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Does it make since for "Mom & Pop" operations to not take credit cards

  1. manlypoetryman profile image72
    manlypoetrymanposted 6 years ago

    In the world today...just about everyone is packing plastic.
    Does it make sense for a small "Mom and Pop" store operation to do cash business only...in these times?

    Example: There are many old, small business restaraunts in the area I work. I finally made it to one of them and discovered they only take cash or check (? check for food...from just anyone...is very old school...unless you are paying a check verification service. This particular store had no sign saying they had a check verification service.)

    Now...I know Point of Sale systems take at least 3% off the top for your sale. But...how does that compare to a sale that is lost for good. The chances for me to have cash in hand...enough for a good lunch...and for me to remember that now I can go eat at that place...are very slim. So, that particular business has more or less lost a customer...for all time. As a business manager...the thought of losing potential customers and/or new clients...scares me more than losing a 3% off my total profit.

    Any thoughts by fellow business persons out there?

    1. prettydarkhorse profile image63
      prettydarkhorseposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      hi manly,,,hmm they could have at leats post a note outside their establishement to let people know about it!

      see youve got a new tractor, its bigger now, YAY!

      1. manlypoetryman profile image72
        manlypoetrymanposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        Hey PDK! How is ya' ? Really...trying to shake up some ol' thinking...I mean we are at 2010...by a few days...? Although...this may not be the right business forum to poll...I bet we still have some pretty saavy business folk here!

        You like my latest avatar shot of the ol' tractor...? This was a before shot...of the ol' girl before she got some much needed paint and body work...! She is a 1942 International Farmall...and actually...she is only a figment of my imagination smile. My avatar...helps take me to my happy place when I write! The ol' tractor is kind of the icing on the cake...It helps take me to places (in my dreams) that are big enough acreage to need a tractor! Have a good one PDK...!

        1. prettydarkhorse profile image63
          prettydarkhorseposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          You deserve that one manly, BIG and handsome tractor!

          1. manlypoetryman profile image72
            manlypoetrymanposted 6 years ago in reply to this

            Thanks...PDH...Don't know why I keep writing...PDK...must be some ol' initial acronyms stuck in the ol' computer! big_smile

            1. prettydarkhorse profile image63
              prettydarkhorseposted 6 years ago in reply to this

              its ok, they are the same, LOL

              1. manlypoetryman profile image72
                manlypoetrymanposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                I'm juz' glad I didn't catch myself...puttin' them in backwards (HDP or KDP)...as I have done...many, many times! Then...you'd really be going..."Huh"?

                1. prettydarkhorse profile image63
                  prettydarkhorseposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                  gotta go now, see you around manly!

                  1. manlypoetryman profile image72
                    manlypoetrymanposted 6 years ago in reply to this

                    See ya! smile

    2. Deezine profile image59
      Deezineposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Monthly fees for using a typical EOPS system are not too harsh, and for a Restaurant it really is a no brainer.

      The discussion re tax evasion is a red herring.
      The OP wasnt asking the question with this in mind.

    3. Cagsil profile image82
      Cagsilposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      By the way, just in case, someone hasn't said anything, I think you might want to check your use of the word "since". In your sentence it makes no "sense", because the word "sense" should have been used in the first place.

      However, I see your question as only a problem for the business, who elects not to take credit cards. I applaud them. smile  It is in their interests, because credit card companies require too many fees, which make it difficult for profiting by accepting them.

      It's obvious, to anyone who knows or understands business. Should it be no longer profitable to accept credit cards, then you don't.

      At any rate- the way the U.S. government is handling monetary policy, as of late, credit cards are the least of the problems.

