies and boycotted Visa, or Mastercard from being accepted; the credit card company would die, because they are a company just like the ones they let the customer push around constantly.

  155. bigvince1981 says:

    @DanGarion: You could try disputing the charge, but when they find that big screen TV you “didn’t authorize” in your living room, they might think some of the other charges are yours too, and then you’d be the one with the fraud charge.

  156. closeupman says:

    Most times chargebacks won’t work, unless you can prove there’s something wrong with the item. Plus, you have to mail in information(except for AMEX – you can do it online).

    The only place where chargebacks seem to work easily is with Paypal and Ebay(at least from what I’ve read in other forums, not personal experience).

  157. evslin says:

    @Doofio: You’ll get caught anyway once the card is reported stolen and the store has your mug on their security camera, so whether you get away with it at the point of sale or not is irrelevant.

  158. amoeba says:

    Where I live sellers or cashiers don’t understand or have a proper training about credit cards. Every time I pay with my debit card, they ask for my ID, even though it is sign and it doesn’t say “see ID” they quest it anyway. I have got into arguments with such people and even they say it is a store policy. So, everything I learned in here about the Visa/Mastercard Merchant Agreement is what?

  159. #4 quite a few bars in the East Village in New York tell you there’s a $20 minimum before you open a tab.

  160. usa_gatekeeper says:

    Isn’t there also a rule (11?) against retailers (e.g., pizza shops, Chinese) issuing receipts showing the whole CC number? Or is this just a state law (Mass)?

    Also, a rule (12?) against them keeping CC numbers on file?

    (11) We complained to Domino’s a year or so ago because the driver was showing up with a receipt showing the whole number. He and others had plenty of opportunity to transcribe the information if they wanted. Domino’s got right back to me and explained that branch had a new receipt machine on order and it would be installed shortly. Sure enough it was resolved pretty quickly after that – last 4 digits only.

    (12) More recently, we realized a local Chinese delivery was showing up with food and two receipts … one to be signed and one in Chinese with the order details. Both had our complete BofA Visa number and expiration date.

    I downloaded a SafePass CC number from BofA (same CC account, it’s just a unique CC number that you use for only one merchant – really neat!!). For the next order, I used the SafePass number. Driver showed up with the new SafePass number on the signature receipt but my regular CC number was still on the order details receipt !!

    Next day I went in to the Chinese restaurant and politely asked the lady to delete my CC number from her register database. She smiled, said, “Sure!”. She entered my phone number (as I recall) into the register and deleted the CC number. She showed me it was deleted.

    Now we use SafePass CC numbers for various merchants who we prefer not have the regular CC number, including our prepaid cell phone provider and anything involving a delivery person.

  161. snoop-blog says:

    on #1, you do realize that just because you write ask for ID doesn’t mean they have to. If a place is so lax that they don’t care if your card is signed or not do you think they are going to give a crap to ask for ID? A card WILL BE used until it is reported stolen.


    In no way is it illegal for someone besides you to use your card unless you report it stolen. If you want to let your kid or friend use your card with you no where in sight, it is perfectly legal. In fact it happens all the time. The only way to determine if the card is being used without permission is to REPORT IT STOLEN! Trust me, anyone can use anyone else’s card so long as it is not stolen, and the only way to know if it’s stolen is to report that is was stolen so the next time it is tried, they catch it.

  162. wormfarming says:

    I can’t remember the last time I signed a card transaction here in the U.K. because a 4-digit PIN is now required, so no ID requests but card fraud is still out-of-control. Go figure …

  163. erytheis says:

    I am always amazed that merchants would rather pay someone to take cash and count down the drawer than accept credit cards. I worked in retail for more years than I care to remember and reconciling the Credit Cards ussually took about a minute. Even if the drawer was even it took about 15 minutes to reconcile the drawer once you filled out all of the paperwork for the cash. If you had to reconcile drawers for someone who wouldn’t count back change it could take even longer to find the mistake. Since managers are the ones who count down the drawers I can’t believe they are saving that much money on fees.

    (When I started working in retail I always checked the signature. The people who had “See Photo ID” always gave a great big smile and showed ID because someone actually checked – at that point I started putting that on my card in black to see if they would check – and sign it in silver so it meets the card holder agreement.)

  164. courts1978 says:

    i run/own a small video store. got merchant services through my bank. did not shop around for best deal etc. costs me .15 per transaction and 1.43 percent of total charge. lets do some math… candy bar .89, tax .06, flat merchant charge .15, additional .01 (15% of the total amount charged .95), So out of the .95 i charged to the card it cost me .16 in credit card fees and .06 in taxes. That leaves me .73 gross on my candy bar. it would have to be an incredibly small amount for anyone to lose money on credit card fees unless they are getting raped by their merchant service provider. they should do some shopping around. the $5+ minimums are ridiculous and i don’t shop if i can’t swipe my card because i never carry cash. just offering a real workld example.

