Cash. Get it. Use it.

Posted: April 18, 2015 in Miscellaneous
Tags: , , , , , , ,

“That will be $2.50.”  The person on the other side of the counter proffers a credit card. “Do you possibly have cash?” I ask.  “No, sorry.”  “That’s fine. No worries,” I say as I run the card, in the process, incurring a charge to the business, a charge that’s completely unnecessary and impacts every business, small ones more so than larger ones. And just so you remember, anything raising the cost of doing business, eventually gets passed on to the customer.  That’s you and me.

While I’d love to see credit card companies not charging businesses for accepting credit cards, I realize that’s not going to happen. I’m encouraging you as a consumer to carry cash for small purchases, purchases of $10 or less.  It’s an easy way to support small businesses as well as to do your part to keep costs down.

While my boss hasn’t said what she’s charged per credit card use, it’s simple math to realize that as the amount of the purchase gets smaller, the percentage of the sale taken by the credit card company’s fee gets large; the percentage, not the amount.  One local grocery story has stopped accepting credit cards for sales under $10 A;do doesn’t take credit cards at all, only debit or cash.  I don’t know how many other businesses might do this, but if we all started using cash for small purchases, yes, even at McDonald’s or other large companies, it would go a long way to showing support for business, particularly those smaller, local shops we profess to support.

It doesn’t cost  you anything extra.  But it allows businesses to keep a bit more of their profits.  That means they can pay their employees a bit more, expand, hire another person, or just go on vacation a day longer.  All good things.

So next time you’re at the ATM (one where you’re not charged a fee, please) or at the bank, get some cash.  Use it for those under-ten-dollar (or your country’s equivalent) purchases.  It won’t cost you anything; in fact, it might make you spend less when you actually see the money go out, not just put it on the plastic.  But it will help the owner of your favorite tea shop, coffee shop, local hardware store, deli, or other store.  And that helps all of us.

  1. I mostly pay in cash, I like it to stay on top of things that way…:o)

    • I think more people in other countries use cash for at least smaller purchases, but here in the States, the trend seems to be plastic for everything.


      • a lot of stores have signs near the checkout that they only take cards for a purchse around 10 euros…. the worst thing in france is that so much peeps pay with checks…. that’s always an adrenaline-kick when you are in the waiting line behind 87 people who literally “CHECK out” :o(

      • I can imagine. Not many people using checks here, especially with online banking, but certainly not for purchases at a store. Thank goodness, at least from a waiting point of view. 🙂

  2. Norm 2.0 says:

    Good topic for a post. I’m sure most people don’t even think of the merchant fees charged by the card companies.
    Many small businesses around here will not take credit cards for sales under $10 or $15 for this very reason.

    • Norm, I think most people don’t even know or maybe even consider it, but everything that raises costs for businesses ultimately costs us as consumers at the other end. It’s the same idea as people stealing thing from work and trying to justify it by saying, “It’s big company. They can afford it.” The company won’t eat the costs, they’ll pass costs on.


  3. Oh, I’m sitting here hanging my head in shame. I always wonder where cash disappears to but when I charge it I can see where it goes. BUT, you make a very valid point, and I’ll try to do better. Thanks for the reminder.

    • If you keep your receipts, you can see where the cash goes, too, Judy. 🙂 I’m not trying to make anyone feel ashamed, only to consider the true cost of using plastic, especially in these types of situations. We use our credit cards for most things. That way we pay once and as you say, can see where everything goes. However, for these smaller purchases, I always use cash, especially now that I’ve learned the results of using a card. I’ve seen studies that show if people use cash for most things, they tend to spend less because they can actually see and feel how fast the money goes.


  4. giberson9 says:

    Being a small business owner I couldn’t have said this better myself. We do hang a sign asking for minimums on charges however I cant bring myself to turn away a customer without the cash. I don’t think people understand the huge impact it has on small businesses when they use cards for such small purchases.

    • Thanks for your input, Christine. I’m waiting for the day when businesses will offer discounts for cash. In the meantime, I try to avoid all fees and help businesses avoid them, too.


  5. Angeline M says:

    Very good reminder. I’m guilty of never having any cash on me, and will charge a bottle of water or a coffee. I aim to change my ways.

    • If so, Angeline, my post was worth writing. Seriously. And let you friends and children know, too. Teens and young adults are some of the biggest offenders, but since schools don’t appear to teach finance or economics at all, I can’t completely blame them.


  6. Sue says:

    Cash won’t be around forever…..but I for one, would far rather use it for small purchases, and will continue to do so until it’s no longer possible.

  7. We have a similar problem here. The problem is that I never seem to have any cash on me. But then again my bank account is generally empty. And I don’t have a credit card at the moment as well.

  8. I do use cash for small purchases but see my daughter waving plastic for just about everything. Really think using notes and coins makes you more aware of the expenditure.

  9. Su Leslie says:

    I’ve become really cashless in the last few years, mainly because my bank doesn’t charge transaction fees on my card. Yet, when I was working at Sculpture OnShore last year, I was really aware of the cost to us of credit card fees. Shows how easy it is to disconnect our own behaviour from others’. Or maybe it’s just me? Great post; I will try to do better.

    • I think lots of people don’t realize the costs to small businesses from the use of credit cards. Hopefully a few people learned a bit more about it from my post, as you did from your experience. Personal experience is the best teacher.


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