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Restaurants Not Accepting Credit Cards

The other day, I took my mother, sister and wife out to breakfast. My mom told us about this great diner just down the street so we decided that we would go there, rather than to one of the bigger chain restaurants.

After a great breakfast, I went up to the register to pay the bill. To my surprise, they didn’t accept credit or debit cards (no signs indicating this either).

Their answer to the problem is a nearby ATM. For those not familiar with ATMs, they charge a fee to use them, and most banks also charge a fee as well.

It isn’t uncommon to walk away from an ATM paying $4.00 in fees, and I find this grossly unacceptable, so I don’t use ATMs.

Washing Dishes to Pay The Bill

I’m just kidding, I figured that might get your attention. I luckily didn’t have to wash the dishes. My wife and I are young, but we’re a bit old school in that we always carry a checkbook around with us.

After writing out our check, the bill was settled, and we walked out, each of us in disbelief that we just had a 1995 blast from the past.

Maybe your area might be different, but in our area, there are few places that don’t accept credit or debit cards. Even the independent gas stations accept them (despite offering cash discounts).

Businesses Listen Up

Accepting credit cards isn’t expensive, and can keep customers coming back. From now on, I’ll probably not go back to that restaurant. Not because I’m mad at them, and not because I’m protesting their business practices, but just because it isn’t convenient.

All of my income is deposited into my accounts directly. Literally, I would need to go to the bank if I wanted to patronize that restaurant, or use up checks. Their food wasn’t so good that I would go out of my way to patronize their business. Maybe they aren’t well-informed of the costs to accept credit cards, but you shouldn’t be OK putting a $4.00 fee on your customers because you want to save $1.50.

Fees for Accepting Credit Cards

The fees for accepting credit cards aren’t all that high. The transaction fee would have been maybe 25 cents plus 3% (and I’m over-estimating). A major wrench was the cost of POS devices, but with products like Square, there’s no excuse to not accept credit cards.

How Square works:

  • 2.75% flat fee
  • No monthly fee
  • No setup
  • Free card reader

You plug the card reader into your smart phone, download the free app, and my $40.00 bill would have only cost $1.10 to process!

Learn More: Square Pricing

Credit Cards Aren’t Fair

I understand this argument, why should a business have to pay a fee for me to use a debit card, and why should cash paying customers have to pay increased prices to subsidize me? It’s a reasonable argument, except that whole competition problem restaurants have.

I would never tell a business owner that they must accept credit cards, they’ll just need to accept them if they want my business. Unless they provide an exceptional experience that I can’t get elsewhere, this argument is a losing one. The reality is, businesses need to accept the methods of payment their customers want to use, if they don’t, then they will be hemorrhaging hidden money in the form of customers like me not going back.

What is your experience with this? Do you think businesses should or shouldn’t accept credit/debit cards? Did you ever have to pay a high ATM fee because of a similar situation?

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