  165. ZekeSulastin says:

    Heaven help the no minimum payment crowd if their credit card was to suddenly stop working – how could they ever pay for minor purchases with their allergy to cash?

    Seriously, most, if not all, of the minimum payments are of amounts small enough that cash should not be an issue. They’re trying to avoid losing much of the sale to fees, and many such stores have good reason to; just take out a $5 bill and be done with it!

  166. Difdi says:


    Why do Consumerist and many readers say that they’re fighting for consumers, good business practices, and anti-fraud measures, etc, yet get so uppity about not having to show ID or ratting out businesses that ask for a minimum purchase with credit card use?

    When dealing with the risk of identity theft, the more information you give a potential identity thief, the easier it becomes for the thief to impersonate you.

    The information printed on the front of a credit or debit card is bad enough; Unfortunately, there is no easy way around it while still being able to use it for transactions. If you combine the front of the card with what is on the back, the risk goes up. This is why I dislike allowing a clerk to freely handle my cards.

    If you combine the information on a state-issued ID card with the front and back of a credit/debit card, you’re in even worse danger from identity theft. While the credit/debit card alone may be enough to impersonate you with some effort on a thief’s part, adding in an ID card makes it far easier.

    Mix the ID card, credit card, some dumpster diving and perhaps some social engineering, and they may be able to appear to be more you than you are, to a bank or credit card company. Then you’d really have problems.

    Probably 99.99% of all store clerks won’t rip you off even given the opportunity. But why take the risk, given how nasty the consequences can get? Why give a potential identity thief more information than they need?

  167. Difdi says:


    This happened to my sister last weekend and the nasty bartender confiscated her credit card and id until she was willing to pay with cash or be charged the minimum.

    Then she should have had the bartender arrested, since theft is a crime.

  168. Gadgetgirl says:

    I’ve only been hit with the $10 minimum stance from a local fruit and veg store. It annoys the hell out of me when I see that sign on the register, but they charge $1 less for a gallon of milk, have cheaper fruit, veggies, eggs, etc… Somehow trying to get other suburban moms and retirees to ‘Fight the good fight’ doesn’t seem realistic. I’ll just plunk down my 5 bux for a gal. of milk, a few naval oranges and a cantaloupe-grumbling.

  169. Crazytree says:

    3-5 are false, for all practical purposes.

    also… the CC companies lack the resources or interest to pursue your local chinese take-out for having a $10 minimum charge and demanding ID.

  170. JulesWinnfield says:

    @DanPVD: What state are you talking about? That’s against the law in NY.

  171. mythago says:

    I put “SEE ID” in small letters next to the signature to remind the cashier to check.

  172. EditorinChief says:

    Interesting. Some of these come as a surprise. I always knew minimums were a courtesy to the store, but I was unaware they are actually not allowed to be forced. Thanks guys, good article.

  173. thaShady says:

    Every Take-Out/Delivery place I order lunch from requires a minimum of $8-10. What should I do?

  174. jeremyevans says:

    It seems like the most controversial of the provisions above is #4. I appreciate Consumerist reporting #4 as being one of the rules because I agree that it’s very controversial, and I think it’s protective of me as a consumer to know what the rules are as stated by “those in charge.” My opinion about that rule notwithstanding, I’m very happy that Consumerist saw fit to explain it to me.

    That said, there are two mom-and-pop places that I frequent in my hometown which have implemented rules to this extent – a $10 purchase is required to use a credit card. That provision irritates me, but I understand why it’s in place. That said, I think it’s just another thing working against mom-and-pops in America today – larger companies have the strength and vigor to get around such provisions through negotiation, and mom-and-pop end up with yet another disadvantage.

    I would somewhat equate this to a problem in recent times with mom-and-pop video rental stores. Huge chains like Blockbuster buy ten thousand copies of a movie, and as such get huge discounts. Mom-and-pop only buy ten copies, and as a result pay full price. It’s frustrating, and definitely disadvantageous for m&p, but I understand why the system works the way it does.

    Fascinating discussion on this point thus far.

  175. sparklingpink says:

    Does this apply in Canada too, then?

  176. dragonfire1481 says:

    I don’t know if it applies in Canada though I assume most merchant agreements there are similar to provisions here.

    During my life in Canada, I saw many shops with the $5 or $10 minimum purchases so whether it’s technically allowed or not, shops do use it.

    Personally I think people overuse plastic these days.

  177. cloud-on-a-bike says:

    Wow, the place I work at violates many of these, lol. We require a $5 minimum amount to use the card and on top of that we take unsigned cards and “See I.D.” cards!

