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Consumerist: Ten Things You May Not Know About Credit Cards

Posted by billspaced | 6:01 AM | ,

There are a ton of things that we know about the credit card industry because we're smart Money Hackers. But there are some things we don't know, or that we knew but then forgot because they're so...well, obvious. It's ALWAYS a good idea to read each of your credit card's Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) to find out the specifics, but these 10 items are industry-wide, governed by VISA and Mastercard (and American Express and Discover, to lesser degrees).

Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Merchants do not have to accept your card if it is unsigned.

  2. Merchants cannot establish minimum purchases. Often, you'll find that the small "mom and pop" type stores place "$10 minimums" on credit purchases. They cannot do this. But we all go along with it. They also cannot charge you a fee for making a purchase below their self-imposed "minimum." However, you'll find that neither issuing banks (like Bank of America) nor VISA/Mastercard will actively enforce this rule.

    In short, you'll have to walk away. The merchant can refuse service to anyone for any reason (as long as it's not discrimination as defined by a federal or state statute or law.

I see #2 all too often. I've called issuing banks and VISA and Mastercard and none of them seem to care about their own rules. Make it a point, though, that you will not shop at places that break these rules. They're there, after all, to protect you. Plus, if you pay more just to make a purchase a credit card purchase, being money-wise kind of goes out the door, doesn't it?

10 Things You Might Not Know About Your Credit Card

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