Consumers in the state of Georgia are calling for an end to the minimum amounts many merchants and businesses require before accepting credit card payments. Cardholders say that the practice of imposing a certain minimum amount to be able to use credit cards is unfair and unjust. Many argue that the policy is unwarranted and that it actually favors the merchants.
Major card companies have reiterated that businesses are not required to impose minimum amounts in order for their customers' credit cards to be processed. Representatives from the largest card firms in the U.S. point out that the practice is not condoned by the credit industry and that many firms do not support the policy.
According to Shawn Conroy, a spokesman from the state governor's Office for Consumer Affairs, the debate over these minimum amounts is part of a bigger rift between business owners and card companies. Credit experts explain that the credit card companies in return for using their electronic payment systems, often charge merchants interchange fees. The presence of these fees has sparked a national debate between small retailers and the credit card companies, with business owners arguing that they should not shoulder the costs.
Card firms, on the other hand, say that merchants are just trying to make the most out of the issue to avoid paying the necessary fees. Representatives from the credit card industry point out that these businesses would often resort to slapping additional fees on credit card transactions or impose minimum amounts. The latter has been the case in many towns in the state of Georgia.
Residents and cardholders say that the practice is actually forcing many consumers to buy more than they need because of the minimum amounts. They argue that instead of purchasing only what they need, customers often have to add additional items or leave without buying anything. The same predicament also hounds bar-going patrons who use credit cards to pay for drinks. Some concerned experts say that this can lead to potential accidents because customers often need to buy more drinks to reach the minimum amounts required by the bars.
In some shops, business owners place minimal surcharges if transactions fall below a certain amount. Many merchants argue that the card companies charge them every time they process credit card payments that fall below $10. They add that they often have to pass on the fees to customers instead of losing money.