    I don’t know how I feel exactly on the “See I.D.” issue- in my experience most of the people I work with don’t check the ID (there is a reason for it based on the nature of our work environment but I can’t disclose because I want to be anon. ^^), but at the same time I can say that the few times I’ve had a “See I.D.” card (it happens to me very rarely), when I asked for I.D. the person got huffy with me! Every time! I think that’s just bad luck on my part, but I think it’s hilarious that people write that on their cards and then get pissed when you ask them to open their wallet again and flash a pic. Boooo.

  178. Nishita says:

    As someone who’s worked retail, I can say I see no point in writing “See ID” on the back of your card, especially if you’re always signing on a machine and/or swiping your own card. Generally, your cashier has no idea you’ve even written “See ID” on the back unless you point it out. This is not the cashier’s fault. I realize that some people know better, but there are tons of people who seem to think that when you swipe your credit card or let it get sucked into the card reader it somehow magically scans your card, shows the image of your signature to the cashier, the cashier then gets to compare that to what you then go on to sign and “decides” whether or not to accept it. (Really, people?) Unless you physically give your card to the cashier or show it to them, they don’t know or care that you’d like them to check it.

  179. pthomas745 says:

    Ref: Using your credit card to cover the collision damage waiver for a car rental.

    Be careful, and read the fine print. I recently had a minor parking lot scrape show up on a pretty rental. I had used a Visa credit card, and called their customer service to discuss the claim.

    But, the claim was not valid, because the fine print says that Visa collision insurance for a rental was not applicable.

    “Only vehicle rental periods that neither exceed nor are intended to exceed fifteen (15) consecutive days within your country of residence or thirty-one (31) consecutive days outside your country of residence are covered.”

    Note the “exceed or INTEND TO EXCEED 15 consecutive days” part. I wasn’t covered in any way, shape or form as soon as I signed the rental agreement at the Budget Rental desk.

  180. @mgy: @DanPVD: My colleges charges a little bit extra if you pay tuition via credit card. Is this a violation of Visa/Mastercard policies? It isn’t marketed as a “cash discount.”

    I wondered about this too. As it turns out, a proportional convenience fee is allowed for certain entities and transactions by Mastercard, Discover, and American Express. Mastercard, at least, is more lenient with government and education entities. I bet your school doesn’t accept Visa, who only allows a fixed fee. (If they do accept Visa and charge a percentage convenience fee on it, go ahead and report them. My DMV stopped accepting it one day. I assume this is why.)

    The University of California has a good summary of the applicable rules for education (PDF). There’s also a Mastercad document on the Mastercard Convenience Fee Program (PDF).

  181. yardissimo says:

    @bostonhockey: I agree with you absolutely. The “extra step” you say is actually made by many merchants, so where is the big difference? Even when this article claims that IS NOT ALLOWED to ask for an ID as a condition for purchasing, the real thing shows that eventually many business do it. Totally true that a valid ID is more effective than an elaborated (and imitated) signature for preventing fraud. Finally, I really hate when a business transfers to the customer the fee for using the credit card terminal… it MUST BE PAID for them as a direct cost of their operation, not final customer who is finally paying annual fees or memberships for the credit card.

  182. @afw: Convenience fees for taxes are also allowed. See “Tax Payments” at Mastercard or Visa.

  183. yardissimo says:

    @AnderBobo: Hmmm, actually the contract with the Bank is formal and established since the time you sign the paper, not the card. You already have a legal obligation when you accept the terms and conditions for using the Bank’s money by signing the contract and providing all the required documents. The Credit Card, as another examples like the Check, are simply physical ways or means to fulfill the rights and obligations established in your credit contract. An ATM requires you to sign you card in order to give you the money? Of course not. They DO NOT condition the transaction to signing the card. You want it, you get it (but then you paid it back).

  184. yardissimo says:

    @Wormfather is Wormfather: Totally true. AmericanExpress procedures and network infrastructure is quite different from VISA and MasterCard, and usually more expensive. So you should expect to have not-acceptance for your very fancy Platinum Card or Gold Card in some merchants. Even some online stores do not have AMEX as a payment option. Your super computer deducted right.

  185. @snoop-blog: In no way is it illegal for someone besides you to use your card unless you report it stolen.

    Oohh excellent point. That is indeed an authorized transaction, although it can take a while if the merchant wants to verify. I used to have a sheet of paper for a purchasing Mastercard in my boss’ name that authorized me to use his card.

    Add that to my number 1 complaint, which is the philosophical point that Visa and Mastercard want credit cards to be more convenient than cash or especially checks (so you spend more). I distinctly remember Visa “No ID required” ads when debit cards hit the big time.

    I know who I am. Getting my ID out is a pain.

