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Steve Marr Blog

Steve Marr's contributions

Jun 17

Cash Not Accepted

Posted by: Steve Marr

Tagged in: Untagged 

The Associated Press recently ran an article that several retail establishments were no longer accepting cash, only credit and debit cards or Apple Pay.  I realize how some stores may benefit by not taking cash. It requires less time and trouble for the clerk and lowers concern over cash theft.  It also makes accounting easier because transactions fall easily into an automated system. There are no federal laws requiring business to accept cash.  Most state and local municipalities don’t have such regulations in place, either.

In my business career I have adopted a simple rule when somebody wants to put money in your hand: close your hand. For business transactions, I prefer that every customer pay me with a bank transfer. It places the cash immediately into my account with little transaction cost. However, if I insisted customers do business on my terms; I would have fewer customers, which is why I will accept cash, credit and debit cards, checks and any other payment method. Although, I won’t take chickens the way people used to. I want to make payment for services as easy as possible for my customer. I can run a credit card immediately on a mobile device, email an invoice, or text a customer so that they can simply click and pay.  Or they could write a check and stick it in the mail. The important part is making payment as easy as possible for your customer, on their terms.

Many years ago, stores started granting credit cards as a way of increasing sales. A store knew that even though there was a cost to maintaining a credit card system and an occasional bad debt write-off, the increased sales more than offset the cost of offering these cards. Today most businesses pay between 2% and 3% on credit card transactions. I would rather not pay the credit card fee in my business, however; I would rather pay the fee than lose the customer.

I’ve seen stores charge a 3% credit card fee. I can understand this may be necessary on higher volume and low margin transactions, but I’ve also seen this in every day locations for small businesses as well. For example, the shoe repair person might require cash payment in advance. While this is their prerogative, I believe this reduces the number of customers.  Not everyone wants to pay cash in advance with little recourse if you’re not happy with the service.

Jesus said, "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning.” (Luke 12:35, NIV) In my view, part of being ready for service is to accept payment from customers in the form that they wish to provide. When we require all payments the way we want, we are putting our own interests before our customers’ convenience. As I said earlier, when a customer wants to put money in your hand be in a position to close your hand.

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