AURORA, Colo (CBS4) – More and more businesses are setting minimum purchase limits on using a credit card to help offset the charges they face from the credit card companies.
Brandy Fogleman is a small business owner. She runs Bliss Cupcakes in the Southlands Shopping Center in Aurora.
“It’s a lot more work than we thought it would be, that’s for sure. There’s a lot of stuff that goes on in the back end that you really don’t know about until you have to deal with it,” Fogleman told CBS4.
Bliss Cupcakes has been open for two years. But after just two months in business, Fogleman realized she needed a credit card policy.
“We have a $5 minimum for a credit card purchase. We don’t have a $5 minimum purchase, it’s just for credit cards,” Fogleman said.
The $5 minimum applies to credit and debit card purchase. Folgeman did that because her credit card fees were enormous.
“It saved us $700 the first month.”
That was enough money to hire a cake decorator and start selling specialty cakes.
The minimum is not illegal. In October 2011, the Dodd-Frank Act passed allowing merchants to set minimum dollar amounts for credit card purchases. The Congressional Act sets the limit at $10.
“We get charged just to run your card. And then depending on the type of card that it is, we get charged a percentage on top of that,” Fogleman explained.
Even with the $5 minimum, her credit card fees range from $1,000 to $1,800 a month.
“We do everything based on the cash that we take in, so we really have to be very careful with watching our costs and budgeting well,” Fogleman said.
Business owners are trying to strike a balance between a tight budget and customer satisfaction. Fogleman understands that if she upsets her customers they might not come back. But she also hopes that her customers will understand she’s a small business owner who has to pay her bills, too.
Small businesses have no negotiating power with the credit card companies when it comes to fees. Major fast food restaurants and big retailers have more leverage and can afford to allow credit card transactions for smaller purchases.
– Written for the Web by CBS4 Special Projects Producer Libby Smith