Under current credit card merchant agreements, retailers risk a fine for requiring a minimum purchase from customers who wish to pay with plastic. As more consumers choose to carry less cash, interchange fees of up to 4% and processing fees of 50 cents or more per transaction can put a squeeze on smaller retailers. Some convenience store owners lobbied lawmakers for help, citing the example of a candy bar or a bottle of soda purchased with a credit card that can cause them to lose money.
Vermont's bill would fine credit card processors $10,000 for each violation. Credit card industry officials expressed concern that the new rules would limit customer choice, forcing some consumers to purchase more to meet transaction minimums or to pay ATM fees when withdrawing cash at merchant locations. Credit card companies encourage customers to report merchants who refuse to accept plastic for small purchases.
About the Author
Joe Taylor Jr. is an internal business consultant for a Fortune 500 company, who writes about finance, culture, and design. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Ithaca College.