      If the U.S. government isn't careful, the U.S. currency will fall and become useless. When that happens, many things are going to change and there will be nothing the citizens can do about it. smile

    4. 60
      tmtowriteposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      The company  that I represent as an Indepedent Sales person was deleberatly created as an ethical business it is now 10 years old and BBB member ETA  We strive to get merchants an affordable rate.  We can also sell or lease equiptment . Through our sources we can provide business funding,internet solutions,  checkservices,etc. More and more businesses need to become more accomodating to their patrons and my company can help them do that provided I can get (qualified leads)

    5. etauntontv profile image61
      etauntontvposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      sometimes it seems to good to be true ...free machines ...read the fine print they usually add in monthly charges that cover the machines

      with one company it totaled 450 dollars how is that machine free

    6. TonyLNMR profile image60
      TonyLNMRposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Figure the 3%... which is HIGH in my opionion we pay 1.8% on MC/Visa transactions...A COST OF DOING BUSINESS. I'll leave you with this...if you're power bill ROSE by 3% one month...would you NOT pay it and close up shop? Of course not....it's time to start taking Credit Cards...our biz increased 200% over the last 3 years since we started taking them.


  2. Jeffrey Neal profile image87
    Jeffrey Nealposted 6 years ago

    Not only do the processors take their percentage off the top, my understanding is that most of them also charge for the purchase or leasing of the actual machine and potentially other fees.  Many of the payment processing services that sell to small businesses are a bit shady.  Perhaps this one got scammed already?

    You are correct in that they are limiting their potential customers somewhat, but if it costs them more than they bring in from cards, it's a simple business decision to make.

    1. manlypoetryman profile image72
      manlypoetrymanposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Good way to look at it. I get the being "Burnt" once thing...could stop a small business from playing with credit cards. I guess I've always been approached by big banks for a POS system. They were willing to set-up and do installation...at no charge...to get a piece of the action. However, there were fees if you needed a POS machine replaced/ and or repaired. And probably some other incidental surcharges. So, you make a good point about any additional fees. Still...how many sales are they losing per day...to not have credit card sign posted in the window?

      1. Jeffrey Neal profile image87
        Jeffrey Nealposted 6 years ago in reply to this

        I don't know...was the food good? wink I can't think of a place off the top of my head that doesn't accept cards, and I'd be in a similar boat as you if I found that out after finishing a meal.  The way barbecue is around here, though, some of these places have a loyal, almost cult following, and would probably get on just fine without the cards.

        1. manlypoetryman profile image72
          manlypoetrymanposted 6 years ago in reply to this

          Yeah...this was an ol' Bar B Q Place...but not one with a big line for lunch ? We have some of the ol' places nearby...that have a line and could ask for whatever they wanted to get paid!
          This place I went to today was...not like that.

    2. rmcrayne profile image94
      rmcrayneposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Yes there is a monthly fee for the service &/or equipment.  Maybe they feel this is one of many monthly expenses they cannot afford.

  3. Cagsil profile image82
    Cagsilposted 6 years ago

    Yes, it makes sense.

  4. thranax profile image60
    thranaxposted 6 years ago

    Yes it makes sense, people can rip them off with credit cards and they don't have much recourse if it happens. This way, the cash is in hand no problem!


  5. 1974 profile image62
    1974posted 6 years ago

    Also keep in mind that "cash businesses" do not always report 100% of their income to the IRS.  That alone could be reason enough to not accept credit cards.

  6. manlypoetryman profile image72
    manlypoetrymanposted 6 years ago

    1974, rmcrayne, and thranax...all make good points...

  7. Flightkeeper profile image79
    Flightkeeperposted 6 years ago

    Does the Mom & Pop store cater to a regular local clientele?  It could be that having everything paid for in cash in a business where they have a lot of regulars is just a lot easier to run because it's simpler accounting.

    1. manlypoetryman profile image72
      manlypoetrymanposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      I think that's it...in this case. They just have so much repeat business...and some word of mouth...that they are fine with their current systems in place...of handling transactions. I'll feel sorry for them...if their demographics ever change in any way...and they fail to make swift changes to match...!

