Monday, May 18, 2009

Mad dash for cash.

Since the economy started taking a nose dive I've noticed more and more incentive for using cash. Or rather businesses want your cash not your debit card not your credit card, this is because it cost them to run those darn things plus cash in hand especially for a small business just makes sense.

I first noticed this happening at the gas stations, one by one they all jumped on board the other day it was $2.31 for cash and $2.37 for pay at the pump service. I suspect other businesses have other incentives for doing this too (other than it cost money to run those cards through), see if you pay at the pump you don't go inside and buy that coffee or bag of chips they (the gas station) loses out. If you pay cash you must go inside and that increases your chances of a purchase (either planned or impulse). The gas station is one of the few places I'd rather not pay cash but I think I'm going to start doing so. See I'm kind of lazy and in a hurry when I get gas, going in and giving them a $50 bill then pumping and going back to get my change is really just a pain when I'm most likely on my way somewhere.

I read an article at The Wall Street Journal, Paying with Cash Could Soon Payoff it talked about something I wasn't aware of: There are restrictions imposed that make it difficult for some retailers to let the consumer know the fees paid to the credit card companies for credit/debit transactions. This results in cash paying customers paying higher prices so that other customers may use credit cards. The article goes on to state; "Retailers generally pay credit-card companies 1.5% to 2% of the purchase price -- more for credit cards that offer rewards or other benefits. Debit cards generally cost retailers up to 1%."

Now at first I wasn't all that miffed, until I got to the above comment. Why you ask? Well, I don't carry a credit card and I don't make purchases with one either. I do use my debit card though but only so I don't have to carry the cash, I get nothing in return for doing so and if I process as a debit (using my PIN) instead of a credit card purchase (signing for the purchase) I get a fee by my bank. Anyway, back to why I got upset this portion of the quote in the above paragraph "more for credit cards that offer rewards or other benefits." Am I really paying for the rewards someone else gets for using their credit card? Whoa boy! Nothing like getting my blood going now. Personally, I don't want to pay for that.

These are things I never thought about before, in fact I would have never read about before.

Is this a sign of things to come? I wonder, if more knowledge about this will put us back into a mostly cash only society. Where things weren't purchased on credit and debit cards were not even in existence. Certainly if you are getting rewarded for using cash (a retail discount) then unless your card is giving you a better benefit most people are going to use cash right? My mind starts going in a million directions really when I start thinking of things like this. For instance it just popped into my mind that if we go from mostly an electronic transaction society to a cash society then perhaps some of the swipe, sign and its mine troubles people get in might decline. Hmmmm... thoughts to ponder that is for sure.


  1. I have pretty much only seen it at gas stations, but we do have one local organic clothing store that gives a 10% discount for cash or check. I love their clothes, but they are a little pricey so I only shop there occasionally - but I always pay cash.

  2. You are right, Kari. I have seen similar things over on this side of the state. The girl who cuts my hair recently went out on her own and told me she is thinking of charging more to clients who use a debit or credit card because it is costing her a fee to process the payment. I pretty much use my debit card all the time and usually only have about $20 in my purse. Lots to think about. By the way, great new look to your blog!