PlayStation Network is Still Getting Away With 'Minimum Funding' Charges

Sony continues to embrace an anti-consumer practice that even Nintendo gave up.

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CocoaBrother655d ago

Forcing people to spend $5 just to purchase something between 50¢-$4 is insane. I ran into this when I bought the bot add-on for Killzone Mercenary and found it to be ridiculous.

I'm happy Nintendo and Microsoft stopped with their ridiculous point/currency systems; it's time Sony allowed people to simply add the total amount instead of forcing us to spend the extra.

654d ago Replies(32)
aConIsDemocracy654d ago (Edited 653d ago )

Forcing people to give credit card details for so called free bc games every month isn't exactly pro consumerism either. I haven't managed to get one of these monthly free with gold bc games because of it.

as much as people disagree with me doesn't change the fact that you still have to have a credit card to download free bc games on the xb1. Click all you want. it's funny how no one has mentioned it before. They must be too embarrassed. And whoever said get an Xb360 must be Don Mattrick.

DefenderOfDoom2654d ago

reply to aConlsDemocracy // That would bother me because i have not used credit cards for over 10 years .

654d ago
we420654d ago (Edited 654d ago )

That really bugged me too. Before I got a credit card, I used a Visa gift card as my card info and it worked.

mwjw696654d ago

Pre paid credit card cost $5 to laid money on good for 4 years. How in the world did you not think of that?

aConIsDemocracy654d ago

the games are supposed to be free. this isn't about whether i have a credit card or not.

654d ago
JasonKCK653d ago

That's not true, a CC is not required to download the free games.

aConIsDemocracy653d ago

Idiots. Read the bloody post. Done with this thread.._.._

TheCommentator653d ago

Hey, I understand what you're saying and it's stupid of MS to require CC's for free items. I like to get the free avatar props, personally, but I don't have a CC put into my XB1 so I can't get them that way. I still own my 360, so I download the GWG 360 titles, and avatar props if I can find them, but it's still stupid for free stuff. Even though I haven't done it yet the prepaid CC is an option you should consider since it's cheap, safe, and (from what I've heard) it works just fine.

feedthereaper653d ago

I would double check your Family settings..... it may be that you are not allowed to download free ADULT games if your settings are switched on, as they would require the person downloading to prove they are old enough to with a CC.
If you have family settings all switched off, and you have an active Xbox Live subscription, then there should be no reason at all to request CC details for any of the free games (backwards compatible or not) and I have never been asked for them in all the years Xbox Live has been on the go, nor have I ever given them and have always had full access to everything, including downloading free games.
So my suspicion is that you have put Family settings on for your son, and those settings require CC details to prove the person who IS buying/downloading adult games is old enough to be permitted. Turn off the settings and it will presume you are an adult and not require this form of age verification!

supersonicjerry653d ago

What are you talking about you don't need to put any credit card info to get free games with gold you just need xbox live gold. Don't spread out false information to fuel stupid console wars.

rainslacker653d ago (Edited 653d ago )

I've downloaded stuff from XBL, and I have never entered my CC details. I got three months of XBL when I brought the system, and got the "free BC games" from it just fine.

So I disagree with you, because the facts don't seem to be accurate.

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SweetLeafSmoker654d ago (Edited 654d ago )

You know this is STANDARD practice....

The key being here is whoever is trying to buy something that costs like $0.98 with an ACTUAL CREDIT CARD and/or DEBIT CARD (the logo is clearly visible on the screenshot)

This is the reason for the charge... The SAME EXACT thing happens at 95% of gas stations and conveinence stores. especially the mom and pop shops. They get charged a certain FEE everytime someone swipes there card thru the little swiper machine that is hooked to the cash register. That's why you'll see signs posted or hear them say that you have to have a certain $$ limit if you want to use credit/debit or whatever.

Example for my description above - You try and buy a can of Coke for $0.75 with your credit card... The guy tells you gotta pay cash or buy something else.

I may be wrong but that's what this sounds like to me. He's trying to buy something for $.049 or something from Sony/PSN using his VISA CARD... However VISA charges Sony a certain fee to process the VISA... that FEE be most likely $5.00 since that's what they seem to allow for the minimum.

