Paying by Card: Minimum amounts?

I’m glad to see the charges explained…
I’ve often thought it ridiculous when folk flash their card for a few euros… and now I understand why the Retailer looks pained…

the very same ones who complain that the merchant has increased their prices, no doubt :wink:

What is very peculiar in this article is that nowhere does it say that while it may be legal it is generally expressly against both Mastercard and VISA’s merchant terms so by doing so any merchant is actually breaking their contract and both do very regularly remove service to businesses that don’t rectify their actions. I will admit I’ve never gone through the french T&Cs line byline because, well, my life hasn’t become quite that pathetic yet, but I doubt very much they would be different than any other country, and in all other countries where it may be legal it is still expressly forbidden for the merchant to do so. So yes, it may be legal to do so, but the retailer is risking not being able to take card payments in the future. People do complain and retailers do get blacklisted so it happens.

(English versions chosen just because I know them and can find the relevant bits)

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

A Merchant must not establish a minimum or maximum Transaction amount as a condition for honoring a Visa Card or Visa Electron Card.

I be interested in what @an_droo thinks about this (as SF’s resident retailer)

Our boulangerie has just started taking cards with a minimum of €6.
Fair enough I say, I use cards whenever I can because I hate cash and cheques, no matter how little the amount.
The boulangerie is the only one in the village now, apart from the supermarket where the quality is less good, so I do not feel embarrassed as I know they have the option to not offer the facilty, they have no effective opposition.

@kirsteastevenson of course the card companies will impose these conditions on their merchants - as to whether the contract conditions are fair and reasonable is perhaps yet to be tested.
In France, I guess people will just add to the general chagrin of the queue behind them by getting their chequebook out :wink:
The customer is always right!

Aren’t these limits related to the merchant’s contract with whomever provides their electronic point of sale equipment?

A lot of small businesses out in rural South 47 appear to use EPOS terminals that use a cellular data connection.

Our commune will have to up the prices next Summer, if folk insist on using their Card to purchase their food etc during our CdFetes Soirées…
Couldn’t believe it, when folk came for a Village evening-out… without any cash/cheque.
Stuff on my stall started at 1,50€.
I would cheerfully have throttled the fellow or sent him packing, but my co-volunteer took pity on him and let him use his card for the 1,50€ purchase. He then went off to other stalls and came back “with a note saying how much he owed 'em”… and he used his card again… all of 4,50€.

This year was a “trial run” offering to take Cards… and in view of the plonkers, I’m pushing to get prices raised overall… or to put a decent minimum starting figure…
and, of course, there is always the Cash/Cheques only… that might be the way to go.

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Might be sensible to start having pre-paid cards that can be accepted everywhere, like on public transport, taxis, coffee shops, libraries and all.

This could be set up without charge to the vendors and no delay for their receiving payment. The impetus would be to encourage buyers. The user would also be able to check their expenditure just like looking in a purse.

I’m afraid that I do not know who should be paying for the initial creation but maybe a tech company?

Oh dear! Have I just suggested the ApplePay idea?

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that’s the nub… for too many folk there is NO sense (or very little)…
I wouldn’t dream of going to a casual village affair without some money in my pocket…
wandering around the stalls, buying oddments for a good cause etc etc… and expecting to flash one’s card… huh!! :wink: :roll_eyes:
My wrath (all done in friendly fashion of course) had those queuing behind, scrabbling to make sure they had some cash… :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

You seem to imply that you had no idea that retailers were charged various fees by the card operators. Whoever ran your fête’s ‘trial run’ must have organised the provision of card terminal(s) and was aware of the terms that applied?

I haven’t used cash for purchases in the UK for some years although it’s rare they are as low as £1.50 and cheques have all but disappeared. In France I also use my fee free UK cards extensively to avoid the high charges now imposed by French banks to obtain euros from an ATM - €9 in one case recently! Any retailer that wants to impose a minimum spend risks losing sales and increasing prices to compensate can also have the same effect.

I think it’s just a matter of habit. In HK we had something called an ‘Octopus’ card into which you put money or linked to an account and with which you could pay just about anything anywhere, including photocopies at the library.

The upside is that less cash floating around means less ‘black’ economy games.

The downside may be concern about who is tracking what we spend and where. Again, one day the fisc may join up the dots and the 21st century.



I knew fees were charged but have not seen them clearly listed before.

A decision was made to set up a “special” link which would allow holiday makers to pay for their families meals at our soirées…
Locals know to bring cash… and/or chequebook

Sadly, we did not display a “minimum” figure… and we will have lost money as a result!
You get a family of 5, sitting down to eat… it’s a reasonable sum and the “card cost” can be absorbed.
Someone wanting to pay for a 1,50€ item… by card… is taking the michael just a little… :wink: :roll_eyes:

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It depends a lot on the specific circumstances.

We paid 50p by card last night as the tyre pressure warning light came on and we needed to top them up - I suspect Tesco can only make that work because they act as payment processor (and in some cases card issuer) .

Shops and businesses are completely different from a/our small village association… we’re volunteers who put on activities to raise funds for charity…

Sadly, our prices will increase… so that everyone will pay more to cover the few who wish to pay by card.

nuff said.

I guess you could always appeal to the charitable nature of the card processor to waive the fee…
no, thought not :roll_eyes:

To be fair I used Lloyds Bank for a charity project a few years back, in the uk obviously, and they did us an incredible deal if we used their owned provider to do our payments, I forget what they were called, Cardnet is in my mind but perhaps that’s something else, so they are willing to do things for NFP, perhaps not waive entirely unless you’re huge like CIN or Comic Relief and they can use it as an in-kind donation for PR purposes, but it was certainly very cheap compared to the regular charges we had elsewhere. Again though this is UK based, I don’t know anything about the French system.

After a very quick look… I don’t really give a monkeys what visa or mastercard want in the Uk or US. Here in France it’s up to each retailer how they operate. We can refuse payment by cheque or credit card but only refuse payment en espèce if we think the money is false or there is a problem. I used to have a minimum amount for CB like many because there is often a fixed charge for card payment. Once I renegotiated and got that removed I removed the minimum payment and will take card payment for pretty much any amount although in an industry where our margins are tiny there are still plenty of people who have kept the minimum amount. Many people who aren’t local ask if I have a minimum for CB and are surprised when I say no.
As an aside, my bank, visa and mastercard earn good money out of my transactions, minimum amount or not. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it :wink:


I get people wanting to pay for a 55 cts cigarillo with a CB… that’s where I draw the line as our com is just 8% on tobacco products… 4cts BRUTT :man_facepalming:

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Flash their card?! Leading language ! Like it or not payments by card are the future.

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