  8. EJF PRO profile image61
    EJF PROposted 6 years ago

    I don't even carry cash at all. I am one of the guys who would probably walk out the door and go to their competition. Also, it's easier for employees to rip off a company when dealing in cash so they should consider that. I remember when I worked in retail 20 years ago I hated walking to the bank drop at night with loads of cash. I don't have any proof but I think people tend to count their pennies when paying in cash. A little more free and easy when paying with plastic. I know that I tip better and think less about what I'm spending because plastic seems "less real" somehow.

    1. manlypoetryman profile image72
      manlypoetrymanposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      I think that you are right...and at one point it was proven (?)...that people are a little free-er (sp?) with plastic than with actual cash...Good point! And...also for convienience...I prefer to just whip out the plastic...than bother with always having cash on hand!

  9. Lisa HW profile image84
    Lisa HWposted 6 years ago

    We have a mom-and-pop store near us.  One time I was making a small purchase and asked if it was too small to use a credit card.  The woman said it wasn't and seemed baffled that I asked.  I said how the local gift shop requires a purchase of $10 or more before they'll accept a card, because the guy that runs the place says it isn't worth it for him to take cards for small purchases.  This woman said her view is if a store wants to make the sales taking cards (credit and debit) is just part of business.  I suppose, depending on the business, it could make sense for some people.  In general, these days most people use a card of one sort or another; so I'm not sure it makes the best sense not to take cards.  (The point is that some business can/do set a minimum amount for card purchases.)

    1. manlypoetryman profile image72
      manlypoetrymanposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      I think I like your mom and pop store's philosophy better...it seems more able to roll with the punches!

  10. Daniel Carter profile image90
    Daniel Carterposted 6 years ago

    Points made are very good. Mom and pop operations always bank on loyalty and that's how they survive. Rarely do they try to hit growth mode and factor in the necessary debt to income ratios, etc. So they are essentially in survival mode, which is not all bad, but from a business standpoint, not very good.

    Refusal to play the "plastic" game is actually very admirable in many ways. It puts control back into small business and communities, but it also makes sacrificial lambs, which are easy to see and find in a down economy.

    If they can make it through times like these and still not have to deal with plastic, then they may be one of the few small businesses that will continue to flourish when things loosen up again. But it's still a dangerous position to be in. It's not forward thinking enough as a business in terms of plan and growth. It's only the "here and now" mentality of having these bills to pay and this income to do it. Business is about going way beyond that outlook.

    I guess what I'm saying is that if they survive based on their actions, it will be more by chance than by planning. I think the only fault is in not planning better for their business future. They don't give customers much of an option for payment, and if they want real business, they need to open up the options again.

    1. manlypoetryman profile image72
      manlypoetrymanposted 6 years ago in reply to this

      Yeah...I get the survival mode thing....and the staying away from credit cards/billing/and checking against what's been paid-out could be very labor intensive. See...now that you mention the "here and now" thing as well...and the "not forecasting thing"...It really doesn't make sense how a business would not utilize every option at their disposal. I like knowing I have a full hand to throw down on the table compared to having only a few good cards.

      Now...that I think of it...I have worked for a couple of "Mom and Pop" operations...I can't think of any more of an economic indicator than a small "Mom and Pop' operation. Boy...if the economy lags...every little place...I ever worked at was the first hit! I'd be utilizing every means possible to gain a buck or two...and promoting it as well...if it were me!

  11. 60
    C.J. Wrightposted 6 years ago

    Haven't see that, but I have seen a lot of small business' put a minimum on credit/debit purchases.

  12. The Rope profile image59
    The Ropeposted 6 years ago

    Actually putting minimum limits on using plastic is against the agreement with the card issuers and their machines can be pulled and fines imposed.

    But the overall cost of taking plastic is much more than the % taken off the top of the purchase.  Using plastic is divided into two categories - using it as a debit card is much less costly to the business as the costs are only for the machine, the monthly fees and the chargebacks (and sometimes the supplies).  While using the plastic as a charge card carries an additional and immediate fee to the business owner of anywhere from 3 to 10% right off the top as well as the other charges already defined. 

