Is the Cash Discount Program suitable for all businesses?
PCBancard Cash Discount Program is most ideal for businesses with low ticket sales or businesses that are passing their merchant processing fees to the customer.
Is it legal to offer a Cash Discount?
The Dodd-Frank law prohibits a payment card network such as Visa or Mastercard from inhibiting the ability of anyone to provide a discount for payment by cash, checks, debit cards, or credit cards. Hence, as stated by the Federal Trade Commission in May of 2011, surcharging and cash discount are legal.
Why should I implement the Cash Discount Program?
PCBancard’s Cash Discount Program can help businesses that are impacted by high processing costs save money by virtually eliminating their monthly card processing fees.
What should I do to make sure I’m using this program correctly in my business?
To correctly implement a Cash Discount program, you don’t need to change any of your prices. We will provide signage which you can post that states that all transactions now carry a 4% customer service charge. The proprietary technology is provided by PCBancard. Any consumer who pays with cash, will have this fee waived. Your posted prices are your cash prices. Consumers who pay with a method other than cash will see a 4% cash discount fee listed on their receipt at the register, which we had programmed into your terminal.
I thought it’s illegal to charge a fee if someone uses a credit card?
There has always been a stipulation in the Visa and Mastercard regs that allow for a discount when paying with cash. While this may seem like an issue of semantics, It’s simply adhering to the wording of the Visa and Mastercard regulations that allow the cash discount program to be implemented.
Here’s the verbiage specific to both Visa and Mastercard Rules and Regulations:
From Mastercard Rules 15 November 2016
5.11.2 Charges to Cardholders
A Merchant must not directly or indirectly require any Cardholder to pay a surcharge or any part of any Merchant discount or any contemporaneous finance charge in connection with a Transaction.
A Merchant may provide a discount to its customers for cash payments. A Merchant is permitted to charge a fee (such as a bona fide commission, postage, expedited service or convenience fees, and the like) if the fee is imposed on all like transactions regardless of the form of payment used, or as the Corporation has expressly permitted in writing.
From Visa Core Rules and Visa Product and Service Rules – 22 April 2017
188.8.131.52 Discount Offer – US Region and US Territories In the US Region and a US Territory, a Merchant may request or encourage a Cardholder to use a means of payment other than a Visa Card or a Visa Card of a different product type (e.g., Visa Classic Card, Visa Traditional Rewards Card, Visa Signature Card) than the Visa Card the consumer initially presents. Except where prohibited by applicable laws or regulations, the Merchant may do so by methods that include, but are not limited to: Offering the consumer an immediate discount from the Merchant’s list, stated, or standard price, a rebate, a free or discounted product or service, or any other incentive or benefit if the consumer, who initially presents a Visa Card, uses instead another general purpose payment card or another means of payment.
Is this the same thing as a Surcharge? I hear that’s only allowed in certain states.
No, it’s not. Although it seems similar, it is actually very different, particularly in the eyes of Visa and MasterCard. Surcharge is allowed in all but 10 states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma and Texas, plus the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico).
The Surcharge carries with it several stipulations:
- Only credit cards may be surcharged – no debit cards
- Signage must be posted for at least 30 days prior to implementing a surcharge alerting your clientele
- There is a 4% maximum that can be imposed
- Surcharging is only allowed in states where the program has not been excluded
There are no limitation with PCBancard Cash Discount Program as you are not implementing an additional fee for accepting a credit card, you are providing a discount for those who pay with cash. This is a clear distinction, and one that Visa, Mastercard, and the courts have agreed upon.
Can I just implement the program myself?
When a fee is incorrectly applied to a transaction, any additional fee charged to those consumers using a credit card is labeled a Surcharge and that is expressly forbidden by Visa, Mastercard, and the processing provider without taking very specific steps (see previous question). The way around this process is to allow us to automate a Cash Discount Program for you which is different than the Surcharge. We will automate your equipment so that the 4% Service Fee is automatically added for those customers using any method of payment other than cash (essentially credit cards), but those who pay with cash receive a discount.
By utilizing the PCBancard Cash Discount program, we establish proper pricing for you to ensure you stay within all stated guidelines.
Won’t my customers be upset by this fee and want to go elsewhere?
In fact, surveys have shown that over 80% of respondents stated they wouldn’t think twice about paying 4% Service Fee (only $1.00 on a $25.00 transaction) for the convenience of using their credit card rather than carrying cash. And we all know that fewer and fewer of us are carrying cash these days…and everyone loves the rewards associated with their credit cards.
What if I don’t like the Cash Discount Program after a few days, weeks, or months?
If for any reason you wish to discontinue the PCBancard Cash Discount Program, we will immediately change you back to traditional Interchange Pricing.
Why does PCBancard offer the Cash Discount Program?
PCBancard was formed with the intention of acting in the best interest of our merchants, saving our clients millions of dollars each year. The PCBancard Cash Discount Program creates a path to save our clients even more money each month.
Will a Cash Discount Program totally eliminate my monthly card processing fees?
Most merchants will see some small fees on their bill as it’s hard to get every transaction to zero out completely based on all the variances in the Interchange billing structure. That said, we typically see the monthly fees drop down below $100 per month.