The Pros and Cons of a Cashless Business
With all of the different payment options available these days (and new ones continually rolling out), consumers are carrying cash less and less often. Between this trend and the risks associated with keeping cash in-store, more businesses are choosing to go cashless. While a cashless business offers a lot of upsides, there are some downsides, too. Is going cashless the right option for you?
The Pros of Going Cashless
There is a lower risk of theft. According to Statista, Washington DC topped the 2016 charts with 510.9 robberies per every 100,000 inhabitants. Nevada came in second at 215.6, Maryland at 171, Delaware at 142.7, and California at 139.6 robberies per every 100,000 inhabitants. Robberies are still a common crime all over the world, but when you no longer keep cash on-hand, the risk of left goes down. Cash is a typical target for robbers and thieves, but they won’t have anything to take if you don’t keep any cash in the store.
There are more opportunities for a variety of consumers. Everybody has different payment processing needs and preferences. While credit cards tend to be the most preferred payment method across all industries, electronic payment methods (like PayPal) run a close second. Checks, electronic wallets, and cryptocurrencies are also popular payment methods, showing that more consumers are partial to payment options other than cash. Offering a variety of cashless payment options will open your business to more customers.
The transactions are faster. Cash transactions are notoriously slower than credit cards or other payment methods. Although the cash register can do all of the math, both cashiers and customers must still count the money and change to complete the transaction. These days, transactions via cards with chips take only 2.5 seconds, as opposed to the 30 or more seconds it takes to complete a cash transaction.
Bookkeeping is easier. Bookkeeping can be a major hassle. A lot of programs and software are available to make it easier, but cash transactions aren’t always recorded correctly and often need to be double checked, adding to the workload. When you go cashless, transactions are automatically recorded and stored electronically and can be synced with bookkeeping software to make it an easier, faster process.
It will give you access to valuable data. Because cashless transactions are recorded electronically, they can also provide you with valuable data and insights into customer preferences, spending habits, and buying trends, which can help guide your marketing and sales strategies.
The Cons of Going Cashless
There are cybersecurity risks. Although the risk of theft goes down, cashless transactions are still at risk for cyber attacks. A cyber attack could result in both money and customers’ sensitive, personal information being stolen.
Finances are controlled by banks and governments. As easy as it is for you to accept payments via cash alternatives, it’s just as easy for banks and governments to freeze those assets or garnish wages if you don’t pay taxes, owe fees, etc. Cash on-hand gives you a little bit of liquidity even if electronic funds can’t be accessed.
Some consumers would be left out. There are still consumers who prefer to pay with cash versus any other payment method. If you were to go completely cashless, you could lose their business.
Alternative Payment Options You Should Offer
Credit/debit — Most consumers already choose to pay with credit or debit cards, and it’s likely that you already have that option available. If for some reason you don’t, though, you should make it available ASAP.
eChecks — Checks may seem like an outdated and unreliable payment method, but thanks to innovations like Deluxe eChecks, it’s as valuable as ever. Instead of accepting a check in person and having to go to the bank to process it, you can send and receive checks online for instant payment and print them when you’re ready to deposit. Electronic deposit banking apps also make it easier than ever to accept checks without any additional legwork.
Cryptocurrency — Although it’s not as common a payment method as credit or debit cards or PayPal, cryptocurrency is picking up in popularity and consumers are opting to pay for purchases with it where possible. Accepting cryptocurrency as a payment option is a great way to keep up with technology and put yourself ahead of competitors.
eWallet — eWallets are popular payment methods throughout the world, especially in countries outside of the US. If you do business internationally, you’ll want to offer an eWallet payment option to your customers.
Phone pay — Apple and Google have both released their own payment methods enabling smartphone users to pay with their cell — no card or cash required. Many people like the security and ease of this payment option, so it’s something you should offer.
The Bottom Line
As more consumers use alternative payment methods, more businesses are going cashless as well. Not only is going cashless easier for the consumer, but it also offers a lot of benefits to businesses. Some customers still prefer to pay with cash, though, and when it comes to your business, you may find the cons don’t outweigh the benefits. Is going cashless right for you?
The author has had a working or personal relationship with one or more companies mentioned in this article in the past. Access to mentioned company’s management and information was made through the author’s personal network. All information was vetted prior to posting.
This essay is not intended to be a source of investment, financial, technical, tax, or legal advice. All of this content is for informational purposes only.