Cash Discount Processing: Everything to Know

Small business owner offering cash discount processing

Cash Discount Processing: Everything You Need to Know

Cash Discount Processing is the wave of the future. According to a Federal Reserve study, people use cash for approximately one in five transactions in the United States.

Some stores and businesses offer a cash discount program. These businesses take a certain percentage off the total purchase if customers pay with cash.

Any business owner considering a cash discount program probably has questions. You might wonder how these programs work, if they’re even legal, and how much you can save.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about using a cash discount processing system!

Cash Discount Programs: An Overview

Cash discount programs are a way to offset the cost of credit card fees. Any business or individual who accepts credit cards can offer a cash discount.

Essentially, with this kind of program, customers paying with cash can save a percentage of the total price. When customers use a credit or debit card, they cover the cost of the transaction fee.

Your processor will give you a lower rate on processing fees if customers pay with cash. Some people prefer to pay with cash, and these customers are more likely to choose your business if you offer a cash discount.

Businesses that offer a cash discount can also use it to attract new customers. Not only can you use this program to save money on your transaction fees, but you can also generate more business.

How a Cash Discount Program Works

Many transactions use credit cards, especially with online sellers, but the fees can make businesses less profitable. Cash discount programs are a great way for businesses to encourage customers to pay with cash.

The simplest form of a cash discount program is something like, “If you pay with cash, you get 10% off your purchase.”

This type of program is useful for any business that accepts credit and debit cards, but some are better suited for them. Businesses with a product or service that rarely changes are good candidates for a cash discount program.

Examples of businesses that should consider cash discounts include:

  • Restaurants
  • Cafes
  • Service businesses (plumbing, HVAC, pest control, etc.)
  • Medical clinics
  • Automotive shops
  • Salons

Businesses with a more extensive inventory might have a harder time implementing a cash discount. Large retailers, for example, have a constantly changing inventory that makes it more difficult.

The reason certain businesses are better suited for cash discounts is because of how pricing works.

When you offer a cash discount, you include the cost of credit card processing in the advertised price. If a customer pays with cash, they pay a discounted price.

To cover the cost of card processing, businesses must alter their pricing structure. A business that moves a large volume of products will therefore have to work much harder changing their prices.

As a result, food vendors and businesses with a small selection of services are a better choice for this program.

Surcharges vs. Cash Discount Programs

Many business owners confuse cash discounts with surcharges. However, cash discounts and surcharges work in very different ways.

It’s important to understand the differences before you decide which one is right for your company. Cash discounts are easier and more common, and have fewer legal issues.

A surcharge is a fee added to the advertised price if a customer pays with a debit or credit card. With a cash discount, on the other hand, customers paying with a card pay the advertised price.

This makes cash discount programs more flexible merchant services overall. They can be implemented with minimal changes to your business model (and without any need for additional equipment).

Surcharges can also be difficult if they’re applied across multiple products or services. For example, products with varying amounts due at checkout can confuse and frustrate your customers.

Cash discounts also allow users more flexibility when planning out their purchases in advance. They also don’t require any change in customer behavior, such as making sure they know about all applicable fees.

With a cash discount, customers view your payment options as a chance at saving. With a surcharge, it seems more like a hidden fee.

Are These Types of Programs Legal?

When you offer different prices to customers based on their payment method, it can raise legal questions. Businesses may be hesitant to implement a cash discount because they aren’t sure if it’s entirely legal.

Businesses using a surcharge are more likely to run into legal issues. Although legal in most states, surcharges for credit cards have to be clearly displayed at the point of sale.

Some states have outright bans on surcharges for credit card transactions. Cash discount programs, however, are legal anywhere in the United States.

With a cash discount program, the vendor adjusts the price of each product or service to account for the cost of processing fees. When a customer pays cash, the vendor applies the discount at checkout.

Because the customer never pays more than the advertised price (except with regard to taxes), there are no legal issues.

Save on Credit Card Processing

A cash discount program is one of many tools available to help you save money and make your business more profitable. Unlike a surcharge, customers don’t pay an added fee when they pay with a credit card.

Instead, customers who use a card pay the advertised price, while cash-paying customers get a discount. Businesses can use their cash discount program for advertising while saving money on credit card processing.

First Financial offers merchant services with 24/7 customer support. If you need a way to accept credit cards, we can help, even if you’ve been turned down by traditional banks.

Contact us today to learn about our financial services!

Comments are closed.

First Financial® | Corporate Headquarters | Mailing Address: First Financial 2305 Historic Decatur Road, Suite 100, San Diego, California 92106

Client Service Center:  Main: 1-800-315-7791 Fax: 1-800-215-0217

First Financial® & First Financial Online® are Federally Registered Trademarks

©1996-2022 First Financial®, All Rights Reserved. All other products and company names are trademarks of their respective companies. First Financial® does not provide any investment, financial, tax, legal or other professional advice. We recommend that you consult with financial and tax advisors to understand the risks and consequences of buying, selling and holding Bitcoin.*Not all lenders can provide up to $5,000. Must be 18 or over, outside of New York, South Dakota and Hawaii to sign up for a Bitcoin Savings Account.