Using a credit card may be convenient for you – but hardly for retailers. Each time you swipe, a store owner has to pay a processing fee and in some cases, experts say, credit card fees are the biggest costs merchants have. In a desperate move to get us to leave our credit cards at home and use cash as much as possible, many retailers are offering cash incentives.
Here are some places cash may go further than plastic.
#1 AT THE PUMP – You’ve heard or seen by now – a growing number of stations around the country are offering average five to ten cents per-gallon cash discounts. Fill up your tank 4 times a month- that’s about a five to six dollar savings.
#2 AT THE TAILOR OR SHOE REPAIR STORE – Chances are this is a mom and pop joint, where payment rules are more flexible than at a mass chain. We’ve heard anecdotes of people getting 10 to 15% discounts using cash. That’s at least 2 bucks on a $20 repair. If it’s not advertised, just ask. And it helps to be friendly.
#3 AT THE SPA –Last time I was getting a manicure, I saved about $5 paying with cash. Again, this wasn’t advertised, so the next time you head to the day spa, ask for cash perks.
#4 AT THE BAR – Many bartenders say that people often spend 20% more when they use a credit card. And remember - using a credit card means you’ll probably spend 15 or 20 percent of your bill on tip. Save by paying a one dollar TIP for each drink using cash.
#5 AT THE BANK – Sounds weird, since banks ISSUE credit cards, right? But using your credit card for every day expenses – like coffee, gas, groceries - is now seen as a red flag to many banks that you don’t have enough money and may be living completely off plastic. That could cost you a 30 to 50% lowered credit line.
Catch more of Farnoosh’s advice on Real Simple. Real Life. on TLC, Friday nights at 8 p.m.