Nothing wrong with minimum spend policy, says BBA

The commercial banks here have slammed the door shut on Barbadian customers hoping for some form of redress against retailers who impose a minimum spend on those wishing to pay for their purchases with debit cards.

Contrary to assurances given recently by Caribbean Integrated Financial Services Inc (CarIFS), the provider of the technological infrastructure that facilitates payments via debit card at points-of-sale locations, the bankers are making it clear that the retailers are free to set their own rules.

In fact, President of the Barbados Banking Association Donna Wellington said the financial institutions would not police the retail establishments that use their machines.

“The banking association will not be policing this matter. They [the retailers] have rented or purchased a machine from us that can be used for their own purposes to collect their own revenue.

“They can choose not to put one [card machine] in their stores. It is not a mandatory thing. There will be no situation in where the commercials banks in Barbados police retailers all across this island to see if they are putting up signs or not. That is not our affair,” Wellington told Barbados TODAY in the wake of widespread condemnation of Rubis petrol station in Kendall Hill after a customer posted a video online in which he complained of being asked to spend at least $20 if he wished to use his card for a transaction.

“I have a receipt for a Rubis car wash, so I gone into the gas station to get a wash for my mum’s car and the lady tell me that I have to spend $20 in order to use my card. Interesting enough a couple weeks ago in the newspaper they say that is not true,” Corey Worrell said in the video, which had over 20 thousand views.

It was the latest in a series of complaints by customers who said the practice was unfair.

Prism Financial Services, the parent company of CarIFS said it had been so inundated with calls that it issued a statement in April warning businesses that its regulations prohibited merchants from directly or indirectly enforcing a minimum spend requirement for point-of-sale purchases.

However, with some businesses refusing to back down, CarIFS spokeswoman Claire Odle told Barbados TODAY last month that those who defied the order would likely be fined by the banks, or have the equipment taken away altogether.

“We did have one bank ask if they should all agree to fine the merchants, but that decision has not been made. However it is up to the banks,” Odle had said.

However, in sheer contradiction to this statement, Wellington insisted it was up to the merchants to decide how the use the machines and there was nothing illegal about the minimum spend requirement.

In fact, she suggested that customers who did not like the condition set by the merchants could pay by cash or cheque.

“We sell the products [card machine], these people have chosen to purchase or rent a machine from us to collect their own revenue and can do as they see fit.

“You can walk with cash in your pocket and pay for its otherwise. If you choose to use the card then there are terms that the persons have decided for using the cards,” she said.

24 Responses to Nothing wrong with minimum spend policy, says BBA

  1. Nico HL Beckles
    Nico HL Beckles June 7, 2017 at 12:00 am

    this woman…every time she talks she just shows how much scum the banking association truly is. I have a solution though, if the heifers want to have a minimum spend on their cards then just stop going in their businesses and spending your money cash, cheque or otherwise

    • Colin Daniel June 7, 2017 at 6:24 am

      I stop shopping with merchants who have minimum spending requirements long time ago. For safety reasons I carry very little cash. The same way you can complete $100 sale with me one day you can do a $10 sale the next day. It is about repeat business and not the one off transaction. The other one was not accepting BARP or other discounts if you use your credit card. Either you want my business or you don’t.

  2. Farjana Mohamed
    Farjana Mohamed June 7, 2017 at 3:47 am

    Thank you.after paying them rent for the machines and a percentage of the sales I really wanted to know what rubbish carIFS was talking.its up to the merchant to carry the machines,not up to carifs.simple if you don’t like it walk with cash.and persons using cards always have the lines hold up because half of them don’t remember which account the money is coming from or the PIN number.

    • Linda Freeman
      Linda Freeman June 7, 2017 at 6:07 am

      Now i see i won’t be visiting your store anytime soon….the customer holds up a line they are transacting business…and these things happen….sometimes you have so many pin numbers and passwords to remember its only logical at times you would forget….i am a paying customer so you also mean me, sorry this is one customer will not be paying you a visit.

    • Farjana Mohamed
      Farjana Mohamed June 7, 2017 at 6:23 am

      That’s ok.but they are thousand others who randomly speaking it happens all the time.its ur duty to remember the PIN number not anyone else’s.and I am sure it annoys others also when customers put in the wrong PIN number.oh well this is like the first day the carIFS issue was brought up,everyone started to post the telephone numbers to call,now the bank says they won’t be doing anything about it what will the customers do?so to all who say they will leave the items at the cashier and walk out,whose time are you wasting?because most likely a lot of other biz are going to do the same

      • Carson C Cadogan June 7, 2017 at 8:53 am

        that’s how you all look at it? “if you don’t spend with me, thousands others will”

        I wont be spending a cent with any merchant who impose minimum spend.

        I wont be paying by card, cash or cheque.

  3. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner June 7, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Listen Bajans pay by cash looks like only option ya all because no one else gives a s- -t about ya all..The banks in Barbados just money sucking garbage but that’s what ya get for selling off BNB.

