ó Cash is still king, but Visa Inc. is trying mightily
to dethrone it.
electronic payments giant unveiled a campaign this month
aimed at enticing small restaurant owners to stop
company is dangling $10,000 each for up to 50
restaurants or food vendors nationwide willing to go
cashless. The money is to be used to upgrade merchantsí
point-of-sale equipment to accept a variety of
electronic payment methods, including chip-enabled
credit and debit cards and contactless technology such
as Apple Pay using customersí cell phones. Owners who
donít need the upgrades or donít use all the money
can spend the extra dough on marketing.
is declaring war on cash, spokesman Andy Gerlt said.
not hard to understand why.
credit card company makes money on fees collected from
merchants every time customers use their plastic. But
those fees ó which on credit cards average about 2
percent of the transaction amount ó are precisely why
retailers would prefer that customers use cash.
the smallest and least informed merchants would be
likely to fall for this proposal from Visa," said
Mallory Duncan, general counsel for the National Retail
Federation, a Washington, D.C.-based trade group.
"$10,000 is a small reward for entering into an
agreement that could cost a small business hundreds of
thousands of dollars over the life of the business"
in additional transaction fees, he said.
Lou Scorsone, business manager at Spoonwood Brewing Co.
outside Pittsburgh, said she would never consider
eliminating cash ó even though she estimates only
between 5 percent and 10 percent of her clientele pays
in bills and coins.
you are going to tell customers they canít use cash,
they probably will turn around and walk out the
door," she said.
scratch my head at why anyone would be willing to lose
customers and pay more service fees to the (credit card)
vendor. Why would anyone do that?"
said that most customers prefer electronic payments. He
also made the case that going cashless eliminates costs
associated with handling cash, including bookkeeping,
the time it takes to count the money, and the potential
had a tremendous response in the last 24 hours
(including) from other countries and other kinds of
businesses saying they would welcome this program,"
of the $10,000 awards will be selected through an
application process beginning in August, he said.
Details on the size of the businesses that qualify were
still being worked out.
will be asked to describe what going cashless would mean
for their businesses and customers, and detail how they
will accomplish it, he said. The recipients will be
announced before the end of the year.
enticing, eradicating cash is a tall order.
remains the predominant form of payment in the U.S,
accounting for 32 percent of consumer transactions in
2015, down from 40 percent in 2012, according to a
report in November by the Federal Reserve Bank of San
compares with 27 percent for debit cards and 21 percent
for credit cards.
is particularly popular for small-value purchases,
accounting for 60 percent of transactions under $10, the
know cash is not going away anytime soon," Gerlt
said. "We view cash as our No. 1 competitor."
hopes to expand the Cashless Challenge program to other
types of businesses and to other countries, he said. The
company decided to focus initially on small restaurants
in part because, particularly among quick service
restaurants, "Cash can slow things down," he
more information on Visaís Cashless Challenge and to
sign-up for updates about when the program launches,