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Old 01-08-2018, 08:38 AM
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Yesterday, I processed a 7-cent debit card transaction at Old Navy


It was an exchange which somehow went 7-cents against me. There was a line, didn't want to run out to the car for 7 cents which may or may not be in the cup holder (and it wasn't), so I whipped out my card and ran what is easily the smallest debit card transaction at a store in my life.

How about y'all? What is the smallest in-person card transaction you've run?
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Old 01-08-2018, 08:40 AM
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The other thing I wonder... did Old Navy actually lose money on that transaction?
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Old 01-08-2018, 09:26 AM
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Once, I went to pick some prescription medicine. I expected it to be around $15, but through some quirk in my insurance, it was about 30 cents. I didn't have any change, so I apologized and paid with a credit card. The pharmacy assistant shrugged and gave me the receipt.
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Old 01-08-2018, 10:05 AM
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I couldn't tell you the exact amount now, but it was less than a dollar, probably right around 75. Was at the convenience store on my way to work to grab a cup of coffee, thought I had a couple of singles in my wallet, but turns out they were a couple of 100s.
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Old 01-08-2018, 10:17 AM
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Back about 8 years ago when my business still accepted checks, I had a guy use his credit card for a $98.00 purchase. After the sale was complete, he realized he wanted a different model, which it turned out was priced 60 cents more. If I were doing the transaction I would have told him not to worry about the money, but my employee wanted the sixty cents.

Instead of using his card for the sixty cents, or voiding the previous sale and starting over, he said he'd pay cash. He ran out to his car but couldfn't scrape together the change, so he wrote a check.

Turns out the check was accidentally written on a closed account, so it came back NSF. I had a $30 charge for NSF checks. He never paid. The account was sent to collection, and a few years later he paid my collection agency $30.60 (I got 0% due to the age of the debt) as it was causing problems with him getting a mortgage.
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Old 01-08-2018, 10:45 AM
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A few years ago I was counting the money from the previous day's sales and ran across a check for something less than 50. I just threw out the check. Partially because my bank charges me a fee for each check I deposit and partially because of the reason kayaker mentioned. If the check came back, the NSF charge on it and and having the person come back to bring me a few cents, in cash, would have been silly.
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Old 01-08-2018, 11:54 AM
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20p, for a single serve pack of marmite. It was while I was working at a chain coffee shop, on my lunch break. Fancied some toast, and the supervisor said I could have the ends off a loaf we'd just finished, and butter, but any spreads had to go through the till for stock control. I got a 50% employee discount.

My Dad once wrote and posted a check for 0.00, after the electricity company sent an invoice for 0.00. He'd ignored it (as you would), until he got a nasty letter saying the electricity would be cut off if it wasn't paid.
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Old 01-08-2018, 12:09 PM
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Years ago, I got a bill for 4 cents from the 407 ETR - a toll highway in Ontario. I ignored it, and they mailed another invoice. I probably should have called and asked them to just cancel it, but it was less hassle just to pay it through an ATM.
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Old 01-08-2018, 12:34 PM
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thought I had a couple of singles in my wallet, but turns out they were a couple of 100s.
If I had a five dollar bill for every time that happened to me!
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Old 01-08-2018, 02:26 PM
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Turns out the check was accidentally written on a closed account, so it came back NSF. I had a $30 charge for NSF checks. He never paid. The account was sent to collection, and a few years later he paid my collection agency $30.60 (I got 0% due to the age of the debt) as it was causing problems with him getting a mortgage.
What's the value of a collection agency that gives you 0%? Revenge?

Only vaguely related: I was at a restaurant once and heard another customer ask the waiter how much the charge for a bounced check was. Nearly fell out of my chair laughing.
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Old 01-08-2018, 02:38 PM
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The other thing I wonder... did Old Navy actually lose money on that transaction?
Almost certainly. The debit and credit card processing fees usually start at about 20 to 30 cents plus a percentage, no matter the amount. That's why I don't blame businesses who impose a $10 (or similar) minimum on card usage. I am cognizant of the issue, and don't charge anything under $10 even at places that allow it.
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Old 01-08-2018, 03:42 PM
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I once made a purchase at a grocery store for something like $20.10. I had a stack of coupons from various promotions at the store and handed them to the cashier. As she was ringing up the coupons, I stuck my credit card in the reader. I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have, but the total after coupons came to $0.10. I just routinely pressed the "OK" button and didn't realize until after I was done that I had just charged 10 cents. And, yes, it did appear on my bill.

This wasn't an in-person purchase, but just last month I made a $6.99 purchase from Amazon. I had a $6.95 gift card balance already in my account. Amazon said it would charge 4 cents to my credit card. I checked my credit card account and it didn't show an authorization for the amount, even after the item shipped. I thought Amazon was going to do the sensible thing and just forget about it. But a week later a final charge for 4 cents appeared. So Amazon must have some special procedure where they don't get approvals for tiny charges, but put them through anyway.
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Old 01-08-2018, 04:13 PM
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The common thread in many of the above penny-ante transactions is that the transactions are entirely automated, never seen nor touched by a sentient human. There may not even be any sentient humans on the staff to deal with it that alone would probably cost more than it's worth.