This is easily 100% avoidable if you just buy a $10, $20, etc PSN of XBOX LIVE card and redeem the code and put the money in your wallet. That's the way to go.. Just get a card when you need one and redeem it whenever.

No sense putting in CC info or storing CC info in today's world.. Hell nah.. Especially video game services that hackers love to toy with.

aConIsDemocracy654d ago (Edited 654d ago )

No. I can download the free games for xb1 no problem. But if i want to download a free bc game i have to give cc details. It's weird. It's my sons xbox and i dont want my cc details on it. I don't know how easy it is to remove it. On the xb360 i think you had to go through hoops to remove it.

EDIT. and they don't let you buy free bc games on the xb1 console with live codes. it's cc or nothing and i don't know why. and anyway its supposed to be free with gold sub. Which we have.

inmusicutrust654d ago

This. $5 is the minimum for CC transactions almost everywhere I go, some restaurants it's even higher.

ImGumbyDammit653d ago (Edited 653d ago )

@inmusicutrust $5 is the minimum for CC that is BS. I do a lot of work with ecommerce based companies and minimum charge is a bogus argument nowadays.  Those mom and pop stores and restaurants may use a secondary processing service that does such. That is on them; tell them to switch.  There are plenty of processing services that do not have that minimum requirement and very low processing fees.  Secondly, large corporations that do a lot of business negotiate terms. And believe me if you do anywhere above a few million dollars a year (which many of my clients do that many times over) you can negotiate terms. Heck, go to McDonald's and buy a Cola for a $1. It isn't $5 minimum purchase. Same goes for Sony here. Go to almost any online small store and you could buy something under $5 and I bet you it will not get rounded up to $5 (even at the smallest online store) because there is no such requirement nowadays.  So, there is no reason to look at this this from a service charge angle from such a large retailer. It is just an onerous policy from days long gone using a legal means to rip people off.

dumahim653d ago

That limit is imposed by the retailer, not the card. I buy stuff at multiple places every week under $5.

And no, the Visa fee isn't $5. It's a percentage of the purchase price.

rainslacker653d ago (Edited 653d ago )

That is exactly what it is. I take CC for my business, and the minimum fee is 32 cents + 1.5% of the sale + a monthly maintenance fee just for using the service. It's not cheap to accept credit cards. For whatever Sony sells on it's store that it doesn't directly publish itself, they only get 20% of the actual purchase. For a 99 cent game, they get 20 cents, then subtract out the minimum 20 cents for the fee, then 1.5 cents, suddenly Sony lost 2 cents on the sale. Seems negligable, but factor that across a thousand purchases, and they lost $20. Again seems minimal, but factor that in over the whole year, or over millions of sales like that, and it really adds up.

In any case, Sony does say that it's adding funds, it just doesn't do it without your permission.

The actual CC minimum is imposed by stores themselves. The CC company does not have any kind of thing that requires a purchase be a certain amount. They make their money either way.

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TKCMuzzer654d ago

I pay via paypal on the UK PS Store and don't asked for a minimum funding amount. Is it Visa related?

ziggurcat654d ago

"Forcing people to spend $5 just to purchase something between 50¢-$4 is insane..."

the remaining balance stays in your wallet, though, which carries over to your next purchase.

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BadBoyC655d ago (Edited 655d ago )

I have to agree with the author. These minimum funding fees are pretty anti-consumer on Sony's part but things like this are just one of the many reasons that I rarely if ever purchase anything digitally. Companies have way way too much control over content, pricing, how things are being purchased, etc. Not only that, the digital pricing on consoles is garbage. The majority of the time I can get physical copies for cheaper than I can digital copies of games. Digital copies of games shouldn't even be the same price as physical copies since you aren't paying manufacturing and distribution fees imo.

UCForce655d ago (Edited 655d ago )

This is something I have to agree. Sony really need to get rid of that thing. It has been too long.

_-EDMIX-_654d ago

I didn't notice that this existed until I tried to purchase some game that was on sale.

