I walked into a juice bar the other day in San Francisco (writing that makes me cringe), and I was taken aback when I discovered that the business did not accept cash of any kind. It was card, payment app, or no juice at all. (And I had to have juice. [Again, I’m sorry.]) Luckily I was packing plastic and was able to walk out with my beet-carrot-apple-ginger, no questions asked.
What’s most unique about this scenario is how common it’s becoming. A recent New York Times piece took a look at the trend a few weeks back and, anecdotally speaking, I’ve been seeing them pop up just about everywhere from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
So, what gives? Should you go cashless? The truth is, if you’re in e-commerce you already have. The cashless debate is for those brick-and-mortars out there considering making the jump into the digital abyss. Let’s take a closer look at the issue.
There’s a Big Incentive to Switch
In a medium-sized PR play, Visa recently offered 50 restaurants across the U.S. a $10,000 reward for going cashless. The reason for a credit card company’s enthusiasm is pretty obvious — they make oodles of dough off transaction fees and APRs worldwide.
But is it right for your business? After all, aren’t you the one paying those transaction fees?
It’s up for debate. Studies have shown that people spend more when using a card, so there’s a good chance that the increase in spending on your customer’s end could help mitigate these fees. But that’s soft science at best. However, there are certainly benefits to going cashless beyond the assumption that people will spend more.
It’s Easy to Track Your Data
If you do go cashless, one thing’s for sure: you will have a clearer picture of the way money flows into your business. Pretty much all of the card-only POS (point-of-sale) systems provide insightful data analytics, and these easy-to-generate reports are a great tool for any kind of operation. It also makes using automated accounting software that much easier.
Transactions Get Faster
This is especially key for food and beverage businesses. If you hit a big rush, going cashless can make that lunch surge move quicker than a line full of people fumbling for bills and change. It should also be noted that an increasing amount of people simply don’t carry cash anymore, and the optics of making the digital switch might just be, well, good optics.
It also saves time in the back of the house. If you run a cash-heavy setup, then you know all too well the countless hours spent reconciling the money in the register at the end of the day. Going cashless essentially eliminates this task, and can free you up to do more important things like, you know, running your business.
But Consider the Hype
Credit card companies have launched an unofficial “War on Cash,” and if we’ve learned nothing else we should know that anytime anyone declares a “war” on anything, there might be a reason to take pause. This article from the excellent-but-now-defunct The Long and Short serves as a healthy treatise against the move away from cash, and it’s definitely worth a gander. For me, the cashless thing at times feels Big Brother-y, but hey, maybe I’m a luddite after all.
But at the same time, I think about landlines (stay with me). I remember in the late ‘90s when my cousin Brian lived in a house that gasp had no telephone — only cell phones. It was weird. These days the opposite is true. Landlines are pretty much kitsch at this point. Perhaps the elimination of cash is just where we are headed, for better or for worse.
Reduce Your Risk of Theft
It goes without saying that if you don’t have any cash in the till, there’s a reduced risk of someone coming in and robbing the joint. However, it should also be noted that going 100% cashless makes you more vulnerable to cybercrime.
Going Cashless? There’s a Solution for That
If you are one of the increasing number of people who decided to make the switch from paper to plastic, you should definitely look at Seed. We’re a cashless banking solution that’s been built for the digital age. At Seed, you’ll benefit from precise analytics, easy-to-understand reports, next-level customer service, and a swift mobile platform that makes running a small business in the cashless era a breeze.