For some local businesses, credit cards aren't worth the hassle or the cost. Consequently, more entertainment spots – particularly restaurants and bars – want payment in cold, hard cash.
When Ruby Erickson, co-owner of The Soup House, 324 E. Michigan St., purchased the business with her mother three years ago, it was already cash-only, and so they decided to keep it that way.
"I just don't think it's necessary for us to take credit cards. Our transactions are for very little amounts: $6, $7, $8," says Erickson.
Erickson says not having to work with credit card transaction companies makes her job easier. She also appreciates not having to deal with malfunctioning credit card machines.
"We try to keep things simple over here. Old school," says Erickson.
Michael Schmidt is the business development manager for SwipeWorks, Inc., a company that works with Wisconsin-based small and medium-sized businesses with the mission to provide cost-effective credit / debit card payment options.
According to Schmidt, the overall cost of accepting credit cards for most businesses is between 1.75 percent and 3.5 percent or more. He understands the impact the fees could have on some businesses, but on the flip slide, believes businesses miss out on sales when they are cash-only.
"Studies have shown that the average ticket is higher for a credit card sale than a cash sale. Even for quick-service type restaurants, consumers paying with plastic are more likely to purchase the add-ons such as sides, and up-sells like specialty beverages," says Schmidt, the former owner of the now-defunct burger and custard chain, Bella's Fat Cat. "I definitely saw that to be the case in my former life as a restaurant owner."
Kaitlin Larson says she spends at least $100 a week at bars and restaurants and is very annoyed when she can't use a credit or debit card.
"When I go out, I don't bring a purse. I just want to tuck my card somewhere and not have to worry about carrying cash or anything else," says Larson.
Sometimes, bars or restaurants with a cash-only policy have an ATM installed on the premises so customers can access money if they were unaware of the policy. Some customers, however, do not find this adequate.
"Why should I pay an extra $3 or $4 to get cash? Shouldn't the restaurant pay for the transaction on their end?" says Larson.
Woodman's Markets has had a no credit card policy since it opened its first location in 1978. In 2004, the company started to accept debit cards along with cash or checks. Although some customers grumble, it works for the company because, it claims, that policy is in part why the stores are able to keep prices low.
"I don't doubt that a lot of businesses have good intentions," says Schmidt.
There are quite a few small, family-owned pizza restaurants that are cash-only including Lalli's Pizza, 8826 W. North Ave. and Maria's Pizza, 5025 W. Forest Home Ave.
Centro Cafe, 808 E. Center St., started out as cash-only with an on-site ATM, but switched to accepting credit cards about a year and a half ago.
Ruth Weill is the front-of-house manager, as well as a bartender and hostess, at Centro and has worked there since it opened in 2009.
"Customers were super happy when we made the change. Some understood our cash-only policy, but most, I think, were kind of annoyed," says Weill.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.