“Can a business refuse to accept cash?” would once have been thought a very unlikely question to be facing the retail community.  But earlier this year the New York City Council was in fact considering a proposal to ban restaurants and retail establishments from going cashless, according to the National Law Review.  While most of us are happy to accept payment in any form, there has been a trend towards avoiding paper currency and coins.  

Cash handling does have its challenges, including the need to make change and to take deposits to the bank.  There is the threat of robbery, of course, or internal theft by employees.  And opponents to using real money claim that bills carry germs – yet another danger we are exposed to every day as we run our stores.  It’s amazing that so many of us are still here, between the challenges posed by online shopping and the pathogens on the dollars we receive from our loyal customers.

Shoppers are definitely moving towards using plastic as payment, and the decline in the use of personal checks has had a positive impact in the reduction of the number of NSF returns. We also see less use of cash, even for small purchases, among younger customers.  Not having to worry about having enough money on hand for a purchase sometimes results in larger average sales.

Now shoppers won’t even have to worry about having plastic in their wallet, thanks to the newest iteration of Apple Pay and Apple Wallet.  On March 25 it was announced that Apple Card will make it possible for  iPhone users to pay without using an actual credit card, allowing them to be able to “lead healthier financial lives” – and this was not a reference to the germs on paper bucks.

According the the company, “Apple Card transforms the entire credit card experience by simplifying the application process, eliminating fees, encouraging customers to pay less interest and providing a new level of privacy and security.  Apple Card also offers a clearer and more compelling rewards program than other credit cards with Daily Cash, which gives back a percentage of every purchase as cash on customers’ Apple Cash card each day.”

The healthier financial life reference has to do with consumers having a better understanding of their spending, with the ability to pay down the total and compute interest right on their phone.  Transactions will automatically be color coded by spending category, and merchants names and locations will be clearly labeled.  

Available in the US this summer, each use of the Apple Card will create a one-time unique dynamic security code, with the goal of creating fast, secure transactions.  A special titanium version of the card will be available to use where Apple Pay is not accepted, and this card will have no card number or security data on it.  But if you want to encourage your customers to make the most of this new technology, you’ll want to have a contactless-payment-capable terminal.  And for the rest of your shoppers, make sure you have change for a twenty.

Happy Retailing,
Carol “Orange” Schroeder