  186. yardissimo says:

    @That-Dude: I was told once by a Bank that according to their policies, the signature of the card and the signature of the voucher MUST BE CONSIDERABLY DIFFERENT for invalidating the record and the transaction. In other words, you can simply sign whatever (not matching the two signatures) but the cashier get their money and you get your purchase. In the matter of a conflict for unrecognized charges, the merchant will prove the Bank it was you who wrote a sign on the voucher, even if it’s quite different. Card companies protects first their affiliated merchants and then their customers… By the time you use a sign on the voucher other than your card signature, you already have the product on your hand and the money has been already charged on you balance. That’s the reason why it’s always a problem when a merchant duplicates a transaction with your card… they cancel it on their account, but your Bank registered 2 transactions, and you MUST demonstrate to them it was only one purchase and one transaction.

  187. @jccalhoun: When is the last time you uses a credit card and it left your hand? … You are a heck of a lot more likely to have the underpaid waitress steal your credit card number … than someone is to find or steal your card and use it someplace where they have to hand the credit card over to someone.

    Another excellent point. I’m pretty sure I’ve bought expensive things without the card entering the cashier’s hand. (Target? Best Buy? Office Max?)

    Even had a cashier ask me once what the last four digits on my card are. Since I know I’m not lying, I was more amused than anything else (because it totally defeats the purpose: verifying that the scanned number matches the imprinted number).

  188. gardene says:

    @Wormfather is Wormfather:

    im not a native speaker but..

    i think the sign says

    “now excepting American Express”

    with “excepting” meaning “accepting” (cause theres no American Express sticker next to the sign but they are “now accepting” it)


  189. j1shalack says:

    I think the credit card company should drop the service charge for purchases under a certain minimum.
    Also, if, each time you used your credit card, you had to enter a 5 digit PIN, as when using a debit card, it would minimize the value of a stolen card. The back signature and other ID would not be needed.

  190. HexiumVII says:

    Here in hawaii, i get asked for ID about 75% of the time. It seems to be a common thing. Most of the supermarkets have huge signs saying as of xx/xx date we REQUIRE IDs for all cards. Generally they ask about 75% even with the big ass signs. I don’t really mind, as it just a small thing that would deter thiefs, i know it would deter me. Citi once send me some spam about picture id cards, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea, maybe they should issue that a lot more, like costco.

  191. HexiumVII says:

    @jeremyevans: Don’t rental places need to buy the special rental license of the media? Ones costing some thousands to get the right to rent it?

  192. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @resonanteye: The merchant is only supposed to ask for government ID if you haven’t signed your card. If you’ve signed your card they’re supposed to compare the signature on the receipt to the one on the credit card.

    @thaShady: Well, the minimum fee for delivery applies no matter how you pay for it so that’s not a violation of the merchant’s agreement. As for minimum fees when you dine in, you could try reporting them.

  193. dveight says:

    @Nishita: So are you supporting it or not? Your argument pretty much says why even bother signing anything on the card.

    Lets face it people, writing See ID, not signing your card, or even signing the card doesn’t mean jack shit if someone uses it at a place where you swipe the card themselves, or the clerk doesn’t care. But what if, just what if one person decides to check ID on what happens to be a stolen credit card. That person can save the company and the owner of the card some head ache.

    Writing Check ID is not fool proof, may not even been allowed in the terms of the contract, but guess what, the world is not black and white, its grey.

  194. RevWaldo says:

    @battra92: Ditto with the other replies. American restaurants will usually do this when they serve a good number of customers from overseas, who aren’t up on the whole tipping-the-waiter thing.

    Did you folks know know that in many countries customers don’t need to tip because (chortle!) their restaurants pay the wait staff a living wage already? What are they thinking? :-)

    I always tip in cash. Let the waiter decide if they feel like declaring it.

  195. darkryd says:

    This was great – can we get one for Debit Cards too?

  196. grumpygirl says:

    i take visa/mastercard for my business. same percentage charged for a $5 transaction as this is for a $500. this “store policy” has never made sense to me.

  197. @dveight: . But what if, just what if one person decides to check ID on what happens to be a stolen credit card.

    “I don’t have it on me.” At this point, the cashier continues or the thief cancels the purchase and moves on to destination #2. If they all check ID, then the thief uses the one that came with the card when they stole the wallet (and/or orders stuff online).

  198. grumpygirl says:

    if the credit card companies really wanted this practice to stop they’d have it written on all of our credit cards. this way, we wouldn’t have to put of a fight at the store about policies and simply turn the card and remind them.

    a no-brainer. they don’t care

  199. dveight says:

    @Michael Belisle: I was going to write a reply comment here, but decided not to… People, do what you want, I can really care less anymore.

    PS: Your order stuff online is invalid in my mind since I already stated it doesn’t help if someone is going to use the card at a place that you swipe it yourself (this would include online ordering.)

