Minimum card spend


No he is not. You can report them. Whether Mastercard or Visa do anything is another mattter.
See 5.11.3
Report violations

Perhaps if more of us complain we will get this stamped out.

(Punit Mannari) #22

The link is for usa…not uk


Indeed. But if you complete one you’ll find that there is a country field. U.K is on the list.


I wouldn’t be so sure. All of Visa’s and Mastercard’s rules apply only unless local law doesn’t say otherwise. Most European countries have laws allowing for minimum limits to accept card payments


Really? Do you have a source for that for any country but U.K in particular. That would be interesting. I don’t think such a law exists in the U.K but am ready to be corrected.


I don’t know about the UK in specific, that’s why I haven’t said it was the case in the UK. I know that here in Portugal you can set such limits, in fact I had a case myself with American Express for not accepting Amex for payments under 50€ and I won. I could search for and link you a pdf of the law but I’m not sure if it would be a good use of my time unless you understand Portuguese. It’s probably easier to search for what the law says in the UK

Edit: a quick Google search turns up this:

I’m sure with further digging you can find more about the up to £10 merchants are allowed to refuse clause


It’ll be nowhere near that high

(Jolin) #28

That is also about the US ($ 10 limit) so unfortunately doesn’t shed any light on the legal situation here. :confused:


I did specifically search for the UK, and honestly didn’t notice that it wasn’t UK related. For this one however I’m sure😉:

(Jolin) #30

Thanks, that’s pretty clear that minimum spends aren’t illegal. :+1:


Correct but the OP asked “is he allowed to do this?” and the answer is no. But unless the card issuers or the banks resolve to do something these violations will continue. They brought in contactless fo facilitate small payments yet fail to enforce their own rules to facilitate such payments.

(Jolin) #32

Everything we’ve seen so far indicates the answer is “yes”. That Telegraph article (from 2015) says that changes to acquirer charges for contactless payments will “pave the way” for the removal of minimum spends. Basically they’re saying that because contactless will cost less for shops to accept, they’ll financially be able to remove minimum spends. But nowhere does it say this is against Visa or Mastercard rules in the UK. We can’t base this on their US rules, as the merchant rules vary by country.


Where did you gather that they aren’t allowed? It certainly wasn’t from the article you linked to. That article simply states Visa and MC want to encourage merchants to accept payment of small amounts by card. Nowhere does it say they’re under any obligation to do so:

“Pubs and convenience stores especially are less likely impose a minimum spend on contactless payments is because it helps them cut queuing time and make more sales.”


Yes, sorry about that. The article if full of incaccuracies, it’s quite lazily written. I gathered from the rules issued by Mastercard and Visa. These are not USA rules, they are the rules applicable everywhere. If you read them you will find they are full of references to other countries where exceptions to the rules are required, most likely by local laws.

Thus I assume if a “minimum payments are allowed” law existed in any country Mastercard would have addressed that in their rules, just as they have the $10 minimum payment which, incidentally, is for credit cards, not debit cards.

Here’s a quote from the very first page. “3.17 Issuer Reporting
Requirement—EU, Norway, and
How can these be seen as USA rules only?

(Michael) #35

This BBC Article in 2017 says that it isn’t illegal:

What about minimum charges for using a card?

Because businesses have to pay the bank when a customer uses a card, many put a minimum charge in place. Some small shops or pubs have a £5 or £10 minimum spend before they will accept a card. This will not be illegal under the new directive, so expect it to continue. However, as consumers switch away from using cash, many retailers may not want to risk losing their business.


It’s the same article I linked to🙂


As the rules themselves say, they only apply if they’re not against local law. The exceptions Visa and MC include themselves are ones which have been requested by local authorities or where there is enforcement precedent. Doesn’t mean no more cases exist

Edit: You really need to read this article in full as its a bit misleading if you only read parts of it. Most involved parties don’t seem to very well know what they’re talking about:

In summary, it seems UK law is vague enough that Visa/MC rules against minimum spends are trumped by law while at the same time the law doesn’t give any explicit permission to do so


Where have I said it is illegal? It is not illegal, it’s against the rules that merchants agree to when they sign up to accept cards. Therefore, they are not allowed to impose a minimum payment. Many do but it is not allowed.


Interesting article but seems to have been written about 9 years ago. Surcharges are now illegal but most get around that my having an “admin” charge for all transactions including cash. JustEat being only one of the offenders. Nothing in that article to substantiate any claim that a U.K law exists that trumps the minimum spend rule. Which U.K law is vague? The author gives no credible sources. He appears to just guessing.

My local tiny cafe has no minimum spend. I asked the owner why. She replied “why would I?, I pay a 1.75% transaction charge regardless of the amount.” Got the same answer in a bus station cafe. Two honest answers.


Most transactions with my business are in the region of £10-20. Personally I don’t want it to cost me 32p to accept a £10 payment. That’s 3.2% of the turnover for that job.
That means I would work 8 days in a year just to accept payments. I’d rather have a holiday