I was like " okay so I'm pretty positive that game was 3 bucks" lol

I agree I hope they do cuz there's a lot of small things I wouldn't mind purchasing as opposed to having this strange minimum fee.

Like has anyone checked out all the cool Star Trek avatars they have on sale?

kneon654d ago


The reason is likely because of the way credit card companies charge for transactions. I haven't worked on credit card processing for quite a while so things may have changed. But the fees to the merchant used to consist of two parts, a small fixed per transaction fee and then a percentage of the charge. typically around 1.5-3%.

So with many small transactions you end up with a higher average cost vs fewer transactions totalling the same amount.

Apocalypze654d ago

Is either that or tax (which they don't implement on the Playstation Network)

Christopher654d ago

***is there a reason for it?***

Limiting cost of CC charges. Lots of delivery only restaurants do this as well, require a minimum order amount. Each CC charge costs them money and they want to limit their expenses on this by mandating a minimum rather than pass the costs onto their consumers in another way.

I think Sony should, at the least, remove this requirement for PayPal purchases. As it is, this is the only reason I load money onto my PSN account via PayPal.

rainslacker653d ago


Paypal probably costs Sony more than CC processing does. The person being paid pays the fees, and paypal fees are generally higher than CC processors.

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Apocalypse Shadow655d ago (Edited 655d ago )

Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

**Because it costs retailers money to accept cards, small transaction amounts can make accepting cards unprofitable, especially at places such as convenience stores and gas stations, where profit margins are paper-thin. They asked for the option to require a minimum purchase amount for credit card transactions.

They got it. The request received little notice because it was tucked into a bill that became an 848-page legislative behemoth -- the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. As fierce debates took place over whether the legislation created or preserved "too big to fail" banks, and whether to set a cap on debit card interchange fees, the short section on credit card minimum payments survived, there on page 698.

It went into law in July 2010, and all those handwritten signs went from forbidden to federally blessed.***

Sony is a merchant. They may incur fees on smaller purchases. I ran into it one time and had $0.02 left. I ended up using it later. But anything I bought over $5.00, there wasn't any change left.

Does it suck? Maybe. But it is what it is. Sony has a legal right to. But you as a consumer don't have to buy the item that's less than $5.00. It's not a requirement. Or buy it with another item you wanted to get that's more than $5.

As for digital games being high and same price as retail? Again, don't buy it at that price. Wait for a sale or go to a retailer and buy it physically and on sale. Who says you have to buy games at $60-$70 a pop?

Lastly, the reason digital games are similarly priced as retail is because retailers would cause a stink for being undercut by digital games. Why would I as a retailer carry your products if you're undercutting me on small margins on new games? That's why retailers like GameStop sell used games. It's more profitable. Even consoles have low margins. That's why accessories are pushed to gain some type of profit.I don't like GameStop, but that's the way it is. Business is not cheap.

But know this, if digital games for consoles were cheap, there would be no reason to sell games in stores. Kind of like Steam sales or mobile games. No overhead. Few workers maintaining the site. But with retailers, that's potentially thousands of stores and thousands of employees out of work. It may end up that way anyway and transform more into the Amazon model and thousands of workers end up working for one big company (not good for the market either. Just ask Walmart workers and those who despise them) distributing product, but you don't want to force their demise so soon.

It is what it is.

freshslicepizza654d ago

interesting, a whole page of words to defend something that the competition seems to have done away with. why? why are you so adament to continuously defend any bad news thrown at sony's direction? how about for once you just act like a normal customer and not waste so much of your time defending things that don't need to be defended.

time and again part of the community rises to the occasion to defend policies like not allowing its users to change the psn name? why? that is the job for sony to do, explain what the reason is and then move on. same with external hard drive support, why cant it be done? why is sony silent about allowing cross play with other consoles? why do we have part of the ps4 community trying to defend why sony wont allow ea access? again we have part of the sony community defending these things when they shouldn't be. its not their jobs to protect the company.

remixx116654d ago

We don't agree on much moldy but I'm 100% with you on this one.

