MoneyLife

Why Do Stores Have A Credit Card Minimum?

By Jacinta Sherris
credit card minimum

If you’re like most shoppers, you’ve probably come across a credit card minimum on more than one occasion. A credit card minimum, or minimum purchase amount, allows businesses to offset the fees that they have to pay to credit card companies in order to accept credit cards as a form of payment and process the transaction.

Today, we’re going to take a look at everything you need to know about credit card minimums and minimum purchase requirements. We’ll also show you how to work around them. 

What is a credit card minimum?

A credit card minimum is a minimum purchase requirement that businesses impose in order to offset the credit card company’s fee for processing a transaction. This is otherwise known as an interchange fee.

If you’re trying to make a purchase for a small amount of money, the credit card fees a business would have to pay to process that transaction may put that business at a loss. As a result, many companies will impose a credit card minimum.

How much are credit card processing fees?

Credit card processing fees can range anywhere from 1% to 3% of the transaction price. In some cases, there may also be a minimum interchange fee. For example, the fee might come out to the greater amount of 2.5% of the transaction, which might even be only 50 cents. 

Is there a credit card minimum law?

Federal law allows businesses to set a credit card minimum up to $10. This fee is permitted as long as the fee is applied to all credit cards that are accepted as a form of payment by the merchant. 

Why do stores charge a credit card minimum?

There are several reasons why stores may charge a credit card minimum. Let’s take a look at some of these reasons. 

Processing fees

Stores and businesses have to pay a fee every time a credit card transaction is processed. Imposing credit card minimums is a way for businesses to ensure that credit card processing fees won’t eat into their profits.

Fees for small retailers 

Some businesses, like smaller businesses or mom-and-pop shops, simply don’t have the profit margins or corporate backing to offset credit card fees. 

Protect against unauthorized purchases

Federal law prohibits consumers from being liable for more than $50 worth of fraudulent charges. However, some business owners may still find themselves in situations where they have to pay a small amount to cover unauthorized purchases. Credit card minimums can help mitigate this issue. 

Inflated credit card fees

Most credit card companies charge anywhere from 1% to 3% of the transaction price. This may not seem like a substantial amount of money, but it can add up over time and eat into a business’s bottom line. 

What if the minimum is more than you want to spend?

Sometimes, the credit card minimum will be more than you were planning to spend. If this is the case, you’ll have to work with alternatives to paying with a credit card or ask about a possible surcharge option. 

One solution is to use your RoarMoney virtual Debit Mastercard. Debit cards don’t impose credit card processing fees, which means merchants are more willing to accept them as payment without credit card minimums. Plus, you can use Instacash to access instant cash deposits into your RoarMoney account at 0% APR. 

Minimum vs surcharge

Some stores offer a surcharge alternative. This allows customers to opt into paying the credit card processing fee if they choose to pay with a credit card, which will effectively take the burden off of the business. However, this practice isn’t always legal in every state. 

Alternatives to paying with a credit card

The best way to avoid credit card minimums is to not use a credit card at all. Here are some common alternatives to paying with a credit card when you make purchases. 

Cash advance from Instacash 

If you don’t have the funds to pay for something, consider opting for Instacash instead of using a credit card with high-interest rates. Instacash is MoneyLion’s 0% APR cash advance that can give you access to up to $1000 in instant deposits when you set up a direct deposit into your RoarMoney account.

MoneyLion’s buy-now-pay-later tool

MoneyLion is ramping up its buy-now-pay-later program to bring you access to a safe, affordable, and flexible payment plan. Use it to break up your large purchases into more manageable payments without having to rely on an expensive credit card. Learn more here

Pay in cash or don’t buy at all

Credit cards make it easy to spend more money than you should, and sometimes, this means you’re spending money that you don’t have, too. Credit card companies are notorious for charging high interest rates on top of your balance, so the amount of money you end up owing just keeps increasing. You can avoid those high fees altogether by paying in cash. 

Debit card

Debit cards are the next best thing to paying in cash. Some would even argue that they’re better! Debit cards don’t come with credit card processing fees, so most merchants will accept them as a form of payment. Plus, RoarMoney’s virtual debit card will grant you cashback offers on everyday purchases. That way, you can spend some and earn some! 

Early payday

If you’re struggling to make payments because you’re waiting on your paycheck to come through, consider opting for a bank account that offers early paycheck deposits. With a MoneyLion RoarMoney account, you can get access to your funds up to two days early when you set up direct deposits. Learn more here

Don’t spend more than you have 

Credit cards make it easy to spend more money than you have. Plus, high-interest rates can end up costing you more money in the long run, push you into debt, and damage your credit. 

It’s safer to only spend what you can afford. If you do use a credit card, make sure you pay off your balance by the end of each payment cycle. Another solution is to opt for a debit card, which is a sound way to ensure that you’re never spending more than you’re bringing in every month. Plus, with RoarMoney’s virtual card or Mastercard, you’ll be able to unlock a myriad of benefits, including instant 0% APR cash deposits and cashback deals on everyday purchases. Learn more here.

FAQs

Are credit card minimums illegal?

No. Federal law allows merchants to impose credit card minimums up to $10.

Can shops enforce a minimum card spending rate?

Yes, shops can enforce a minimum. If you’d prefer not to pay the credit card minimum, consider using a debit card from MoneyLion instead.

Can a store charge a fee for using a debit card?

No. Debit cards don’t come with processing fees. Therefore, stores cannot charge any minimums or a fee if you use a debit card.

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