Call Mastercard To Report A Merchant Breaking Rules, Get Your Account Frozen

Christopher meant well. He tells Consumerist that he called his credit card company to let them know about a merchant that posted a minimum charge amount to use a credit card. MBNA, in turn, decided that Christopher didn’t sound like he “was supposed to” and froze his account.

I called mastercard to report that a business was requiring a minimum purchase amount to use my card, they froze my card because I didn’t sound like I “was supposed to” and I was left without a credit card for the long weekend till I got home and called from my home number. (I was visiting friends in another city)

Depending on when this story took place, Christopher didn’t need to make that call, anyway. Mastercard now allows merchants to have a minimum purchase amount to use your credit card – up to $10.

AMEX, Visa, MasterCard All Give Thumbs Up To $10 Credit Card Minimums


Edit Your Comment

  1. AngryK9 says:

    I thought this was allowed now.

  2. GTI2.0 says:

    Nobody likes a snitch…

  3. Muddie says:

    Headline says he called Visa, article says he called Master Card. Which one was it?

    • Anonymously says:

      Does it matter? They’re both essentially sales tax collecting corporations with a purely evil agenda.

      • jaredwilliams says:

        tin foil hat is on a little tight eh?

        dude, if you hate credit cards…don’t use them. There are many ways to pay

        • Anonymously says:

          You’re not paranoid if they’re really out to get you. The credit cards fees are already built into all product costs and very few places offer cash discounts.

          • trentblase says:

            This is what I tell my parents who like to pay with cash. If you don’t use a cash-back card, you’re just giving your money to other people.

    • sonneillon says:

      He called the wrong one and that’s why his account got frozen?

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      Good question. The OP and the editor are also conflating MasterCard (the payment processor) with MBNA, a bank that issues MasterCard-branded credit cards. Since the account is MBNA’s, if it was frozen, it was the bank that was responsible, not MC.

  4. obits3 says:

    “I didn’t sound like I ‘was supposed to'”

    That’s racist!

  5. HalOfBorg says:


    “There’s a store breaking your rules. What? No, I don’t want you to authorize anything. No, I don’t want to do anything at all with my account, I just thought you’d like to know about this store.

    FROZE MY ACCOUNT? WHY? I don’t sound like I’m supposed to???”

    Makes perfect sense to me

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    “they froze my card because I didn’t sound like I “was supposed to””

    Getting to know your article, Priceless!

  7. katarzyna says:

    “I called mastercard”

    “Visa To Report A Merchant Breaking Rules, Get Your Account Frozen”


  8. bkdlays says:

    First off.. MBNA is long gone.. So we are talking about the evil empire known as Bank of America

    Second.. why give your card number to them?

    • obits3 says:

      Nice blame the OP, but you’re right. I don’t give out more info than needed for the task at hand with banks and credit cards.

    • scoosdad says:

      The OP probably couldn’t get through on the phone menu tree to talk to a real person until he entered his card number for identification. That’s typical when you call the phone number on your card unless your bank uses caller ID to detect which account you’re calling about, and even then you still have to enter something to get through (last four digits, etc.) and verify identity.

  9. hymie! says:

    You’re not supposed to contact your credit card issuing bank. You’re supposed to call MasterCard the corporation.

  10. Murbob says:

    Maybe he should have bought some cheese too. This way, not only would he be over the limit but he’d have something to go with his whine.


  11. PLATTWORX says:

    Few comments:

    1. The is no such company as MBNA. It was told in 2006 and the name has not been used in years. The OP did not call MBNA…. he called Bank of America and they answered the phone as such.

    2. The headline of this story says “Call Mastercard To Report A Merchant Breaking Rules, Get Your Account Frozen”. The OP did not call MasterCard. It says right in the opening paragraph that he called “his credit card company” which would be the issuer of the card.. nor MasterCard.

    3. You don’t report these things to card issuer, you DO report them to MasterCard or Visa directly… and can do so via their web sites of phone number.