What they really need is to program their automated transactions to flag any questionable ones for further review by sentient humans (again, if there are any). Of course, it would take an even higher level of sentience for some business-rules-makers to decide what the criteria should be for that. Absurdly small transactions (especially those stupid $0.00 bills with their follow-up nastygrams) should certainly be flagged.

My almost-on-topic anecdote:

My propane company once underbilled me by the bank-busting sum of $0.25 one of the many taxes they forgot to include. Instead of just rolling that into my next monthly bill (which I imagine any sentient human would do), they sent me a separate bill, by U. S. Mail, for $0.25 at the cost of a first-class postage stamp (about 40 at the time IIRC) plus whatever the envelope might cost plus the cost of the return envelope.

Of course, I didn't pay by U. S. Mail. I stopped by their office at a convenient time for me to pay in person. This was a small two- or three-person office, not at all automated except for maybe the desktop computer that prints the invoices and runs the bookkeeping app, stuff like that.

I called this anomaly to the attention of the desk clerk. It went totally over her head. She had no clue what my point was. I had the entire amount in my hand, in hard metal cash, ready to pay on the spot, but she bent over backward to assure me that it could wait until my next monthly bill if I wanted.

They needed a sentient human.
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Old 01-08-2018, 04:40 PM
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Absurdly small transactions (especially those stupid $0.00 bills with their follow-up nastygrams) should certainly be flagged.
$0.00 bills should certainly be flagged -- it indicates poor control, which is where staff theft starts.

Particularly because $ 0.00 amounts are easily converted to $90.00 amounts with a little careful editing.
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Old 01-08-2018, 06:32 PM
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Tangentially related, but years ago I bought some beer in a border town, and tried to pay cash with the exact amount, something like $19.75. One the quarters I had was Canadian, which we typically accept on par. The clerk/owner told me she wouldn't take Canadian change, so I ended up paying with a credit card instead.

Now at the time, the Canadian dollar was trading about 5 higher than the USD, although normally it was trading lower. The credit card processor fee plus the commision was a hell of lot higher than any forex difference in a single quarter. That stupid bitch didn't want to accept a Canadian quarter in a town where they're par, and ended up shafting herself.
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Old 01-08-2018, 10:12 PM
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Walmart sent me a check for a 1 cent overpayment on my credit card. I still have it as a conversation piece.
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Old 01-09-2018, 06:21 AM
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What's the value of a collection agency that gives you 0%? Revenge?
The percentage the collection agency keeps increases with the age of the debt, since older debts are more difficult to collect. Normally, I'd send an account to collection the minute it occurred (my business does no billing, I want my $$ when services are rendered).

This guy owed me sixty cents, plus the $30 NSF fee. He chose to ignore my requests for payment, so I eventually sent the account to collection, which he continued to ignore. When he finally paid, it was an ancient debt and my percentage was zero.

It's actually not that uncommon. I send an account to collection when it is fresh, and would get 80% if it was paid. Then the debtor ignores attempts at collection for years. If the debtor pays eventually I get notification of the payment, but the agency keeps 100% due to the debts age.
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Old 01-09-2018, 07:10 AM
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I have some sub $1 transactions. Many are bank verification ones where they will take out 2 small transaction that add up to a dollar and then put in a dollar, where you have to let them know the amounts that add up to a dollar.

Sometimes with a register error (ringing up the incorrect price or perhaps a subsiitutuin), that a low amount is charged or credited.
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Old 01-09-2018, 08:34 AM
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Store cashier here. The lowest amount I've put on a card was 19 cents.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:06 AM
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If I had a five dollar bill for every time that happened to me!
If only I could say that happened more often, alas, it was only the one time.
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Old 01-09-2018, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Alley Dweller View Post
This wasn't an in-person purchase, but just last month I made a $6.99 purchase from Amazon. I had a $6.95 gift card balance already in my account. Amazon said it would charge 4 cents to my credit card. I checked my credit card account and it didn't show an authorization for the amount, even after the item shipped. I thought Amazon was going to do the sensible thing and just forget about it. But a week later a final charge for 4 cents appeared. So Amazon must have some special procedure where they don't get approvals for tiny charges, but put them through anyway.
Amazon most likely does small amount transactions in aggregate, at a later date, which saves them a bunch of money in fees. I remember when iTunes started up and Apple was charging 99 cents per song and there was a great hullabaloo about how would Apple collect all those 99 cent charges and still be able to pay the processing fees?? They decided to aggregate the charges to save on fees. If you just buy one song from iTunes you'll get a receipt a few days later. Same with Amazon Music now too (unless you buy several songs, which they end up grouping and charging together but not always all songs on one receipt).

