A cash discount is an incentive that a seller offers to a buyer in return for paying a bill owed before the scheduled due date. The seller will usually reduce the amount owed by the buyer by a small percentage or a set dollar amount. If used properly, cash discounts improve the days-sales-outstanding aspect of a business’s cash conversion cycle.
Learn How A1 Merchant Solutions | The “Near-Zero” Credit Card Processing … in Orono MN Works!Much like everything in life, credit card processing fees continue to rise. With tight budgets and stiff competition, businesses are ever vigilant in looking for strategies to lower the fees. The need to accept credit cards comes with the heavy burden of various brand fees, aka the swipe fees. These fees range from 1-4% and can significantly impact the bottom line over time. Understanding the difference between a cash discount and surcharge can help you choose if a Cash Discount program is right for your business. Giving businesses the opportunity to accept non-cash payments at significantly reduced fees is a gaping hole of opportunity that entrepreneurs are aggressively seeking solutions for. One solution to this opportunity is the cash discount program, which was federally authorized in all 50 states in 2011. The confusion with this opportunity lies with the wide interpretation of what cash discounting is and how it differs from surcharging. To educate you on what is acceptable and legal we need to understand the differences between a cash discount and surcharge program. Only after you understand the differences will you be able to make an educated choice on what you should consider when evaluating a cash discount solution. Surcharging Surcharging is the process in which a business owner adds a fee to a transaction to cover the cost of credit card processing for the business. As an example, the pizza shop sells a pizza for $10. When the customer pays for the pizza with their credit card, the bill is wrung up as $11.50. ($10 for the pizza and $1.50 for the surcharge) Currently there are 40 states that allow surcharging to customers that pay with credit card. The states that prohibit surcharging are Texas, Oklahoma, New York, Massachusetts, main, Kansas, Florida, Connecticut, Colorado and California. The surcharge is a fixed percentage of the overall price before taxes are assessed. Surcharging is not allowed on debit cards. Cash Discounting When the merchant offers a lower price for the use of cash, this is a cash discount. Cash discounts differ from the credit card surcharge as it is not an additional fee added to the credit card transaction. The Durbin Amendment (as part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act) gives the most succinct definition of cash discounting. It states that businesses are permitted to offer a discount to the consumer as an incentive/encouragement for customers to pay by an alternate method other than credit/debit cards. Alternative methods include cash, checks and gift cards that are applied to the transaction at the time of sale. The cash discount works by applying a customer service fee, in the form of a fixed amount or percentage, on all customer transactions. This fee is removed if the customer pays with cash, check or gift card. Technology that automatically determines the service fee or discount amounts by payment type are mandatory. For a cash discount program to be legal it must present a clear receipt detailing the service fee or cash discount amount. The technology provider collects/escrows the service fees and then pays off the credit card charges on behalf of the merchant, essentially removing the need for any back-end accounting or complex statements. The statements from the technology provider show a dramatic reduction in credit card fees along with a modest monthly fee to pay at the end of the month. State laws vary widely with respect to surcharge programs. At the time of this article, there has yet to be any direct language prohibiting a merchant implementing a cash discount program if consumers are notified prior to purchase.
