Over the weekend I had the privilege of staying in one of the most beautiful campgrounds I had ever seen. This immaculate spot was the perfect setting by my standards with each site nestled in among the forest. Everything worked and it was close to fun things we enjoy doing. It was the perfect distance from home as well. So why would I consider not going back in the future? They only take cash.
Surprisingly in the these sometimes United States there is more money spent with credit cards than with cash and that’s been true since 2004. In 2016 credit cards eclipsed cash world wide, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Today farmers markets, street vendors and any other small business can accept credit cards with things like Square, PayPal Here and many others. In the Wall Street Journal article it highlighted the story of Park Cafe and Coffee Bar who had moved to cashless transactions recently after being robbed 5 times. Since going cashless they’ve never been robbed once.
My wife and I recently bought a travel trailer for a variety of reasons, including the fact that it forces us to go do things on the weekends instead of sitting here in the house. Since December 10 we have taken five trips in the thing with more planned so our idea is valid.
We also rarely have cash. I combined a pleasure trip to the coast with business to visit several customers and talk business. I had an appointment and had anticipated how long it would take to arrive, check in and set the trailer in the spot. What I hadn’t anticipated is driving all over town to get to an ATM to get almost $200 out.
Furthermore, while I was at this RV park I wanted to fill one of our propane tanks but I wouldn’t even consider going back to the ATM again to get cash for that. And they sold firewood but, again, for cash only. No thanks.
So the business earned my overnight accommodation revenue but not at least another $100 in additional revenue from impulse buys and add ons. Plus they made me late for an appointment which drives me crazy.
But consider this - now everyone who stays there knows it’s cash only. On a busy weekend with 49 spots filled they have over $3600 per night in cash on the property. Imagine a long weekend where they can’t get to the bank - potentially over $14,000 in cash on hand. Even I am tempted to go buy a ski mask and fund a year’s worth of vacations but I wouldn’t buy it from them because they only take cash.
Since Park Cafe and Coffee Bar started taking cash they noticed no decrease in business whatsoever. In fact several businesses including chains are considering going cashless, citing that it’s safer for their employees to not have cash on hand.
Being a nerd, I have ApplePay and can pay with my watch. It’s a ridiculously fast transaction with no inconvenience factor at all but it is more secure than pulling out a piece of plastic with your credit card numbers on it and having it stick out of a chip reading machine for a long time.
The local grocery stores that accept ApplePay now have earned 100% of my business because they’re faster and more secure.
Interestingly the Wall Street Journal article also indicated that many small businesses with low margins survive by doing business off the books. They indicate that the Internal Revenue Service estimates that small businesses account for more Han a quarter of the annual $458 billion difference between what the IRS is owed and what it receives from taxpayers.
Another disadvantage of not accepting cash is that an estimated 7% of US citizens actually have no bank account. When I owned a resort I knew several of my employees didn’t have bank accounts and went to the local grocery to cash their checks. Then they had to go all over town to pay cell phone bills, electric bills and all of that. That’s time better spent with family or just enjoying yourself.
In today’s world many people simply don’t carry much cash. By only accepting cash for payments you are increasing the likelihood of getting robbed, inconveniencing your customers and also putting up a barrier to them spending more than they thought they would.
Written by Anthony B. Barthel