$10 credit/debit research shops

There are a ton of these $10 surcharge shops near me and there’s always a small reimbursement if you buy something. The reimbursement is usually three dollars. I was wondering if anybody has any feedback on doing this type of shop? A lot of the shops are places where it would be very odd or impractical to go in and purchase a small item, such as a banquet hall or a car repair shop. But, there are lots of places where going in and getting a quick soda pop or pack of gum would be entirely reasonable.

The reason I’m asking is because there are seriously a ton of these around me and I could basically hit up a bunch of them on my way home from work. I know I could just try one or two and figure it out myself but I was wondering if anyone has any feedback. These shops seem to sit there forever so they’re not exactly getting scooped up.

Create an Account or Log In

Membership is free. Simply choose your username, type in your email address, and choose a password. You immediately get full access to the forum.

Already a member? Log In.

If you are referring to Presto, you don't automatically get to make a purchase.

I have done a bunch of these. Some can be simple, but many are tricky to impossible. They are often small Mom and Pop shops and restaurants, nail salons, smoke shops, specialty stores I have no business going into, etc.

You only make a purchase if there is a surcharge or fee, which makes it tricky because you have to ask about the fees which is often awkward. Then if they don't have a fee you have to flee without a purchase. If it is a business like you mention that doesn't sell anything under $10 you are not required to make a purchase. You just need to figure out a scenario in which you can act like a potential customer and then ask them if they have fees or surcharges if you use VISA. The difficult part is usually getting the photos.

You have to get high quality photos of any signage and the check out area. In my experience many of the businesses are tiny and there will be someone literally at the door when you walk in. I have failed at two just this week.

Shop number one was a smoke shop. There was a guard at the door. It was a tiny store with everything behind glass, so not a place you browse. Customers go in and ask for what they want and leave. The clerk immediately asked what I was looking for. I said a lighter and he plopped one on the counter. I asked about VISA for the payment and he said they don't accept cards. So, I said I didn't have any cash and departed. The clerk and the guard never took their eyes off of me. How could I possibly get high quality photos? I snapped a quick one on my way in, that was crappy which I knew it would be rejected and it was.

Shop number two was a nail salon. I walked in and the check in counter was literally two steps inside and the host was standing there. I asked a few questions and could see a sign on the counter for a 3% fee. I pretended to look at the price menu hoping he would walk away, but he just stood there and watched me. So, again, it was impossible to get a photo so I just left and cancelled the shop.
Yes and if they dont have a terminal you dont get paid they relect because you dont have a pic with a terminal a lot of nail salons and barber shops dont have terminals. IVE learned this by having a lot of shops rejecte for this very reason.So since shopping is my main source of income Im only doing as many as it takes to stay a float.
Another good point. For example many sit down restaurants don't have a check out area, your server takes your payment so there is no way to walk in and ask questions and come away with the required pics. Hair salons too--often they each take their own payments and use handheld devices. If you comb the list you will learn to weed out most of them, but you will probably find a few you can try. Good luck!!
@montgomrrydan8 wrote:

Yes and if they dont have a terminal you dont get paid they relect because you dont have a pic with a terminal a lot of nail salons and barber shops dont have terminals. IVE learned this by having a lot of shops rejecte for this very reason.So since shopping is my main source of income Im only doing as many as it takes to stay a float.
@MS007 I've done these and they seem to adjust the guidelines often. This time around it is even trickier and way more work than before. They want twice as many pictures. When you calculate the rejections, increased work, and lack of clarity with the assignment, it isn't worth it. The increase in pictures seems to up the chances that your job will be rejected.

@MS007 you said a reimbursement of $3. I've never seen that amount before. I've seen a cap of $6 last year that jumped to $10. I am sure others noticed that there is no mention of what the reimbursement is in the last guidelines I saw.

Others have commented in this and other threads that it is difficult to take a picture when you are the only person in a small shop - TRUE. The MSC wants clear pictures and it is very difficult to get these. If you can fire off some pics, it is hard to check the quality of the images and did you get what is needed in the image while you are in the store with the employees watching you and the cameras overhead.

You are looking for signage at the door and checkout and anywhere else in the location. Regardless if there are signs or not, you still must interact with an employee and ask about fees, minimums, and cash discounts. Their answers will influence what you do on the shop.