The Five Keys to Evaluating a Cash Discount Program
Reasons to A1 Merchant Solutions | The “Near-Zero” Credit Card Processing … – Orono MN – If used properly, cash discounts improve the days-sales-outstanding aspect of a business’s cash conversion cycle.1. Legal – Cash discount programs come in all shapes and sizes. Like choosing any vendor, be sure they are in good standing with organizations such as the Better Business Bureau. Be sure that they can detail how their cash discount program complies with state and federal laws. Ask for sample receipts and statements. To clearly adhere to federal standards, the service fee or discount amount needs to be detailed clearly to the customer at the time of the transaction. 2. Equipment – The technology of cash discounting is quickly evolving. Be sure to use a provider that has patent-level technology that is programmed directly into the equipment. The most advanced technologies currently are built for specific terminal brands. In these cases, you can easily negotiate for free and discounted equipment. Cash discount technologies are not universal, so be sure to ask a lot of questions when evaluating equipment options. 3. Hidden Costs – As with traditional credit card processing, there are unscrupulous providers who will take advantage of the savings that cash discounting provides. Get pricing clear and in writing. If your sales rep makes a promise, make him/her put it in writing. The concept of a cash discount program is simple. The provider you choose should be completely transparent in their pricing and not charge unnecessary fees. 4. Fee Options – Good providers offer two service fee pricing options- either by an average ticket size (flat fee) or a percentage of the sale amount. Businesses with a big-ticket discrepancy need the percentage model, while businesses with consistent average ticket size work well with a flat fee. Be sure to know your average transaction size so that you can pick the right model for your cash discount program. 5. Support – For a successful rollout, merchants will need the cash discount supporting materials such as in-store signage, training guides and videos, quick reference handouts as well as a hotline to answer customer questions. A good provider will offer all of these things free of charge, in addition to being on-hand to troubleshoot equipment, answer billing questions, or assist with additional training. Bonus Keys to a successful Cash Discounting Program • Daily Discount – You should receive your full batch for each day you process. The daily discount attempts to do the accounting and reconciliation with every batch. Cash discount programs that use daily discount are non-compliant and should be avoided at all costs. • Tips – Many technologies have not figured out how to account for tips. As previously discussed, it is a requirement of the cash discount program that the convenience fee be displayed to the consumer at the time of the transaction. Since the tip is added to the transaction post swipe, the convenience fee cannot be adjusted when the tip is reconciled at the end of the servers shift. If your business takes tips, e sure to ask if your provider has a solution for tips. • Beware of 100% - Slick marketing hucksters will state that you can eliminate 100% of your credit card processing fees. This assertion is dishonest. Any program that promises to eliminate 100% of your fees, by law, will not be a compliant cash discounting program. Depending on volumes, most merchants can expect an 80-90% reduction in fees. • Trial Period – 10-15% of businesses that try cash discounting ultimately come to the conclusion that it is not the right program for their business. Many legitimate programs recognize this and will offer a trial period of 30-60 days. The best providers will even roll you back into a traditional merchant account with competitive fees and no termination costs.
With retailers feeling the effects of customers who can’t get credit, A1 Merchant Solutions | The “Near-Zero” Credit Card Processing … shoppers with cash in their wallets have the ultimate bargaining chip when it comes to getting good deals. Cash discounts may not be as plentiful as in the past, but there are still some places where cash is king. Here are some things you can often get cheaper with cash. (Saving money can be a chore, but these tricks put money in your pocket with no effort at all. We are located near Orono MN for better service.
Implementing a Successful Cash Discount ProgramTo implement a successful cash discount program, the merchant educate their employees and customers on many of the confusing aspects of the cash discount program. The card brands require the merchant to provide at least one point of program notification prior to the sale that states that a service fee is applied to all sales and a discount is given for a cash payment. (We recommend several points of notification) Typical notification points include doors, registers, end caps and other prominent, highly visible areas. Every employee should be educated on how to verbally reference the program and should be announced at every transaction. Correct and consistent language is imperative for a successful implementation. Phrasing such as “Did you know you can save $X.00 by paying with a cash?” or “We offer X% discount on your purchase by paying in cash, would you like to take advantage?” can help encourage new buying behaviors. Language like this clearly conveys a discount for paying in cash. It is also recommended that merchant has some form of reference information handy to pass along to the customer if they have any questions. In working with countless business owners, there is one consistent fear about going to a cash discounting program. The fear is that by offering a cash discount program, they will anger and ultimately lose customers. Beyond the psychological advantage of using the jargon “Cash Discount vs. Surcharge”, the statistical data does not show any appreciable difference in sales loss due to cash discounting. In fact, our data shows that nearly 99% of customers simply disregard the convenience fee. By sticking to these key points and choosing a reputable service provider, you should be well on your way to implementing a successful cash discount program.
Cash Discounting Program SwyftPAY Orono MN – Permanently lower your processing fees using cash discounting. Your customers will enjoy the benefit of the optional lower cash price and you will enjoy the benefit of more cash in your till at the end of the month. With many different A1 Merchant Solutions | The “Near-Zero” Credit Card Processing … now available in the marketplace, it is important to know what programs are legal and effective. Cash Discounting from SwyftPAY is a Visa Approved, patented technology that is fully compliant with all state laws. To get the right information to make the best decision for your business, call us today 888-256-8917.