Merchants accused of breaking credit card rules - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Merchants accused of breaking credit card rules

(NBC Newschannel) - The more you use credit, the more credit card companies love you.

Swipe one card and get cash back.

Swipe another and get airline miles.

It's usually a consumer's job to limit the use of credit cards, but some merchants try to do that for you.

If you don't spend enough in some stores, you can't use your plastic.

Can they do that?

The answer is no, at least according to the rules and regulations of major credit card companies Visa and MasterCard.

Their rules are clear: merchants cannot tell you how much to spend.

Still, some stores recently tried to tell that to a Chicago man.

Todd Bulmash bit on that minimum purchase rule, but only once.

"I got home and started stewing on it, and realized, 'Hey, I just paid more and bought something I didn't want,'" he said.

First, he got mad.

Then, he says, he started getting even.

With a letter he received directly from Visa after sounding off about this practice, Bulmash goes into stores looking for a minimum purchase limit.

"They assured me that practice is not allowed by merchants," he said.

It's not allowed in stores or on Web sites, but some impose minimum charges online.

Both Visa and MasterCard say setting a minimum transaction amount is prohibited, and it is clearly laid out in their merchant agreements.

They also don't allow added-extras, like fees tacked on for small credit purchases.

Credit purchases do have a cost to the store in annual and per-transaction fees.

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