DeadManMMX654d ago (Edited 654d ago )

Good god you are speaking some common sense truth. Sometimes I feel like if Sony told them they only needed one leg they would go along with it. They need to be put the task too. Not just MS not just Nintendo hell Nintendo needs to be put more to task because they have obviously learned nothing. This is my problem with these Japanese gaming companies. They seem to think they can get away with telling us what we want. The reason they think this is because WE ALLOW it. When MS does that shit the pitchforks and torches go swiftly. This anger and outrage towards anti consumer practices needs to be spread around equally.

freshslicepizza654d ago (Edited 654d ago )

"Good god you are speaking some common sense truth. Sometimes I feel like if Sony told them they only needed one leg they would go along with it. They need to be put the task too. Not just MS not just Nintendo hell Nintendo needs to be put more to task because they have obviously learned nothing. This is my problem with these Japanese gaming companies. They seem to think they can get away with telling us what we want. The reason they think this is because WE ALLOW it. When MS does that shit the pitchforks and torches go swiftly. This anger and outrage towards anti consumer practices needs to be spread around equally."

nintendo is old school and has a tough time getting away from tradition but lets make one thing perfectly clear, microsoft has done a ton of dumb things too that dont need defending like putting things like netflix behind their xbox live gold paywall which they finally changed and you only need silver to use. this is another reason why it is so important to have competition.

JasonKCK653d ago

moldybread That is so true. The PC, Nintendo, and Xbox communities speak up and demand better. Some people in the PS community defend every action no matter what.

DigitalRaptor653d ago (Edited 653d ago )

@ moldybread

Some people argue against it because most of those things you mention are made out to be a far bigger deal than they actually are. De facto proof of this is that nobody is talking about those things past the initial "concern" and faux "outrage", except people like you when you decide to resurrect it to troll PlayStation articles.

@ JasonKCK

"The PC, Nintendo, and Xbox communities speak up and demand better. Some people in the PS community defend every action no matter what."

BAHAHAHHA. If that wasn't the most intentionally one-sided claim... trying to make it seem like PS community is unique in defending actions made. Every community has its equal share of proponents. Don't expect Nintendo fans to speak up en masse for better third-party support, stronger hardware or a more capable online network for the price they charge. Don't expect Xbox fans to request Microsoft invest more in first-party, new IP on the scale of Halo and Gears and instead expect them to request Black Ops 2 backwards compatibility more than anything else. Those who game on PC seem to be the only community with consequential action based on what they say or do, because they choose to embrace an open platform.

rainslacker653d ago

The competition simply decided to take the loss. Sony could do that. They decided not to. They aren't the only online retailer that has minimum purchases. Sure, it'd be great if they didn't, but is the extra $4 really going to break a person's bank? If it is, they should reconsider making that sub $1 purchase, and likely sell their console.

In any case, Sony has a big screen come up telling you they're charging you $5. It's not like it's a surprise. You have every chance to back out. If other companies decided to do the same thing, i wouldn't fault them for it, because I run a business as well, and I can tell you the people that buy $5 items, and use Paypal, instead of a CC, end up making it so I maybe make about $1, instead of $1.25. Smaller margin, but those quarters add up. And in Sony's case, those few cents they lose over god knows how many transactions, just causes prices to go up for everyone.

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Outside_ofthe_Box654d ago (Edited 654d ago )

Who cares if they have a right to do it. If the competition ain't doing it then Sony has little excuse to continue doing it.

Doesn't matter if it hurts their bottom line a little, doesn't effect us at all. Sony isn't a convenience store.

_-EDMIX-_654d ago

Well that was an extremely informative read.

I still believe that Sony should try to do something about this for their fans.

I 100% understand what you're saying, but this is more so about us trying to remedy a solution as opposed to be complacent to what it currently is.

Don't get me wrong after reading what you posted I completely understand the "why", but a lot of the users simply want them to adapt what Microsoft and Sony have just to be fair.

I gave you an agree because I overall agree with the information that you provided but I also disagree with the attitude of "it is what it is".

This is business everything is negotiable and I believe that they should reconsider that, if not right now maybe with the PlayStation 5 that is something I hope we no longer see on PlayStation Network.