    All banks and third party providers are free to set up whatever cost structure they choose with the business owner and many small business owners get charged much bigger fees than a large business that will bring in much more income for the card issuers. 

    Many small businesses are already operating on a small profit margin - around 30 to 50%.  When you factor in other overhead, cost of product and employee costs taking an extra 15% or so off the top can mean the difference in making it or closing their doors.  If this restaurant is doing a good business from locals and they can keep them coming in, then I'm sure their philosophy is why change?  It isn't forward thinking but maybe it just isn't the right time to take on the extra costs.

    Do your small business friends a favor and choose "Debit" as often as possible - it makes their profit margin more reasonable.

  13. MikeNV profile image74
    MikeNVposted 6 years ago

    You are totally missing the point of "why".  It's all about double books and taxes. Credit card transactions can not be hidden. You may not like that... but there is a lot of double books kept in the restaurant industry.  If they didn't they would go out of business.  Restaurants are very difficult to run long term.

    From a business owner perspective there are a lot of hidden fees when you take plastic. I've owned small businesses and worked for small business helping start 3 from scratch.  Plastic can really get abused.

    If you can take cash then you take it.  Small businesses have erratic cash flow, when you have cash in hand it helps solve that problem.

  14. xriotdotbiz profile image48
    xriotdotbizposted 6 years ago

    In my hometown there is restaurant that uses the cash only policy to its advantage.  It is lunch place that sells only ribs or hamburgers and only one variation of each (think Saturday Night Live's- No coke. Pepsi.  No fries. Chips.).  It is open two hours a day 11AM-1PM, Tuesday through Friday.  So with only the restaurant open only eight hours a week, only two menu items, and cash only it does a great business.  Plus the burgers are not cheap, it is a twelve dollar burger!  Along with the signs about cash only it also has a sign saying  "This is not Burger King, you do not get it your way."  So, the gourmet burgers are served as the cook makes them, period.  This time think Seinfeld's soup nazi.

    So, accepting credit cards would actually diminish this restaurant.

  15. WriteAngled profile image91
    WriteAngledposted 6 years ago

    I never use cash for anything costing more than £5. The reason is because I carry small amounts of cash, maximum £50. That way, if my bag is stolen, I suffer minimal loss since I can stop my cards immediately.

    Therefore, any business not accepting cards loses my custom unless I simply want to buy a newspaper or bar of chocolate. If my custom and that of people who think like me is not needed, then obviously the business can keep to a no card policy.

    The whole question boils down to simple profit calculations. The cost of providing this service should be factored into the business costs and the decision based on the outcome.

    In the same way, I have to take account of the fact that I will be charged by my bank for accepting payments in dollars, whether by transfer or cheque, from my US clients. The current exchange rates mean that I actually earn 20% more on my US rates than on my UK rates, so I am happy to bear these costs and give priority to US clients. A couple of years ago, my US rates were equivalent to 75% of my UK rates, so I only accepted work from the US when I didn't have much else in the pipeline.

  16. 0
    lyricsingrayposted 6 years ago

    Hi Write smile

  17. WriteAngled profile image91
    WriteAngledposted 6 years ago

    Hi Lyrics! smile

  18. livewithrichard profile image85
    livewithrichardposted 6 years ago

    It really depends on the type of business. A retail business can offset the costs of a POS system by adjusting the markup of goods.  A service business can too but then risks the competitive bidding process.

    I'm a self employed consultant and I would never even consider taking credit cards. I get paid in thirds for my service which I demand at certain stages.

    However, I do run an online business part-time and I prefer payment via Paypal and attribute the costs associated with accepting credit cards as a cost of doing business and becomes a tax deduction.

    For a mom and pop retail the costs are in the markup of goods so I see no reason NOT to accept credit cards.