Teignmouth seaside businesses want tourists to bring cash

Jackie Bixby, the owner of Pearl's Parlour in Teignmouth
-Credit: (Image: Andy Simm)

Independent businesses in Teignmouth town centre have united to urge customers to pay by cash if they can to help reduce crippling card machine fees. Since the coronavirus pandemic, traders have reported a significant increase in customers paying by card.

The knock-on effect on small businesses is having to pay expensive bank processing fees which take a lot of sales to recuperate back at a time when other costs are also increasing. Jackie Bixby, the owner of teahouse and eatery Pearl's Parlour on Bank Street, has revealed that on average it needs to sell 68 cups of coffee to pay for its monthly card terminal bill.

To make people aware of the struggles business owners are facing with more people opting to pay by card, Jackie and some other traders in Teignmouth have recently put up notices in their shops asking people to pay by cash if possible. Although the town has lost some of its cash machines over the years, it has welcomed the installation of a second cash point outside the Co-op.

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Jackie, who has been running Pearl's Parlour for the past four years, Jackie recently made a plea to customers to go back to using cash on its Facebook page and has put up a sign in the teahouse. She said she has already seen an increase in people paying by cash and hopes it will continue.

Jackie said: "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.

The cash payment request notice at Pearl's Parlour in Teignmouth
The cash payment request notice at Pearl's Parlour in Teignmouth -Credit:Pearl's Parlour

"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.

The new two cash machines at Co-op in Teignmouth
The new two cash machines at Co-op in Teignmouth -Credit:Andy Simm

"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.