Visa pushing for businesses to go cashless
For years, mom-and-pop shops and food trucks alike have shuddered at the expense of credit card transactions. It’s not uncommon, for example, for small businesses to have minimum dollar amounts for card purchases. Some still don’t accept them at all or gently inform customers they prefer cash.
Credit-card behemoth Visa launched a campaign to change that Wednesday.
The campaign to go cashless — or the Visa Cashless Challenge — aims to create a culture in which cash is no longer king, Visa said.
As consumers increasingly demand ease and security in their shopping, cash-only businesses face challenges as digital payments become the consumer’s choice. And, according to a Visaconducted study, it might become profitable. According to the report, businesses in New York City could save more than 186 million hours in labor and generate an additional $6.8 billion in revenue by going cashless.
But small businesses remain skeptical. “The good thing about cash is that there’s no merchant fee,” said Jimmy Fixari, owner of Turn In BBQ , a food truck sometimes located in Civic Center park that has a $5 credit card minimum. “If we could do anything, we would do cardless, but we try to be as flexible as we can.”
Fixari takes cards through Square and pays the company a 3 percent fee per transaction, he said.
Cards don’t appear to be going away anytime soon. According to the Federal Reserve’s payments study in 2016, the number of noncash payments increased at an annual rate of 5.3 percent from 2012 to 2015.
Business owners recognize the trend, but the costs prevent them from advocating on behalf of a more convenient and popular option for their customers.
Fixari, who says 60 to 70 percent of his transactions are with a card, says he would not be in business without such payment.
Similarly, Matt Cherry, owner of the Pasty Republic’s Pasty Bus, a Denver restaurant and food truck, estimated that of his younger millennial customers, 90 percent use a credit card to pay.
According to a U.S. consumer study by TSYS, a credit card company, only 5 percent of people ages 25-34 prefer cash over credit or debit card in 2016. By contrast, 17 percent of people ages 55-64 prefer cash.
Visa, a global payments technology company, is trying to combat the anti-plastic tactics by small businesses with monetary resources.
The corporation plans to give $10,000 to as many as 50 small-business food-service owners who commit to the campaign to become cashless.
The campaign includes a “call to action” for small-business restaurants, cafes and food truck owners to share what cashless would mean for their employees and customers.
Visa’s study also found that if businesses in 100 cities switched to all-digital payments, these cities could net $312 billion in benefits per year.
By 2020, Business Insider estimates in-store mobile payment volume to grow to $503 billion — nearly seven times what it was in 2015.
Although Cherry admitted that credit card transactions have some benefits — like dealing with Square, which allows him to get loans — he still prefers cash for his business.
“I’m able to better track my sales from a cash standpoint, and I just feel like it’s easier for me to get a hold on costs,” Cherry said, who also mentioned tips as a benefit to cash transactions. “Among the younger people, plastic is definitely more prevalent.”