Seaside businesses issue 'pay by cash' plea after crippling card machine fees

The cash payment request notice at Pearl's Parlour
-Credit: (Image: Pearl's Parlour)


Seaside businesses are urging customers to pay by cash, after being hit with crippling card machine fees.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, independent traders have noticed a significant uptick in customers opting for card payments. This shift has had a domino effect on small businesses, forcing them to shoulder expensive bank processing fees which require substantial sales to recoup, especially at a time when other costs are also on the rise.

Jackie Bixby, who runs the teahouse and eatery Pearl's Parlour in Teignmouth, revealed that they need to sell an average of 68 cups of coffee just to cover their monthly card terminal bill. In an effort to highlight the struggles business owners are grappling with as more people choose to pay by card, Jackie and several other traders have recently posted notices in their shops encouraging customers to pay with cash if they can, DevonLive reports.

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Despite the town losing some of its cash machines over the years, it has welcomed the addition of a second cash point outside the Co-op. Jackie, who has been at the helm of Pearl's Parlour for the past four years, recently took to Facebook to urge customers to revert to using cash.

She has already noticed an increase in cash payments and is hopeful this trend will continue. Speaking about the issue, Jackie stated: "In Teignmouth, there are a lot of smaller, local businesses.

"We share information between us such as which card providers have the best deals. With the costs of absolutely everything going up and wages increasing, we are limited to what we can do to evolve our businesses if the money goes out in banking charges.

"When you ask people to pay for cash, some think it's because you're avoiding paying tax or are hiding cash, but you still have to pay that. It's about getting rid of the negative image of money and promoting the value of money and how far it goes rather than the never-ending card tapping culture.

"I have always worked in hospitality but definitely since Covid there has been an increase in card payments as that was what was encouraged. I totally understand it's easier for people to pay by card but when it comes to a small business, if you have a quiet day your whole day's takings could end up going on card machine payments.

"People don't realise how much it is for us. The charge is 1.5% per payment but for credit cards it's 3% and there's VAT on top, plus a terminal service charges and data security charge so it works out about 5%.

"We would never not take card and we want to keep prices down for customers but at some point we will have to include that charge back. We are quite lucky as we are near two brand new cash point machines at the Co-op."

"They recently increased the number from one to two so we saw it as the perfect opportunity for us to start encouraging customers to use cash. Notices have been put up in some shop windows and if people pay in cash then that money stays in the community rather than being held by banks to never be seen again."

In 2011, 55 per cent of UK payments were made in cash. By 2032, it is estimated only seven per cent will be in cash. The total number of cash payments made in the UK during 2022 increased to £6.4 billion.