@bradkcrew is partially correct. He said you only make a purchase if there is a surcharge or fee - not true. If they charge a fee, you make a one item purchase with certain restrictions.

@bradkcrew didn't mention the scenario where there is a minimum to use a debit/credit card. This is where it is tricky. If there is a minimum to use a debit card of let's say $6, then you should see if you can make for under that amount so it triggers a fee. If they tell you that you have to spend at least $6, then you don't buy anything and leave. If they tell you that they will charge you a fee of let's say 40 cents if you spend under the $6, then you buy one item under $6 which you have to figure the sales tax as well so it comes in under that amount.

You are also required to ask the cashier how much the one item is before you give it to them to ring up.

They want a picture of the shelf where you grabbed the item or menu board showing the price.

The updated guidelines state you are required to ask for an itemized receipt. It doesn't state what happens if you don't include one in your report. My experience whether I am doing these as shops or not is that some of the cashiers have no idea what I am saying or don't know how to generate an itemized receipt. If you don't receive an itemized receipt, but you asked for one, are they going to reject your shop?

The other part of this shop is the steps you take when there is a discount for using cash versus debit and credit.
Momo described it perfectly! The list of possible ways that your shop will be rejected is quite long. The amount of pictures needed this round has doubled. The statement in the guidelines, "No matter what happens in the store, we need clear images with legible signage" is ominous and lets you know up front that whether you get arrested, detained, or shot, they don't care. Get their pictures or get rejected!

The additional picture requirements are to prove that you're not lying and not just spending their $10 without justification. For me, it was already difficult enough to get the original pictures but now, with extra, and often difficult, pictures combined with the overall attitude from the MSC that I am a liar and thief, makes me so nervous that I will probably end up screwing up more often than not.
I used to do a ton of these, when the picture and scenario guidelines were reasonable and in the realm of realistic. They are now next to impossible. I did one location this week for a sit down restaurant where I've completed this same project a few times successfully. It was rejected even though the answers were the same and the general pictures (plus the 2 new pictures) were of the same areas (since nothing has changed at the restaurant!). The editor was impossible and couldn't understand why I couldn't walk around this sit down restaurant and find a payment terminal to take a picture of. Apparently she has never left the house and eaten at a restaurant...thats the only conclusion I can come up with!

Its a bummer the MSC has completely ruined this project with the over-rotation and over-complication. I see hundreds sitting in my area, untouched. They used to get scooped up within days of posting.
They raise the fee eventually to $18 in my area. I still avoid them. Not worth the interaction.
I tried a few and they made me extremely nervous and tense. It's all just too awkward and not worth the stress.

The more I learn about people...the more I like my dog..

Mark Twain
I don't see a mention that you must capture the payment terminal in the guidelines. It says you have to take a picture of the counter. That sounds like an editor interpreting what guidelines should be.

I looked at the guidelines that explain the pictures needed and I know if my pictures were of that quality shown, they would reject the shop. I think the picture of the door is the only one that might pass.

I went to a store recently that was not a shop and all you see is the counter. They have the payment terminal hidden and when you use a card to pay, they pull the terminal from its hiding place onto the counter so you can sign the screen with your finger. That is nuts that they would refuse a shop because the picture of the counter doesn't show the terminal. I guess you are supposed to go behind the counter and take a pic.

