Stores and shop­pers are snub­bing pa­per money

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - ALEK­SAN­DRA SA­GAN

VAN­COU­VER — Over the next year and a half, Alan Bek­er­man plans to grow his healthy fast-food chain iQ Food Co. from five to up to 11 lo­ca­tions and not a sin­gle one will ac­cept cash.

“It was one less thing that we had to think about, which is a huge ben­e­fit,” says Bek­er­man, who ex­panded the idea to all five of his Toronto eater­ies ear­lier this year.

He’s one of a grow­ing num­ber of re­tail­ers who be­lieve shun­ning cash helps cus­tomers as it speeds up ser­vice and frees up staff to fo­cus on less mun­dane tasks.

It’s a choice some in the in­dus­try say is likely to be­come more com­mon­place as tap-and-pay cards and dig­i­tal wal­lets re­place bills and coins, sav­ing time by not hav­ing to fum­ble with cash at the queue.

It’s some­thing David­sTea co­founder David Se­gal is bank­ing on, af­ter re­cently open­ing the doors to his Mad Radish restau­rant ven­ture where he has a no-cash pol­icy in place at both Ot­tawa lo­ca­tions.

“I just feel like the ben­e­fits are enor­mous and so why not try it?” says Se­gal, who aligns faster ser­vice with bet­ter cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence.

He says it’s too soon to know just how much ex­pe­di­ency will be gained, but he be­lieves tap-and-pay meth­ods will al­ways be more ef­fi­cient than cash ex­changes.

For Bek­er­man, the switch to cash­less trans­ac­tions has freed up his restau­rant man­agers from do­ing ar­chaic tasks such as count­ing pa­per. “The high­est paid folks in the restau­rants can ac­tu­ally spend that time do­ing things that we thought were a lot more mean­ing­ful,” he says.

Bek­er­man says he has only heard of a few in­stances of con­sumer grum­blings. The com­plainants in­cluded a few folks who used cash or Bit­coin due to pri­vacy con­cerns.

Con­sumers, in part, may be driv­ing the trend to­ward dig­i­tal-only pay­ments.

“Cash is sig­nif­i­cantly down as a pre­ferred pay­ment de­vice,” says An­gela Brown, CEO of Moneris So­lu­tions.

In the sec­ond quar­ter of 2017, 39.5 per cent of pay­ment trans­ac­tions used tap-and-pay, ac­cord­ing to data from the debit and credit pay­ment pro­ces­sor. That’s up from 30.86 per cent the year be­fore. Moneris pre­dicts that fig­ure will jump to 50 per cent by the end of the year.

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