Here's an article.
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Old 01-09-2018, 11:11 AM
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Many years ago after paying off my student loan from a bank in another town I got a bill from them stating that I owed 4 cents on the loan.

Even though this was eons ago the first class postage to notify me cost more than the charge (30 cents I think).

I put a nickel in the return envelope and requested that they send me the change. They did.
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Old 01-12-2018, 05:35 AM
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In a similar theme, I bought a new iPhone last fall and wanted to pay outright rather than financing it over two years. They said it was $100 more if I didn't finance it, but if I wanted I could finance a part of it. I asked if I could finance one dollar and pay the rest (nearly $900) outright, and they said yes. So sure enough I started getting monthly loan repayment charges of $0.08 on my bill. Then I went online and did a premature payoff on the entire loan.
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Old 01-15-2018, 08:40 AM
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I just bought something on ebay, including free shipping from China, for 1.


The dumb sucker who outbid me on the last one paid 7x what I did. Ha-ha!
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Old 01-15-2018, 09:03 AM
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Walmart sent me a check for a 1 cent overpayment on my credit card. I still have it as a conversation piece.
Rats ... ninja'ed ...

I received a request for a political contribution from my Senator whom I disliked ... so I wrote a check for 1 ... haha ... yeah, it cleared the bank AND my name was added to the mailing list ... they spent close to $10 in postage through the campaign on mailing crap to me ...

I'd like to think I helped defeat the sorry bastard ...
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Old 01-15-2018, 09:34 AM
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On a related note, I have had this happen a few times...

In Ireland a lot of places round change to the nearest 5 cents. So if the total was 5.02 I would pay 5, if it was 5.04 I would pay 5.05, etc etc.

The self serve tills in many shops will do this automatically when checking out. So for example if the bill is 5.02 and you feed a 10 note into the machine, you will get 5 change.

The problem is when I get rid of all my change into the machine, I have paid 5 and all that is left is the balance of 2c. Which will get rounded down. Except that only happens after all the money is paid and the machine is calculating how much change to give. But I have no change left to clear the 2c that I don't technically owe anyway!

The last time this happened I had to use a 50 note to clear the outstanding amount of 2c, and then get 50 back in change of course. I live in fear of getting caught with the exact amount only and not enough to cover that pesky 2c if I have to!
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Old 01-15-2018, 02:41 PM
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Kind of related... using BillPay, a free electronic payment program provided free by the Credit Union, I would add my friend as a Payee and then send him $1.00. Then, when he received the check in the mail, he would cash it and send me $1.00 back through Bill Pay. We joked about how we were personally stimulating the economy at no cost to us personally...I guess we need sentient human supervision.
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Old 01-15-2018, 04:30 PM
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I once made a purchase at a grocery store for something like $20.10. I had a stack of coupons from various promotions at the store and handed them to the cashier. As she was ringing up the coupons, I stuck my credit card in the reader. I wasn't paying as much attention as I should have, but the total after coupons came to $0.10. I just routinely pressed the "OK" button and didn't realize until after I was done that I had just charged 10 cents. And, yes, it did appear on my bill.

This wasn't an in-person purchase, but just last month I made a $6.99 purchase from Amazon. I had a $6.95 gift card balance already in my account. Amazon said it would charge 4 cents to my credit card. I checked my credit card account and it didn't show an authorization for the amount, even after the item shipped. I thought Amazon was going to do the sensible thing and just forget about it. But a week later a final charge for 4 cents appeared. So Amazon must have some special procedure where they don't get approvals for tiny charges, but put them through anyway.
I occasionally get $10 Amazon gift cards in exchange for points. I can't even count the number of times I've purchased a 99 kindle book to use up the balance.
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Old 01-15-2018, 06:30 PM
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Slightly off topic but similar:

My car insurance was something like $90.83 per month. When I was buying a new car, and trading in one of the old ones, I called them and have them all the details. At the end the guy laughed "Your new charge will be... $90.82 per month"

And that's how I became rich.
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Old 01-15-2018, 07:39 PM
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The problem is when I get rid of all my change into the machine, I have paid 5 and all that is left is the balance of 2c. Which will get rounded down. Except that only happens after all the money is paid and the machine is calculating how much change to give. But I have no change left to clear the 2c that I don't technically owe anyway!
What would happen if, at that point, you just gathered your stuff and walked away? Would they send the Marines to come arrest you?
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:42 PM
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I just bought something on ebay, including free shipping from China, for 1.
Apparently, a 1 charge to PayPal trips a fraud alert & they blocked my card. I called the bank & they told me the tried to contact me; when I stated that I didn't receive any notification, they confirmed the phone # then told me they sent me a text. Ummm, landlines can't receive text messages.

They also told me they didn't honor the 1 txn, but I got the <Shipped> email notification overnight. Now I'll have to wait a few weeks to see if it really was shipped.
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