  4. Sheron Inniss June 7, 2017 at 6:34 am

    I do business with merchants who treat me the way I would like to be treated. I don’t own a debit card so I am not affected one way or the other.

  5. harry turnover June 7, 2017 at 7:21 am

    Bajans meking noise about a minimum spend using a card ??? and want the Banks to do something about it too ?????
    Common sense should tell tell ANYBODY that IF $20 is the MINIMUM spend ..WALK WITH AT LEAST $20 BEFORE you go shopping .

  6. Peter Blackman June 7, 2017 at 7:42 am

    The whole minimum spend issue is due to the ludicrous and antiquated transaction fees imposed by banks for automated (electronic) services.
    I have to agree with Colin Daniel and say that merchants with minimum spending requirements will not get my business!
    It is also a good time to address the exorbitant telecommunications fees in Barbados!
    Take a look at the rest of the world and demand better!

  7. harry turnover June 7, 2017 at 8:04 am

    HIGH CLASS NONSENSE wunna Bajans getting on wid doah. The MINIMUM spend is NOT $100 and if ya got a debit card that means ya got money IN THE BANK and furthermore not all Businesses use those machines,that would mean you would have to have cash at ALL TIMES if wunna gine shopping.
    WEll said Donna dem people want noticing. It is BETTER to walk with CASH than to walk with a debit or credit card …mechanics don’t walk around with those machines,neither do wreckers most car part dealers and taxis to name some along with some doctors,dentists and Lawyers to name some in CASES OF EMERGENCIES.

    • Carson C Cadogan June 7, 2017 at 8:54 am

      One of these days I hope you will write something that makes sense.

      • harry turnover June 7, 2017 at 8:18 pm

        Aha CCC…hope one of these days you would recognize sense like de woman whose car won’t move an inch opposite me and when passing motorists inquired what was the problem said ” my car run out of gas and all I got is credit cards”…you en happen to be that woman by the way ?

      • harry turnover June 7, 2017 at 8:59 pm .saying that the DLP will get a third term next year or that your name should be forwarded to the relevant authorities to be considered for a Noble Prize for your sterling contributions to the art of YARDFOWLISM.
        CCC dat makes sense or wha ?

    • Ras June 7, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Dirty Harry at it again poor fellow educated no common sense

      • Milli Watt June 7, 2017 at 2:49 pm

        harry got a point use cash, don’t go to the minimum spend places or don’t purchase which may be extreme but given what goin happen next month now is a good time to practice

      • harry turnover June 7, 2017 at 8:49 pm

        Ras claut how you know I educated doah? can’t say the same for you … man I is just a poor,peaceful and polite man with only an iota of common sense just to enable me to know that I must comb my hair every day.
        BTW how come ya leff out HOLE from ya name ? .. if YOU had any sense you would have commented on the topic You en got nutten to say then maybe you should read baa baa black sheep have you any soul and get back to me.

  8. Ric June 7, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Banks cannot, and should not, do anything about this, why the outcry. I just do not shop at establishments that impose the minimum requirement and put them in the class of businesses that always want to take take take and never want to give even a little.

  9. Philip Archer June 7, 2017 at 11:12 am

    I will not be fleeced. Any business imposing a minimum spend on any card transaction will lose my business. Point blank, no questions asked.

  10. Milli Watt June 7, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    you could imagine this woman and dat crowd stop all transactions for land to mek noise bout the state colllecting income taxes but would now say this ain’t their business because I am not one of the 500 multi millionaires on the island who grumbling bout taxes and trading 211 million worth. A banking system supporting a disgusting class system.

  11. Bob Turnbull June 7, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    try looking at it from the merchants position. The majority of merchants charging min spend are small, with small margins. They have to pay a transaction fee for each transaction to the banks and prism, so in many cases it is just not profitable foe them doing card business under a certain amount

    • Owlie June 7, 2017 at 6:30 pm

      Bob, the merchants do not pay any fees to Prism.

  12. Junior June 7, 2017 at 5:17 pm

    The thing is the banks charge a fixed percentage per transaction. Therefore whether 10.00 or 100.00 the transaction fee is the same percentage of the transaction. Ten $10.00 transactions and one $100.00 transaction carry the same cost to the business, minus the negligible cost from the POS paper. Common sense tells me to make it as easy and convenient for your customer to spend.

  13. Jack June 7, 2017 at 7:14 pm

    Barbados is just backward. Anywhere in the world you go you can swipe or pin and move on. I live on an island where everything can be done by card in no time flat. Fill up my bike or car myself too by swiping my card and running my gas. From the supermarket, restaurant for take out doesn’t matter you use your card. When I come home I walk with my cards and hardly any cash so if I end up in that situation eventually I will know quite a few places not to do business. It is greed pure and simple, what they pay in fees does not work out to enough of a profit but they prefer not to take anything than lose their profit margin on a sale.

    If enough people stop doing business with them because of it that would change quick.


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