A netizen Fdaus Ali posted on Facebook saying that his local store Nirwana and Alfa Indah in Kuantan set a minimum purchase in order for consumers to use their card.
It’s a familiar situation for most Malaysian. Cashier won’t swipe your card for purchases under a certain amount. From restaurants to convenience stores, we’ve seen merchants setting minimum charges ranging from RM10 to RM50 for card payments.
Have you ever wondered if it is permissible for merchants to set a minimum charge for card payments?
According to Bank Negara Malaysia, merchants are prohibited from imposing a minimum purchase amount for goods bought using payment cards.
The Malaysian central bank added that this restriction is actually stipulated in the scheme rules issued by payment card schemes such as Mastercard and Visa.
Under Section 18.104.22.168, ‘Visa Core Rules and Visa Product and Service Rules’ states that “a Merchant must not establish a minimum or maximum Transaction amount as a condition for honoring a Visa Card or Visa Electron Card.”
As for Mastercard, the restriction could be found in its ‘Mastercard Rules’ document.
Section 5.11.3 under Chapter 5 points out that “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.”
Those are pretty clear-cut instructions from BNM, Visa, and Mastercard.
But why do some merchants still insist on setting a minimum charge?
Merchants have to pay fees every time a card transaction occurs. Interchange fees for credit and debit cards are different in Malaysia. At a minimum, merchants would have to pay an interchange fee of 0.21% for each debit card transaction.
The total amount assessed may be higher and some merchants hate having to pay additional fees for an RM5 item.
What can you do as a paying consumer?
BNM recommends consumers to report such merchants with relevant details to them. However, it is not clear what sort of action or steps BNM would take to regulate this.
You can contact BNM at 1-300-88-5465 or visit their website for more details.
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