Bank card, cash… What merchants are obliged to accept

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This is a situation that many of us have already experienced. Find yourself at the cash desk to pay and realize that the credit card is not accepted. We search our pockets in the hope of finding a few coins but there is nothing…

This experience has the gift of being particularly embarrassing, both for the seller and for the customer. But what does the law say about this? Are merchants allowed to refuse means of payment such as credit card, notes, coins or checks?

In fact, the law is very clear on this subject. With regard to the bank card, merchants are completely authorized to refuse it. Indeed, nothing obliges a seller to accept all types of payments and they can freely decide whether or not to accept the credit card.

However, the law still specifies that this is authorized subject to informing customers “beforehand and in an apparent manner”, explains the website of the Ministry of the Interior. It is specified that this information may be presented in the form of marking, labelling, display or any suitable process.

However, there is an exception for taxi drivers, who are required to accept payment by credit card, regardless of the ceiling. The exception is also valid for all professionals affiliated with an approved management center (CGA). In this case, they are obliged to inform customers.

But is the merchant entitled to impose a minimum amount to accept bank cards?

It is common to find a display in shops specifying “Bank card from €15”. Some people claim that this practice is illegal, but what is it in reality? According to the Ministry of the Economy, merchants have every right to impose conditions for credit card payments such as a minimum amount or the presentation of an identity card. However, the seller is again required to inform customers “before and in an apparent manner”.

Regarding cash, some merchants refuse to pay with many coins, are they in their right?

Is it possible to go to the supermarket with its stock of yellow coins to pay for groceries? According to article R642-3 of the penal code, any merchant who refuses a customer to pay in this way is liable to a second class fine of 150 euros.

However, this rule still has a limit since the merchant is not required to accept more than 50 coins.

As far as the trader is concerned, he has no right to refuse them as long as they are in good condition. Indeed, as the National Consumer Institute reminds us, a merchant is not obliged to accept a ticket if it is damaged.