With all major releases being digital along with retail versions you have to consider that Publishers might want to get some quick sales from their libraries by selling their games at 4 bucks or 2 bucks what-have-you, I just don't think it would be a good idea having customers pay the extra cost especially sense Publishers may not feel comfortable about even making those sales go on if they're going to get a low sale rate on a PlayStation platform.

Apocalypse Shadow654d ago

I don't agree with it edmix. But it's Sony's decision. Could they find another way? Maybe. But it's not a simple thing to rectify.

I mentioned retail because I used to manage a million dollar Game Crazy store that was a franchise. There was barely any margin on new products. That's why you get asked if you want a memory card, controller, strategy guide, etc. Or buy a used copy of we had it. Not badger the customer, but at least ask. Because the new games and consoles really didn't make the company a lot of money.

Retail would start pulling their inventory and not carry your product if they see you're not compromising with them on prices. Eventually more product will be online like amazon. But the impact is that brick and mortar stores will die taking lots of jobs with it. It's happening right now with Sears, Kmart, Target, Macy's, etc. Online is killing them.

I know gamers are upset by how Sony does it, and it can seem anti consumer, but they never consider how it effects the seller which is Sony. Perfect example, Sony giving gamers free games from PS3 to PS4. That's was Sony giving away money when they could have sold those games to customers. It's great for gamers and I loved it. But at the same time, you saw Sony selling businesses and buildings because they were being nice.

Some of the gamers here would understand if they had businesses. And maybe they'd see beyond just what's in front of them.

But thanks for the agree.

_-EDMIX-_654d ago

@apocal- no problem.

Understand where you're coming from in regards to the very informative post, I completely agree with you that it is Sony's decision, but I'm not entirely sure that's being disputed.

Simply that Gamers would like Sony to either reverse this situation or at least address it.

I feel that if Sony at least address this it would help Gamers better understand why it exist.

I understand that all companies are different and they have their own policies and protocol for their own Financial reasons though.

It will suck if Sony doesn't get rid of this policy the Next Generation but I wouldnt say it would be enough for me to not purchase the PlayStation 5 as it is in my opinion is a pretty small situation.

Because I own my own small business and I am in the talks of possibly starting another different business I understand that companies have their own bottom lines and businesses have their own protocols based on how they're set up so if Sony can't actually get rid of this feature because of a specific Financial reason I understand but , I would at least like to hear them address it.

freshslicepizza654d ago (Edited 654d ago )

@Apocalypse Shadow
"I don't agree with it edmix. But it's Sony's decision. Could they find another way? Maybe. But it's not a simple thing to rectify."

how do you know its not easy to fix? when nintendo and microsoft first started it had major issues too. they had points systems and problems dealing with variable currencies and so on. but guess what, they improved over time. sony hasn't, so please dont speak on their behalf. unless their network is really a mess which explains why you cant change your psn name or why they have to do monthly maintenance there is no reason to keep this policy. now that they are collecting a ton of money through psn plus there really is no reason to not update it.

Whatever234654d ago

Ok .Something as minor as this .Lets piss off sony and then ps5 comes and they change it but now we pay taxes on our psn purchases.Yeah OK??????

DigitalRaptor653d ago (Edited 653d ago )

Can't take anyone who calls it "PSN Plus" seriously.

Especially not when that person is a known concern troll fraud.

rainslacker653d ago (Edited 653d ago )

What happens to get rid of this, is they raise prices to cover the costs.

Hate to break it to everyone who seems upset by it, but there is no such thing as these companies taking a loss to sell an item. They keep the prices lower by doing this. I know it seems marginal, but we're talking about economies of scale here, where all those tiny losses really add up. Consider Sony only gets 20% of those purchases, so on a 49 cent item, they get 10 cents. $1 item, they get 20 cents. Even if they negotiated better processing rates, it's going to cost them more than that because online retailers are prone to getting a lot of chargebacks.

So, it's make a minimum funding amount for those who want to make smaller purchases, or raise the price for everyone.

that's how it works. Very few companies take the hit to get revenue. And the one's that do, are so big, it doesn't matter as Amazon.

