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People who pay in cash are subsidizing the store’s costs to handle cash. Paying employees to count the cash (usually after closing), putting it in the safe, distributing the cash to cash registers, refilling when they run out of change, paying for the security service (Brinks etc) to deliver cash to/from the bank, insurance against robbery...

Cash is not free for a store to handle. Stores pay transaction fees on credit cards, sure, but they save on all the costs of cash. A hypothetical store that takes credit cards only would not have any of these costs and their vulnerability to robbery/theft would be limited to merchandise and capital only, saving the cost of insurance against theft of cash. For some types of businesses (services rather than retailers), this makes their office a pretty unattractive target for burglars and eliminates employee theft of cash.






This is an interesting argument, but it is not backed up by actual store behavior.

Stores generally try to give extra charges for using credit cards, not the other way around.

It seems like the fair thing to do, should be to allow a store to do whatever it wants, and make these credit card requirements illegal.

So, it would be allowed for stored to charge extra for either cash or credit, whatever they choose, and the credit card companies would be forbidden from stopping this.


That seems to be what we have in The Netherlands.

It's common for online stores to charge a few percent extra for credit card payment (the base price usually applies for the most common form of online payment, iDEAL, which is cheaper, I guess because the banks cut out Visa/MC).

On the other end of the spectrum, there are some physical stores and restaurants (usually chains) that don't accept cash. They're allowed to do that, given that they state so very clearly upfront.


> "Cash is not free for a store to handle."

that's like saying opening the doors everyday to customers is not free. it's true, but misses the point. handling cash, like paying for utilities, is a fundamental cost of doing business, and so it should be, because the right to anonymity and privacy is woven into cash. not so much with electronic transactions, which are optional, alternative costs.


No, it's not a fundamental cost of doing business, and many businesses no longer so that.

Your argument is one for considering exposing the cost of any payment mechanism to the customers.

(Especially when the cost between different payment mechanisms differ a lot.)


Indeed. And if stores make their accounting and realize that cash handling costs more than credit card handling, they should be able to add a cash surcharge as well.

It just happens that they dont want to do that, because dealing with cash is cheaper


In many places, paying cash is faster than paying by card. Before contactless, with optimized (rounded) pricing, you would often get 3x the throughput (nowdays less) and for small transactions the fees were ridiculous (smaller with contactless).



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