  200. Omir The Storyteller says:

    I have occasionally been asked to show ID when using my credit card. The most recent time was when I was on vacation and paying for movie tickets for everyone in my extended family (a total of 14 tickets costing something like $85). There have been times in my life when I would just tell the clerk “no, I am not going to show you my ID,” but I figure, if their boss told them to check, they need to check, and my making a fuss isn’t going to help matters any.

    On the other hand now that I know the rules I think I may write and ask the credit card company to gently remind the management of the theater that they aren’t supposed to do this.

  201. Jmatthew says:

    “Ben and/or fellow Consumerists – How do my power and gas company get away with charging a $3.95 processing fee for paying with credit cards? “

    They use that “non-standard payment type” loophole.

    HOWEVER, some states make this entirely illegal, but a lot of companies still do it. So you should totally research this and make a stink. I’m pretty sure in CA ANY fees for using a Credit/Debit card are illegal, but plenty of companies do it, so knowledge up and take them to task.

    Same thing with payment by check fees, etc etc… a lot of states make it illegal to charge a fee to take a pmnt, but plenty of corps do it anyway, so research your state laws!

    (I know this because I work for a finance company and we have a complicated grid about who we can collect fees from)

  202. FLConsumer says:

    @Jmatthew: Good luck with this one. I’ve had the same issue with Tampa Electric & Florida Power & Light. Be glad they’re only charging $3.95, it’s $5 per $500 paid via credit card down here.

    Here’s where it comes from: The utilities’ rates (especially gas/electric) are regulated. They’re given a fixed rate and that’s it. Credit card transactions usually have a fixed transaction fee + a percentage of sale. The regulated fee system in place doesn’t allow for this. So, most utilities will use 3rd party billers + fees to compensate for this.

  203. physics2010 says:

    If the store is willing to give you a cash discount great, otherwise you can assume the charges are already built into the price of the product. When I visited Salem a particular art dealer’, cc system wasn’t working. He was willing to cover my ATM fees and knock of the charges that would have been part of the creditcard fees, which were significant.

  204. Whyspir says:

    Another question, though I doubt this’ll get answered since I’m a bit late to getting to this…

    Are these American laws/things…?

    Or does this apply to Canada as well?

    I work at a liquor store and the owner requires that ID be shown with credit to verify signature and person using it. I have told a few people that they need to sign there card or some places might refuse them service, because I have seen it happen at several stores.

    This one person got pissed off at me stormed out of where I was working, that was about 7 years ago though.

  205. Joe S Chmo says:

    “@Scoobatz: The signature on the back of a credit card is kind of like the first signature on a traveler’s cheque. The signature on your transaction slip is then kind of like the second signature on a traveler’s cheque. They are supposed to match. “

    Where did you get a silly idea like this? What kind of training did you go through to compare signatures?

    The merchant is required only to provide a copy of a signed receipt if a chargeback request is processed. If they can provide the copy of the signed receipt they suffer no loss. The merchant does not have to submit proof he checked for a signature or ID in order to avoid a chargeback.

    They are not required to verify signatures at all as they are the ones who wanted this provision when the whole system was set up years ago. For all ViSA cares, you can sign it Santa Claus. I sign my wife’s receipts all the time and that is all that matters; the receipt has A signature NOT a matching signature.

  206. coolpup says:

    #4 says companies can’t have a MAXIMUM charge either. How are gas stations getting away with stopping my pump at $50, $75, or $100? When it first started, the stickers said that these were VISA and MC rules. That seems in complete contradiction to the quotes from VISA and MC.

    I hate having to swipe my card 3 times to fill up my tank.

  207. waldo617211 says:

    I wonder why photo credit cards are not mandatory? The credit card companies should be able to pay for those by not losing so much to fraud. You have to have photo id to drive a vehicle, but not to buy thousands of dollars worth of merchandise or services? It has to be a money thing, that’s all those companies care about.

  208. bwcbwc says:

    @bostonhockey: See #3: The cashier is not allowed to ask for ID under the merchant agreement.

  209. jaymay13 says:

    the bar next to my apt requires $40 minimum. that’s like 7 beers. and there isn’t even a sign posted.

  210. Nerys says:

    Call me whacky but #4 the minimum purchase is one I disagree with. We run a family business. While we DO NOT have a minimum purchase since I take care of the books I can 100% understand and AGREE with merchants that impose a minimum fee. These fees can be SO HIGH that on some purchases you will actually LOSE money because the margin is so low. Just because a competitor is willing to eat it does not mean you should be forced to as well.

    Credit cards are definable as evil. They are literally a modern day legal mafia right up there with banks. When a $12.50 overdraft can turn into nearly $400 in over draft fees (Embezzlement is legal if your a bank they can REORDER your transactions to maximize the number of overdraft fees’ You and me goto jail for this its SOP for them) And then add RICO violations with racketeering. Well you should have had overdraft protection where the FEES are almost as high as the NSF fees!!

