Barbados merchants who demand that consumers spend an imposed minimum amount in order to pay by debit card are being warned to stop the practice.
Caribbean Integrated Financial Services Inc (CarIFS), the technological infrastructure that facilitates payments via debit card at points-of-sale locations today said it had been receiving numerous complaints from consumers who were being denied use of such cards for transactions that fell below certain merchants’ stated minimum spend.
However, CarIFS said its regulations prohibit merchants from directly or indirectly enforcing a minimum spend requirement for point-of-sale purchases.
Tony Del Castilho, general manager of Prism Financial Processing Services Limited, CarIFS’ management company, said the CarIFS network promoted its services as a safer alternative to travelling with large amounts of cash.
“With an imposed minimum spend consumers are forced to travel with cash, which can be a riskier payment option,” he said, reiterating that consumers had the right to use their debit cards for transaction of “any value”.
He said the practice by some merchants of adding a fee or surcharge on card payments was also against regulations.
Encouraging merchants to adhere to the policy, which is intended to benefit both merchants and consumers, Del Castilho explained that a minimum spend policy could actually hurt businesses.
“It is more likely that a consumer will walk away from a purchase than be forced to spend more than they planned,” he said, while also appealing with customers who encounter such situations to report the offending merchants to the company.