Minimum Spend on Debit Cards – is it allowed?

It isn’t as common as it used to be – but there are still several few retailers in Ireland who apply a minimum spend if you want to pay by card. We have heard of a €5 or even €10 minimum spend requirement is some shops. It is usually smaller retailers that apply this restriction.  This can be annoying – especially since the banks and the government are encouraging us to use contactless cards more and use less cash.

Because of new EU regulations – it has been against the rules for anyone to apply a surcharge to card payments since January 2018. But there is no legislation about applying a minimum spend on debit or credit cards.

The main reason that retailers want customers to spend a minimum amount on a card is because of the charges they have to pay to card providers and payment processing companies.  The processing charges can be as much as 50c with some payment providers  – so you can see why retailers don’t want to accept very small payments by card.

Mastercard and Visa – the two main card types used in Ireland – have sets of rules for retailers who accept their cards.  Both of their rules state that setting a minimum transaction amount is not allowed in the EU.

Mastercard have an online form you can use to report a retailer who is breaking that rule – Here

The reality is that most people will just accept it, use cash  – or shop somewhere else.