    And then you have the MANDATORY micro loans with MILLIONS of percent APR. if you have $3.00 in your account and you buy a $3.50 slurpee they will PERMIT the charge and then charge you $35 for the convenience. DO the math on what the equivalent APR is on that.

    And you can NO LONGER turn these “micro loans” off IE the right thing is to deny the damned charge and it worked JUST FINE like that for some 10 years before these MAFIA loans started.

    Bank says well you need to manage your money. I say If I wanted to manage my money what the hell would I need YOU FOR! Thats the whole damned reason to give a bank your money SO THEY can do some of this work for you. Thats why I never use checks because then “I” have to track the purchases.

    AND the banks rape you from both ends. The merchants get it up the wazoo too in fees.

    We had to STOP accepting AMEX because the fees they charge were so large they EXCEEDED the dollar amount of charges we got from AMEX customers.

    So do not feel bad when they have a minimum purchase price. One might say well have different prices for CC users. Well thats illegal according to the terms of your merchant agreement so there not allowed to. So its screw everyone with higher prices (and go out of business if the big name shop can afford to EAT the loss till your out of business) or have a minimum purchase.

    I say good for them with the minimum purchase and screw the merchant agreement.

    Want to be a GOOD consumerist? stop using credit cards. Put the bastards out of business.

  211. coren says:

    And the difference between having a surcharge for using a card, and having that surcharge but calling your lower cash prices a “cash discount” is…?

  212. sodden says:

    Years ago, on the old manual systems, the clerk would often write down my drivers license number on the top of the form too. When I used a credit card for gas, they’d ask for my car license number.

    Was all that illegal? I think I still have some old receipts with my DL number written along the top.

  213. sodden says:

    @coren: Surcharge: you go in thinking you’re paying $4.25 per gallon, and then get hit with an extra 10 cents for the surchage because you didn’t notice the little sign on the pump that said surcharge for credit card use.

    Discount: you go in thinking you are paying $4.35 per gallon, and then find out you can save 10 cents a gallon if you pay with cash instead, when you notice a little sign that says discount for cash midway through pumping your gas.

    Same price either way, but the surcharge is infuriating because you went in not expecting to have to look for fine print that makes the big sign price a liar.

  214. sodden says:

    @Nerys: stop using credit cards? Sadly, that’s not really feasible, especially with filling up on gas costing $50-100. Some of us don’t walk around with large sums of money in our pockets, especially when increased cash usage means increased chances of muggings.

    I’m not going to try to use cash for appliances or furniture either. In fact, even repairs are better off paid with credit cards, as I have more protection with them than if I used cash or a check.

    On the other hand, I’d never use a cc for a $2.00 purchase either. But if visa were to eliminate the no-minimum agreement, what would stop merchants from requiring $50 as a minimum for credit cards.

    Merchants need to band together and force the visa to radically lower the fees involved for small purchases. If visa wants to insist people be able to pay $2.00 with a credit card, the fee to the merchant should be small enough not to hurt them on it.

  215. zeugma says:

    I was charged a .25 service charge fee today at a Texaco station for around an $8.75 in store purchase using my debit/credit card. The station charges a fee on purchases less than $10.00 We had to pay at the pump (which I can understand because of theft) but the $60.00 we spent in gas was not taken into account since it was a seperate transaction.

    I was aware the contract that merchants sign with Visa does not allow them to charge a surcharge/minimum transaction fee. I called my bank when I arrived home and they told me to call back when the charge had posted to my account and they would dispute the fee.

    …I only intended to buy two waters and picked up a couple of additional items because I am aware the merchants are charged a fee for these types of transactions. If this happens again, I will have them void charges for the items I didn’t need and only purchase what I needed and feel no guilt.

  216. mr mike says:

    Not excepting amex huh? does that mean the DO accept it?

  217. mr mike says:


    (There is something called a “convenience fee” that some institutions are allowed to charge if they do not typically accept credit cards in their normal course of business. The example VISA gives is a utility company where the customary way is to pay by mail or in person. The rules for charging this fee are somewhat complicated and there are loopholes, etc.)

  218. Rompompom says:

    Anyone trying to pass a “See ID” card in Europe is in for a shock. Here in Ireland (since March 2007) all Visa/MC transactions must be validated by pin. Anyone with Amex (or another non-pin card) must have their card signed otherwise (under Irish law) the transaction will be refused. I have refused transactions on this basis, and taken being shouted at. It’s also standard practice to ask for ID when presented with a version of a card you don’t recognise, or a Visa/MC from a non-pin issuing country. Stores take the hit for fraud, and it’s not just the customers but also the employees that suffer from the repercussions (high fraud levels = good excuse when it comes to refusing pay rises).

