A word about cash discounting

There are at least five options for defraying credit card processing cost:

  1. Surcharging
  2. Cash Discounting
  3. Duel Pricing
  4. Convenience Fees
  5. Include the cost in price w/o a cash discount

Here is a short explanation of ‘cash discounting’ from Digital Transactions ( a major payments publication)

Cash Discounting:

There’s no doubt last year’s pandemic crippled sales and brought hardship to many businesses, and unfortunately, many had to close their doors for good, while others had to impose additional surcharges to stay afloat. While credit cards are extremely convenient for businesses and customers alike, the convenience comes at a cost to the business. Business owners needed a way to increase profit without alienating customers.

To help, many businesses implemented a cash discount program to cash-paying customers as a way to increase profit. Giving a discount may sound like faulty logic, but it’s completely possible with cash discount. And honestly, who doesn’t love a discount?

What Is a Cash Discount Program?

Cash discount is exactly what it sounds like. It’s offering a discount to customers who pay with cash or check instead of paying by credit card. With this method, businesses can avoid most of their credit card processing fees by incentivizing their customers to pay by cash. Cash discounting is a win-win for both the merchant and the customer, as long as the customer has cash on hand. If the customer chooses to pay by card, then they will not receive the discount. This ultimately affords businesses the ability to be more flexible in pricing their products and services, while maintaining a competitive advantage.

Can Any Business Offer Cash Discounting?

The short answer is, yes! Cash discount programs are legal in all 50 states, unlike surcharging which varies from state to state. There are a few guidelines regulated by the card industry that owners must adhere to in order to implement a compliant cash discount program.

Pros & Cons of Cash Discounting

There are both pros and cons for a business to move to a cash discount program. Obviously, the biggest positive factor is eliminating almost all of the credit card processing fees, which provides an immediate boost to the bottom line. Other positive factors include the flexibility when pricing products and services.

Negative factors include potentially rubbing some customers the wrong way, those that may not be accustomed to carrying cash. Additionally, some businesses may not be comfortable with their employees handling a larger volume of cash, this should also be taken into consideration when deciding if cash discounting is right for each business.

Are cash discount programs the wave of the future?

Although it’s not for everyone, the idea is worth considering. By businesses offering customers a cash discount, even a minimal one, it can be advantageous for both the owner and customers. Businesses looking to build a strong customer base, can provide a little extra incentive for customers to pay with cash, and even stand out from the competition, it might be worth the time to consider a switch to offering cash discounts to customers.