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Could local businesses soon be going cashless? Visa is willing to pay them to try

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GRAND FORKS, ND (WDAZ-TV) - Would you still shop at your favorite place if they no longer accepted cash?

A major credit card company seems to think people will, and is even offering to pay small businesses $10,000 to try going cashless.

Visa's war on cash is a trend that could be coming to our area soon.

Visa is offering $10,000 to 50 different small businesses across the country who are willing to stop accepting cash. The company has declared their challenge “the war on cash” and argues that the benefits of going cashless can outweigh the costs of handling cash.

It's an interesting idea, but are local businesses sold? There is no question that paying with credit is convenient. But is it the smartest way to pay?

Barbara Harpster, Grand Forks resident says, "I prefer to pay cash and debit because I don’t want to get into the credit card. I've got them all paid off and I don’t want to go into debt again."

Most folks WDAZ spoke with Friday seem to agree.

Theresa Frans, Grand Forks resident says, "I would like to stay out of debt. Try to pay cash or mainly my debit card."

It's not just the consumer that likes cash. Most local businesses prefer it too.

Pat Madigan, Sky's Restaurant co-owner says, "For convenience side it is kind of hard to beat the credit card. But of course with the cash side you're not paying any fees."

Madigan is intrigued by Visa's challenge.

Madigan says, "Certainly something to think about."

He say's 95% of people who dine in his restaurant pay with plastic anyway. But on the lounge side,

Madigan says, "For the lounge we are still pretty heavy cash."

Madigan definitely sees some benefits to going cashless.

Madigan says, "Its a good way to track what you’re paying out to employees on the tip side"

But there are also drawbacks, like being slapped with credit card fees, which he says run between half a percent and one percent of an average bill.

Madigan says, "I think in this market, cash still has a place and I wouldn’t want to discourage that especially in the lounge."

So Sky's will still accept cash, for now. But even if they were to switch over, would that stop you from going to places?

Frans says, “Probably not. I like to eat.”

Visa's challenge is mainly geared towards restaurants and bars. And aside from the folks at Sky's, I spoke to a handful of bar owners in town today. Every single one of them told me they would not consider switching over. When it comes to quenching your thirst, cash is still king.