Last October the Big Needle, Inc, purchased a Clover mini-chip reading card terminal. We have had it since then because, as a small business, we were threatened that as a noncomplying business we would have to recompense people who challenged charges on our non-chip readers. Needle Nicely paid too much for this beauty. Since installing it, I have discovered that Publix doesn't have chip-reading terminals. I have also noticed that the USPS also doesn't have chip-reading terminals, not to mention other "big box stores". As a small business owner, I resent this. Needle Nicely averages $500 per month in credit card charges. That is six thousand dollars a year. Ouch. Many of my customers no longer carry cash and rarely write checks. Give me a break! If you charge one skein of perle cotton ($1.93 with tax), I'm losing money. And my customers think they are supporting my business. Please don't do me any more favors! And even though debit cards cost you nothing to use, Needle Nicely still pays a percentage to accept them.
I understand that my customers want to use a form of payment that is convenient. However, I don't want them to pat themselves on the back for using credit/debit cards. Both of them cost the retailer, because banks have passed the costs on to the retailers so the customers won't get angry about up-front costs. Everyone must remember that someone must pay. In the case of credit/debit cards, the retailer is always stuck with the short end of the stick--that is, we will pay the fees that the banks don't want to pass on to their customers.
If you, as a customer, really want to support the small businesses in your community, consider using cash or checks. A radical thought, but think about it. It isn't that the small businesses will pocket the cash and not report it. Cash has no carrying charges--nor do checks. Please consider these as the way you pay the small businesses you deal with. This ranges from bookstores (Vero Beach Book Center) to butchers (The Butcher, Vero Beach) to Peter and Rita (upholsterers in Vero Beach) to Ray's Auto (a repair shop in Vero), ABC printing, or the Knitty Gritty (both in Vero Beach). Give us all a break and try to help keeping us in business. None of us want to tell you that we don't accept credit/debit cards, but we really, really, want just about any other method of payment. We're small businesses and, unlike big corporations, don't have the leverage to get lower credit card rates. And the carrying charges are becoming prohibitive.
Thirty years ago, many specialty stores refused to take credit cards. In that business climate, they could get away with it. Today's business climate dictates that it is not possible to not accept plastic for payments. I wonder if small business owners will rebel and refuse plastic forms of payment. I am considering it.
Also, I would like to suggest to those customers who tell me "I need to go to an ATM and don't have any cash". Go to the ATM before you patronize a small business. It isn't just the needlepoint shop that will appreciate this--ALL small businesses will appreciate your thoughtfulness. Or, always have your checkbook handy.