    Gosh it sems the facts of this story were not checked before posting nor is the headline correct.

  12. crazydavythe1st says:

    “Christopher meant well.”

    No, no he didn’t. He didn’t like the store’s policy requiring a $10 purchase to use his card. Forgive me if I don’t see the altruism in yet another consumer that thinks they’re right when they’re not. Let’s not make him out to be some hero when most of this probably derives from “You won’t let me use my credit card? I’LL SHOW YOU!” more than anything. If you’re going to nitpick the rules, MAKE SURE YOU KNOW THEM.

    That said, this story doesn’t make much sense. “Doesn’t sound like he’s supposed to”? I’ll trust the op, but it’s probably a combination of factors. A phone call (where the OP was probably agitated with a voice indicating some level of stress – could be deemed suspicious), calling from a different number, attempting to use the card in a different city, etc.

    • startertan says:

      I am confused. I just reported a merchant this morning for having a fee for using credit card. On both Visa and Mastercard’s website form it asked you to check the violation. As of this morning it still had available to check “Merchant requires a minimum purchase amount in order to use credit card”.

      Is this change to allow a minimum purchase amount recent?

      • crazydavythe1st says:

        AFAIK, merchants can now set the limit up to $10. I believe it was part of the finance legislation passed sometime back.

        This (sort of) supports my theory that Visa/Mastercard never actually act on the complaints which may be why it isn’t up to date. I think it also violates their rules to set different limits for different types of cards – making it cheaper for AMEX, for example. That could possibly explain why it is still there.

      • ShruggingGalt says:

        First of all, some fees to use a card are LEGAL and allowed by interchange rules. What kind of merchant?

        And second, the OP was wrong. The merchant had every right to have a minimum fee due to the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Bill. It doesn’t matter what Mastercard’s website says, the law was changed. Their merchant agreement is invalid in regards to that.

  13. DanRydell says:

    When you asked Christopher for more details beyond the 3 lines you put in your article, what did he say?

    Or did you just post the article without any effort to figure out what happened?

    It’s a good thing we have bloggers to take the place of print journalists.

  14. mischlep says:

    Link to previous Consumerist story “now allows merchants to have a minimum purchase amount” is missing an “h” in the “http”


  15. 310Drew says:

    First off, it’s not MBNA anymore. Secondly, I worked at MBNA and if you could not verify certain security info on your account, we would freeze your account, cancel the existing cards and send new ones.

    Not to mention he said he was out of town for the weekend and would be a few days before he could call from home. From the banks perspective they have some doofus using a card outside of its normal area, and now the doofus is on the phone and probably cant or wont verify security info. serves him right.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      Not only that, judging by the submission, the OP’s communication skills are…let’s just say somewhat sub-optimal. I wonder if the thought “This store is enforcing a minimum charge amount, which I believe is disallowed according to your standard merchant agreement, and they will not let me proceed with a credit card transaction for less than that amount.” came out over the phone as “This merchant declined my credit card, I want you to fix it so I can make my purchase!”, which sounds like something a particularly tenacious thief might try.

  16. daemonaquila says:

    Not surprised. One of the main reasons to have a credit card is for travel, right? I had my card frozen because I drove to Arizona and back, and they found it suspicious that I was using it to buy gas along the way. The kicker is that they didn’t decide it was suspicious until I 60 miles from home on the return trip.

    • crazydavythe1st says:

      It’s kind of amazing and a tiny bit creepy how good credit card companies are at detecting fraud. It makes you wonder what information they keep on you. I lost a USAA credit card and despite the fact that the person illicitly using it frequented a business that I too frequent, they decided something was amiss after letting only one transaction through and froze the card. Perhaps they have some sort of hash representation of my signature on file or something – at least that’s more comforting than the alternative that they know everything about me.

  17. Lucky225 says:

    Spoofcard ftw, no need to fly home, kthx.

  18. Griking says:

    It’s called Karma