Shop Charges $.50 Fee For Credit Card Purchases Under $10

I spotted a coffee shop charging customer a $.50 for using a credit card on any purchase that is under $10. It doesn’t break any laws, but it does violate their agreement with the credit card companies.

Vendors are allowed to give customers a discount if they pay in cash, but they’re not supposed to charge an extra fee on credit card transactions.

VISA’s merchant agreement says,

You may not impose any surcharges on VISA transactions. You may, however, offer a discount for cash or another form of payment (e.g., proprietary card or gift certificate) provided that the offer is clearly disclosed to customers and the cash price is presented as a discount from the standard price charged for all other forms of payment.

Mastercard’s says,

“A Merchant must not directly or indirectly require any Cardholder to pay a surcharge or any part of any Merchant discount or any contemporaneous finance charge in connection with a Transaction. A Merchant may provide a discount to its customers for cash payments.”

If you wanted to, you can report a store to the credit card company. But since that’s an agreement between the store and the credit card company, it’s up to the issuer to do anything about it. I paid in cash.