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Cash won't be king if Visa has its way

The credit card company is offering merchants cold hard cash to go cashless

Visa would like for everyone to stop using cash and is putting its money where its mouth is. The credit card company is offering thousands of dollars to small merchants if they agree to stop taking cash.

It's not as outlandish as it sounds. Obviously, Visa comes out ahead if more people use credit cards, but many small businesspeople would be better off too. Most obviously, eliminating cash pretty much does away with the problem of hold-ups. It also stops employees from pilfering a few dollars here and there and reduces bookkeeping chores. (It makes life easier for the tax collector too, but maybe we'd better not mention that). 

So why haven't merchants already gone cashless? One problem is the expense. It requires upgraded point-of-sale and backroom equipment to go completely cash-free, which is why Visa is offering to pay $10,000 each to as many as 50 restaurants and food vendors.

The "journey to cashless," as Visa is calling it, wouldn't restrict all sales to credit and debit cards. "No-contact" payment forms like Apple Pay would also qualify for the program.

“At Visa, we believe you can be everywhere you want to be, and that it should be easy to pay and be paid in more ways than ever – whether it’s a phone, card, wearable or other device,” said Jack Forestell, Visa's head of global merchant solutions.

Visa says that if the experiment with the first 50 works out, it may extend the program. Merchants will be able to apply starting later this month.

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