    From a non-US perspective, looking to charge a 50c stick of gum to a card is ridiculous (probably because the vast majority of people carry enough cash on them to cover small purchases), the only reason people ever try it over here is so they can get cash-back on their debit cards. As for cards being more convenient than cash – I can tell you from experience that around the holiday season card transactions take far longer than cash ones, so much pressure on the system that cards can take multiple tries with long waits each time to go through – excruciating for staff as well as for customers.

    Credit card payments are accepted by stores for the *customers’* convenience, in a fair-play system the customer should not seek to inconvenience the retailer by refusing to play by the rules of the credit card companies/national law or to make loss-making transactions so the customer doesn’t have to carry coins/bills. The latter is probably why Visa/MC don’t enforce the “no minimum charge” rule. Think of the income they’d lose if all small businesses started refusing to accept cards!

    Most Mom’n’Pop businesses set their minimum charge to a point where they can take the hit on processing fees – I’d rather pay that minimum (if using a card) than see a small retailer go under.

    Or maybe all these years behind a till have corrupted me?

    To address some of the more paranoid people above (worrying about retail staff using their card/check details for fraud), cashiers have access to tills full of cash all day every day – which would be a far bigger temptation to the dishonest than anything else. The hiring process is there to screen such undesirables out, and till/safe reconciliations are there to catch anyone that might slip through that net. You’re in far more danger using your card at an ATM, with the levels of card-skimming these days.

  219. MightyCow says:

    Why give small businesses a hard time over things like minimum purchases or asking for ID? You’re cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    My wife worked at a bakery which at one time accepted CCs, and required a minimum purchase, because if you buy a $1 cookie with a credit card, the bakery actually loses money on the transaction.

    Enough people complained about the minimum charge, so they stopped taking CCs all together. The bakery is still doing fine, they make great food and have really reasonable prices, but now nobody can buy anything with CCs, because a bunch of people complained.

    It certainly didn’t solve any “problem”, and the customers ended up inconveniencing themselves. Now if they want to buy a fancy cake for $60, they have to stop at the ATM or remember their check book.

  220. fkafl says:

    4) Merchants Cannot Require A Minimum Transaction Amount
    It’s a violation of the credit card company’s merchant agreement to refuse a transaction because it is below the “minumum.”

    I have a handful of local businesses to report on this one. Hopefully they get shut down or at least heavily fined. As it is they don’t get my business because I never pay with cash even if I have cash on me.

  221. ChristopherDavis says:

    @Nerys: I’d make an important distinction between requiring a minimum purchase and requesting one.

    Unless I am out of cash and fairly desperate (in which case, I will either apologize or buy more to get the amount up), I will honor a sign that says “Due to processing costs, we request a $10 minimum for card transactions.”

    In fact, in those cases I might even spend cash for something over the limit, to be nice to the folks who are politely requesting their customers’ help.

    I suspect that such a request is also fully in keeping with the Visa/MC/Amex merchant contracts.

  222. VulcanMike says:

    I disagree with all the merchant sympathy in regards to minimum charge amounts, very specifically because of the mom and pop convenience store scenario I’ve seen so often, especially in Boston and New York:

    I don’t have cash and the store has a minimum fee.

    My immediate choices:
    -Add to my purchase to reach the minimum.
    Cons: I end up buying more than I intended and therefore wasting more money, since the convenience store is already overpriced.

    -Use the store’s no-name ATM machine.
    Cons: The machine charges a $2.00 transaction fee, a portion of which goes back to the store in exchange for their hosting the machine.

    The imposition of a minimum charge immediately results in additional revenue for the store, rather than the break-even situation our more optimistic and apparently generous responders see.

    We’re talking about businesses. Businesses exist to make money. These businesses obviously take credit cards in pursuit of profit. We owe them little sympathy for violating their merchant agreements, especially when the other scenarios result not in a break-even, but in additional revenue.

  223. VulcanMike says:

    @ChristopherDavis: I do think it’s completely fair to request a minimum and even make a case for it by illustrating the loss the store would incur — but denying a charge based on the minimum is pretty shady.

  224. FairMarkets says:

    It really isn’t merchant sympathy it is consumer sympathy. When you use your credit card you cost the merchant more money and then they in turn have to raise prices for everyone.

    In situations, where you are out of cash, ask the merchant if you can use your debit card instead. There is a much lower charge for debits than credits. In fact, I use debit most of the time unless I feel I am really being fleeced by the store.

    For those, that say they do not like handling cash. There have been many studies that show that you spend less money when cash is involved rather than plastic. So cash not only helps merchants but it also helps you. For big item purchases where warranties and credit card protection applies then by all means use plastic, but day to day purchases really should be made in cash (hopefully with money that you have already budgeted for anyway).

  225. Kerkira says:


    > The “see id” people drive me up the wall.
    More incentive for us to continue doing it.