Of course they can amend the guidelines, but since last year, they suggested buying a gift card as an option if you couldn't find anything to buy. Now that is a restricted item along with lottery tickets and gas.
My craziest VISA story was earlier this summer. It was a shady store, in a shadier neighborhood so when I got there I pulled up around the block to decide on where to go next because there was no way I was going in. Suddenly, BAM! A van had come barreling down the city block and smashed into the electric pole directly outside of the store. I got out to see if the guy was okay and called 911. Meanwhile, the store owner came out and was complaining that his electricity was out and that he couldn't run his business. LOL, I snapped a pic of the crumpled car and the electric pole and reported the store as "not open during posted business hours," and collected my $5!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/31/2023 12:50AM by bradkcrew.
Agreed. I do some but i am careful west I select. I did a fast food one a few days ago, in which I already knew they didn't have the fee so I just pretended to need to use the bathroom ( I think I abrigan did), got my quick pics and just confirmed no fees. I often use my kids as an excuse "do u do takeout? I am going to take pics of the menu and see if my kids want something " to get out of the place without feeling awkward . I agree the new guidelines are ridiculous!!!! Not nearly as fun as they were. I actually really like the visa shops and miss those!! ( though the reimbursement needs to be more ). I have a love/hate relationship with presto
Ok this is too funny not to share. I just noticed on Presto that they added a new location to the long list of untouched $10 Visa shops in my city. And the new addition is the CEMETERY down the street. There is no business office there, and even if there was, I'd love to know what possible items I could buy for $6 or less. Eternal Rest?
I mostly only do the restaurants. I go in and ask for a take out menu, hang around for a minute or two while pretending to look at the menu, get my photos and then leave. I did a water softener place a few days ago, just stopped in and asked them if they did water testing. I agree many of the types of businesses that I would not normally go to would be difficult to do.
There are hundreds of these in my area. I had little interest in doing them before because of the types of businesses that they were. Now i have zero interest in doing them especially after hearing the rejection rate has been high. Such a shame.
There's a ton of them around me too....some are sit down restaurants? how does that work for making a small purchase,..... the fact that they sit and sit and sit....tells me that nobody wants to do them...
The reference to a terminal picture isn't in the guidelines. I mean why would it be? So we would know what to do? lol. The terminal picture reference only appears in the survey on Presto, which you likely will discover as you are sitting in your car trying to input the project, right before you have to super weirdly march back in and look for the terminal to take a picture of.

Why IPSOS can't hire a QA person to simply see if the guidelines match the survey is beyond me!
I’ve done about 150 of these, can knock out 4-6 on the way home from work. My tips:

1. Pick your locations carefully. It’s so much easier to do a chain restaurant than a smoke shop. I really like doing liquor stores, have a nice collection of $4 tequila airplane bottles as a result. :-)

2. I go in, say that my mom was in a few days ago, and she lost something (an umbrella, a tote bag, something large.) The cashier will go into the back or look under the counter to search the Lost and Found, and that’s when I snap my photos.

3. If I’m there and convinced that I can’t get the shop done, I just cancel it from within the Presto app. Haven’t had any problems with the MSC or client for a self-cancelled shop.

I’m making an extra $250-300 a week doing these along my 30-mile commute. They are super easy and take me 5-10 minutes maximum.
**duplicate post, sorry about that**

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/02/2023 10:00PM by ColoKate63.
They are now taking up to 10 days to review these. So much for "insta." Tons of them in my area right now, but most are smoke shops (I guess there are no area shoppers that smoke!), salons, specialty stores (anyone need welding supplies?), sit down restaurants with no "check out area," ect.
You can make pictures easy when buying something. Ask about surcharge and making pictures very unrealistinc. I am skipping those.

Shopping Eastern Pennsylvania since 2009
Another issue is when you need to make a purchase, and the merchant does not give itemized receipts. For instance my son went to a hole in the wall bar last night. They told him there was a 3.99 % surcharge. So, then he had to make a purchase. He asked how much some cheap beer was and the bartender said $3.50. He ordered it, handed him the card and asked for a receipt. All he got back was the credit card slip because there is no such thing as an itemized receipt there. He turned in the report, but he won't get approved because: A. no itemized receipt. B. There was no signage to back up his claim that there was a surcharge, just what the bartender told him C. No proof that the beer cost $3.50 because the price wasn't posted anywhere.

Around here it is very rare to see a sign posted The merchants just slip the charge on your bill and it is becoming increasingly common.

So not only does he not get paid for the shop, but he is out the reimbursement as well. When the shops start to cost you money, the gig is up.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/03/2023 11:19PM by bradkcrew.
I suppose you could call ahead of time to find out if they charge a fee to use CC. .....but there's still the issue of the photos.
I just don't see a way, personally, to make these worthwhile - perhaps higher compensation....maybe maybe.
In my area these are nail salons, pizza joints and Chinese food places.
Thanks for all the feedback on these. I see them everywhere now for 15.00 but can see it isn't worth the time to even attempt them if they are rejected so easily.
I just wanted to follow up. I ended up doing a bunch of these this month. They went up to $14 on some of them, then to $15 on all of them, so it can start to add up if you power through them. LOL I have started to see it as a challenge. It turns out that I really haven't had an issue with unfair rejections.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login