This week marks the beginning of the 3rd spring season at the Western Wake Farmers’ Market. We’re eagerly looking forward to the new vendor line-up, making new friends, and of course, seeing our existing customers again!
Last season, the market began a token program, allowing market patrons to use their credit cards to buy tokens from the market, and use them at vendors. We know that’s a great thing for many customers, and we’re glad it’s possible. We won’t be accepting the tokens, however. Here’s why:
1. We accept your credit cards directly, so there is no inconvenience to you. We take Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and now American Express, too. So even if you’re not carrying cash, we’ve got you covered. And we have secure, handheld terminals so we never store your card information. It’s run on the spot, and we can send email receipts to you, too.
2. There is a cash gap associated with the tokens. When you pay us, we get paid a week later (at best). With our own card processing, we get paid two days later. That may not sound like a big deal to you, but it makes a difference to us.
3. The cash gap isn’t just the amount you pay, it’s the change we have to make, too. Tokens are in $5 increments. Our prices aren’t. We have to make change for your purchase with our cash. Let’s say you buy an $11 bag of coffee with three $5 tokens. We need to give you $4 cash back. So now, we’re not only waiting on an $11 sale, we’re waiting on $15. Again, maybe doesn’t seem like such a big deal to you, but I did a calculation last season and figured that every week we would be waiting on several hundred dollars, much of which we had in our cash box when we arrived, but distributed to customers in the form of change.
4. In the event there is a SNAFU with us getting paid, I would rather be dealing with people who we pay to work for us. No offense to the market organizers.
5. It’s just one more thing to keep track of. I already keep track of our credit card sales and make sure the money shows up. A $600 day is the same amount of work to keep track of as a $400 day – one login to our CC gateway company, and one login to our bank. I can see every transaction, all the time. If we were to take tokens, first of all there is no way for me to monitor it online. That means I need some kind of paper system to keep track of. In addition to the things I already need to keep track of, because we’re still taking credit cards in other parts of our business.
No, I’m afraid the token system doesn’t add value for us, or for you, when buying from us. For vendors without existing merchant accounts and their customers, this is a great thing. But we’ve got you covered. If you do have any questions about this, please let us know.