    > When is the last time you uses a credit card and it left your hand?
    Last Saturday – I was asked for ID and readily provided it. Never been asked to sign a card.

    > The only thing “see id” does is create trouble for people who work at places where they will not take a credit card that isn’t signed.
    No – see above ;-)

  226. Don’t shops have the right to refuse anyone service for whatever reason (and don’t even have to give the reason to the customer) so while they may not be able to apply a minimum charge they can just refuse to serve anyone who has a CC and a pack of gum in their hands?

  227. RunawayJim says:

    Does anyone know if municipalities are considered “merchants” under the Visa/MC rules? The city in which I live charges a processing fee for all credit card transactions on tax payments, parking tickets, etc. I have always paid by check as I refuse to give the city any more money and like to make them do the actual work of filing the check (it probably costs them more money to process the check than it does to accept credit card payments over the internet).

  228. themadhatta says:

    It should be noted that all of these agreements with credit card companies are subject to law’s that differ state to state. I live in Pennsylvania and I know from working retail for the last 8 years that any merchant in the state of Pennsylvania may refuse a transaction or sale to anyone without cause or reason. So in other words they can say if the card is unsigned or you are unable or unwilling to produce valid government issue photo identification you cannot proceed with the transaction. They do not have to give you a reason, there fore they can say that they refuse credit cards that are unsigned or that they require ID. When the transaction is challenged by authorities or credit card companies the company in question is within their full legal rights. The same with charge backs, in Pennsylvania a merchant is not required to accept any returns or charge backs unless it is a fraudulent charge to start with (not including stolen credit cards, that is handled by police and the credit card company). Now I know this is all true because we get questioned by various customers on occasion, and we have the state laws pertaining to this posted in the store. We also have copies of court cases stuffed to the side for employee reading in situations where this has become an issue. Now we have never had a major issue with any of this, but the owner of our company likes us to be educated and informed. This also, by the way, would apply towards minimum requirements for transactions. It is true that the merchant must sign a legal agreement with the credit card companies that they will not charge a minimum or require ID, but state law supersedes all private contracts of this nature.

  229. Bog says:

    I actually believe that the merchant should be allowed to charge the the percentage that MasterCard and Visa charges to the merchant.

    Then again I think that all prices should include the sales tax.

  230. Anonymous says:

    I was in line at Walmart and witnessed the following: A customer was paying with a Visa card. The clerk gave the customer a credit card receipt to sign. The customer signed the receipt in the presence of the clerk and returned it to the clerk. The clerk took the receipt and was going to compare the receipt signature to the credit card signature but the credit card had never been signed. The clerk asked the customer to sign the card. The customer signed the card in the presence of the clerk and gave the it to the clerk. The clerk held the freshly signed card and receipt side by side for about 30 seconds for signature comparison.. After scrutinizing the signatures carefully, she declared that the signatures matched and would then accept the card.

  231. cartagenero says:

    Man I’ve had a lot of stores require a minimum for a credit card purchase. If I knew I could report them I would have. Now I know better

  232. Does the ID thing also apply to bank debit cards with the Visa logo?

  233. Anonymous says:

    I have a business gold American Express card that I put company related expenses on. There is suppose to not be a spending limit, but the entire bill is due on a certain date. I find it hard to believe that American Express can actually turn your spending ability off at any time for any reason..Every month at some point, Amex decides to cut off the spending ability. Now just so you know, the bill is always paid. But this month Amex took it upon themselves to turn the spending ability off BEFORE the due date because they don’t like the fact that we have other credit cards with high balances…which I may add are always paid on time..
    I wonder if anyone out there knows if Amex can legally turn the card off before the due date..10 days before the due date? In order to use the card, I had to go ahead and pay the bill, even though I haven’t been reimbursed for my travel expenses, so the money comes out of my pocket. Soon as I paid the bill to Amex, the purchasing power was reinstated. What gives with them?

  234. Bog says:

    Currently, I am responsible for the charges on a stolen credit card that was approved at the time of the purchase. If a stolen credit card us used, there will be a charge back. Unless I personally now you, and if you don’t want to show ID then pay in cash. I will demand ID on “large” charges.

    As long as I am charged a percentage of every sale for credit card uses, I will pass that cost along in higher prices for credit card users.

    As long as I have a minimum charge transaction fee from the bank, I will require a minimum purchase or I will add that fee to the cost of the sale.

    You as a shopper are free to go elsewhere.

    The consumerist in this case is wrong. These policies are hurting all small businesses and raising costs for everyone. You can call the credit card company and complain, but so what. I post what I do in a big sign and the reason why. Everyone is given a free choice.

    I would say that most people don’t know that the banks charge a few percent “tax” against the merchant for every transaction and that most people don’t know that even if approved the merchant is on the hook for the use of a stolen credit card charge even when the sale was approved.

    Anything else is unfair and unethical.