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Credit Card Transactions

For merchants credit card transactions is often more secure than other forms of payment, such as checks, because the issuing bank commits to pay the merchant the moment the transaction is authorized, regardless of whether the consumer defaults on the credit card payment. In most cases, cards are even more secure than cash, because they discourage theft by the merchant's employees and reduce the amount of cash on the premises.

Prior to credit cards, each merchant had to evaluate each customer's credit history before extending credit. That task is now performed by the banks which assume the credit risk. Credit cards can also aid in securing a sale, especially if the customer does not have enough cash on his or her person or checking account.

For each purchase, the bank charges the merchant a commission (discount fee) for this service and there may be a certain delay before the agreed payment is received by the merchant. The commission is often a percentage of the transaction amount, plus a fixed fee. In addition, a merchant may be penalized or have their ability to receive payment using that credit card restricted if there are too many cancellations or reversals of charges as a result of disputes.

Some small merchants require credit purchases to have a minimum amount (usually between $5 and $10) to compensate for the transaction costs, though this is strictly prohibited by credit card companies and credit card companies attempt to get consumers to report such merchants.