Can Businesses Require Customers: Some businesses continue to reject card payments, establishing a minimum amount to allow their use or even not offering this possibility. But is this practice legal, or are freelancers obligated to allow any payment method?
The latest report on payment methods the Bank of Spain prepared was clear: cash continues to lead, and three out of five people use it daily. However, that does not mean that it is the favorite method of all Spaniards, since after the pandemic, many customers got used to paying for everything with their bank card, a habit that continues to climb since more than 30% of the population uses this medium daily.
Most businesses allow you to pay for the corresponding purchase using any payment method: cash, card, mobile, and even with Bizum. But others have limited these options, allowing you to pay only using cash if the amount is within a certain limit. Others, for example, allow you to always pay by card. But can businesses require a specific payment method from their customers, or is it illegal?
Businesses Do Not Have To Accept Card Payments.
Although more and more businesses admit to paying any amount by card, no matter how small, and even more so since the pandemic began and an added fear of contagion through coins and bills was generated, it is necessary to know that self-employed workers are protected by law when establishing limits with this means of payment.
As explained by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU), establishments are not obligated to accept this payment method. “With the current regulations, no business is obliged to accept card payments . Establishments can choose whether or not to have a dataphone or POS”, they highlighted. Businesses Require Customers
Accepting payments through debit or credit cards is optional since it is a right that the self-employed have in front of the business, but not a duty.
According to Royal Decree-Law 19/2018 of November 23, self-employed workers can request payment in cash up to 30 euros. If this limit is exceeded, the business would be obliged to offer the customer any other payment method, either by card, bank transfer, or mobile application service. Businesses Require Customers
However, as clarified by the OCU, this rule has some exceptions. “For example, there are regulated sectors, such as taxis in some cities, in which the same municipal ordinances require that it is mandatory to accept card payments,” regardless of the amount.
Can Businesses Require A Minimum To Pay By Card?
The self-employed must pay their bank a small commission using the Point of Sale Terminal (POS), a data phone to offer the card payment service. These are officially known as discount rates. Businesses Require Customers
These rates are sometimes different since they vary according to the activity sectors. Thus, we can find very low percentages, barely reaching 0.11% and others exceeding 0.56%.
Many small businesses continue to hang signs asking customers for a minimum amount to pay with a credit card, especially in bakeries, hairdressers, cafeterias, kiosks, and establishments where products or services have a reduced value.
As clarified by the OCU, “businesses can establish a minimum amount to pay by card,” but also, “they have freedom” to set the minimum amount to make the payment through this method. Businesses Require Customers
However, what they are obliged to do is that this is indicated in a visible place. “The establishment must visibly announce the minimum consumption to accept payment by card, and if this is not done, the user will have the right to pay by card, whatever the amount.” Businesses Require Customers
This is established by Royal Decree-Law 19/2018 of November 23, which states that the minimum purchase price “is left to the free decision of each business, as long as it does not contemplate or exceed the limit of 30 euros”, previously mentioned.
The other question around this matter is whether an establishment can charge its customers more for paying with a card, which the OCU denied. “Charging a surcharge for paying with a card has been illegal since 2014, as established by Royal Decree Law 8/2014,” they explained from the OCU.
“We denounced some companies in their day for continuing to overcharge those who used a card, and the truth is that we regularly have information that, especially in electronic commerce, in online purchases, there are companies that continue to break the norm,” they explained . from the Organization of Consumers and Users.
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