REGINA – The Regina Farmers’ Market carries a cash only reputation, but some vendors are adopting new technology so they can also take credit.
“The Square became available to me about a year ago, and it has really made things so much easier for the customers and for myself,” explained Melanie Bannman, owner of Beyond Naturals Health & Body Studio.
Square is a portable card reader she plugs into her phone though the headphone jack that can process credit card payments.
Bannman runs her body sculpting business from her home in addition to selling products like all natural soap and beauty supplies at the Farmers’ Market.
She said Square has encouraged some customers to spend more since they didn’t have enough cash, and this is where it justified the investment.
“They do have a credit card fee. It’s quite low. It’s 2.75 per cent, which isn’t too bad,” she said. “I mean it’s almost three per cent, but you can make it up other places.”
These fees are standard with credit card companies but certain premium cards, like Airmiles and Aeroplan, carry processing fees up to five per cent that businesses have to pay.
These fees add up quickly, and while businesses can’t charge consumers for them directly, they’re generally built into the price.
“I don’t think a lot of Canadians, or very few Canadians know, that they pay about five to seven billion dollars in credit card processing fees every year,” said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, Vice President, Prairie and Agri-Business for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
According to a recent survey by processing payment firm Moneris, 77 per cent of respondents said they prefer to pay with debit or credit. Sixty-five per cent said they rarely buy anything with cash.
But there are still places where cash is king. Mr. Breakfast has been a cash only business for over 20 years; a fact they make abundantly clear with several “cash only” signs.
“There’s not a lot of room for equipment or people lining up at the till, so we thought we’d keep it that way,” explained co-owner Kathy Perentes.
For customers without cash Perentes said that they direct them to one of the several nearby ATM’s.
“I can honestly say we’ve never had a problem. We actually had people who left and came back a few hours later to pay.”Follow @davidbaxter_