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Sanitoa laments the minimum $10 purchase at some stores to use TBAS card

Tualauta lawmaker, Larry Sanitoa has raised concerns with the Territorial Bank of American Samoa merchants, setting a minimum of $10 purchase per transaction in order for the customer to be able to use their ATM or credit card.


In doing so, reported this matter to the Attorney General’s office.


Sanitoa in an email to TBAS Chief Executive Officer, David Buehler on behalf of several constituents, complained that some stores set a minimum of $10 purchase per transaction in order for the customer to be able to use their ATM or credit card.


The lawmaker cited the Merchant Account Agreement: Section 11 Prohibited Transaction, Merchant Shall not establish a minimum on debit cards or greater than $10 credit cards or a maximum dollar Transaction amount.


Sanitoa said that in the last House Commerce Committee hearing last month, the CEO informed members of the committee that there is no minimum charge as this is a violation of the vendor's agreement with the bank.


The Tualauta lawmaker went on to name the five stores around Nu’uuli, Tafuna and Malaeimi. Buehler told KVZK that merchants are responsible for following the terms of the agreement for the services provided.


He said there are discount fees paid to the card processor by the merchant and vary widely based on a number of transaction factors and that TBAS periodically reminds offenders to cease requiring a minimum purchase amount.


According to the TBAS CEO, they have also seen a surcharge imposed by merchants which is also strictly forbidden.


According to Sanitoa, earlier this year, ASG implemented a direct deposit policy in which all government employees were required to direct deposit their payroll or other payments directly into an employee's bank account.


Adding that many of the employees were forced to open an account at TBAS and that many of the employees that didn't have a bank account were mostly minimum wage or are at the lower end of the pay scale.


He said setting a minimum purchase of $10 to use TBAS ATM or credit card impacts low-income families when they are trying to make a $300 stretch over two weeks and this fee is assessed with every single transaction.


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