It's the same concept of "free shipping isn't free". The costs is built into the sell price, so you end up paying the same either way....or more in some cases....but the allure of free shipping is usually an easier sell for most people.

I wouldn't fault any company that does this, because I understand the need to make a profit, and I know first hand how much CC processing fees can cut into profit margins on small purchases. So long as they inform before finishing the sale, I'm OK with it. It's not to say that I don't appreciate the companies that do take the hit, but more often than not, they are charging more for their products anyways.

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Kiwi66654d ago (Edited 654d ago )

Some people may need one item thats under $5 that day so why should they be short changed as some people may not feel like the need to wait for a sale

aconnellan654d ago

Sony definitely does have the right to do it, but does that mean they should do it? Especially when none of their competitors do? Because while they're within their right, it seems pretty anti-consumer to me

_-EDMIX-_654d ago

None of their competitors may have a set up that is a specific as there is in regards to how they set up their currency.

For example I didn't know this until someone mentioned in the article but Microsoft charges tax on Xbox Live.

That is just specific to their setup

Malacath654d ago

And yet I can go into a shop and buy something for a pound with my debit card. Sony still charge a minimum of £5 even when using a debit card. Its pure greed plain and simple.

xDealtwithIt654d ago

Further proof that you will defend what ever Sony throws in your face. I seriously don't have to prove it anymore to you.

To actually write that a consumer doesn't have to buy something under 5$ as if putting the burden or blame is on the consumer's shoulders is some of the most crystal clear insane type of thought process I have yet to read on n4g.

To actually celebrate the million plus sales of this company but then turn a blind eye for something this frugal is incredible.

And there is no doubt that if MS would be doing this we would get a further essay from you on how MS is shady with their practices to their customers. I mean we already have comments above trying to shine a spotlight on MS to deflect what this article is talking about.

But whatever, its Sony so, "it is what it is".

Absolutely classic.

DigitalRaptor653d ago (Edited 653d ago )


The usual suspects (Xbox fanatics) are attacking Apocalypse Shadow for simply saying Sony is within their legal right to do this and that it is what it is. Meanwhile, they don't hold Microsoft for things that they are legally allowed to do but don't have to, because at this point the only reason they do it is because of 🤑🤑🤑.

Prime example... Xbox Live subscription, which led Sony into creating a PS+ subscription which lead Nintendo into creating a Nintendo online subscription. Just recently, Microsoft raised the price of XBL in Canada (when they're already paying a crazy premium on games), which they DON'T have to do, but they do it anyway.

+ Show (5) more repliesLast reply 653d ago

i agree 100 percent i find it weird Sony does this i have bought many things that are lower then 4 dollars

opinionated654d ago (Edited 654d ago )

I have never bought anything under a dollar lol. I had no idea and I don't really care honestly. I have bought things under 5 dollars though. Maybe it's because I wasn't using a credit card, just the wallet.

rainslacker653d ago

Generally the only thing under $1 are avatars.

Sometimes games are less than $5, but the only time I got those are usually on sales, where i buy quite a few of them, and the charge ends up being much more than $5.

I knew this policy existed. I've seen it on a few of the $4.99 games I've brought, and they leave a penny in my wallet. I never really worried about it, as it never broke my bank or anything, and I knew I'd use the money eventually one day.

Not opposed to people asking for Sony to reconsider the policy, but in the real world, the outcome is prices actually go up. The price to process such things is passed on to the consumer, and while it may be pretty marginal, charging an extra 10 cents per avatar offsets the costs for the one's where they lose money.

Otherwise, I think people are making too big a deal out of it. It's $5, part of which is used for something you're actually buying, and the rest remains available for future use. it's not like Sony pockets the money and keeps you from using it.

opinionated653d ago

I have never run into it because I don't use my credit card I guess. If I want a digital game I usually just purchase an Amazon code for the amount of the game. Sometimes I get 100 code and have shit left over though. If miss a sale by a few dollars or something i simply don't get it this time around lol. I usually get things I want on day one so sales are only useful on games that I was iffy about anyway.