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How (and why) your business can go cashless

June 6, 2018

“Cash is king,” as the cliche goes. Unfortunately, cash is starting to go the way of floppy-discs, flip phones, and MySpace.

As a nation, the US is the fifth “most cashless country” in the world, following Canada, Sweden, the UK, and France. Some studies report that nearly 40% of Americans prefer to go completely cash-free. Small businesses are starting to go take note, led by several prominent fast-casual establishments (see: Dos Toros, sweetgreen, Maison Keyser, and Argos Tea). In doing so, small merchants are saving time, reducing costs, and increasing sales.

If cash is king, it may be time to overthrow the monarchy. Here’s how your business can benefit from going cashless, how to set up a cashless system, and the steps a business can take to make the transition seamless.

Why Should You Go Cashless?

Going cashless has several benefits, including a faster checkout process, easier accounting and bookkeeping, reduced theft (or “shrinkage”), higher sales and the ability to set up recurring payments, and curb appeal for younger customers. Overall, you’ll see a combination of cost savings on things like overhead, time, and employee training matched by revenue-increasing benefits like faster checkout and customer service.

If the thought of ceasing to accept cash fills you with apprehension, consider these stats and examples from the UK and Canada, two of the more cashless countries than the US.

  • 70% of Canadians who use their smartphones to pay say “convenience” was their primary motivation (versus using other payment methods).
  • Canadian customers are spending, on average, 12% to 18% more when they use credit instead of cash.
  • London’s transit system saved over £30 million a year just by going cashless.
  • One major UK restaurant chain saw turnover increase by 13.6%, increasing revenue by £10 million in one year.

Small businesses are saving on the costs it takes to process and reconcile cash, while at the same time seeing faster sales turnover and higher check totals. It’s a win-win.

How to Transition to No-Cash

The first step toward transitioning from cash to alternate payments only is to determine what percentage of your transactions are already non-cash. If you have a Clover dashboard, check this easily by taking a look at the Transactions app. Then, you should size up your VIP customers and their preferred buying patterns with the Customers app. This gives you good insight into whether cashless is a good option for your unique business.

If you’re not sure whether cashless is right for you, try the Coinout app. Coinout allows customers to keep change in an online account to reduce loose coins in their pocket. It also encourages customers to donate their change to charity or the tip jar. It can be a nice baby-step towards going cashless or a good compromise while you get your system up and running.

Next, determine what your non-cash system is going to look like. There is an (over)abundance of non-cash payment options your customers may try to use: credit, debit, checks, plastic gift cards, mobile gift cards, NFC/mobile pay, and more. Clover devices support a range of payment options: even the Clover Go can accept chip, dip, or NFC payments, unlike some competitors.

A big barrier to entry that gives many small businesses pause is the transaction fees that come with credit card processors. The statistics show that Americans use cash for around 14% of their everyday purchases, while 80% use a debit or credit card. It’s probably inevitable that you already accept some kind of non-cash payment: now, by going fully-cashless, your system will be better equipped to process sales no matter what the payment method.

Cashless + Customer Service

One final piece to the puzzle? Communicating your business’s no-cash policy. Certainly, you don’t want to miss out on a sale while making the transition to cashless. Here’s how to make the transition easy for your customers—and your staff.

  • Start communicating the change sooner, rather than later. Give plenty of warning before making the switch!
  • Don’t insist on a minimum credit order amount. Flexibility is key.
  • Empower your staff to provide awesome customer service. Dig Inn, another fast-casual cashless restaurant, lets employees give a customer here and there a free meal when they don’t have an accepted payment method.
  • Pick a system that evolves with the payment methods. Clover and other POS systems are constantly working on technology that will accept any payment method that walks through the door—so keep your training for employees up to date.
  • Have a contingency plan. Sometimes (mostly on Mondays, it seems) things can go wrong. The wifi might be down, or a card reader is on the fritz. Have a backup plan so you can still accept payment should the worst happen.

Cashless is the way of the future. Don’t get stuck in the dark ages! Start exploring your options to start saving time, money, and headaches.


Clover is sold by leading U.S. banks including Bank of America, BBVA, Citi, PNC, Sun Trust and Wells Fargo. You’ll also find Clover at our trusted partners including Ignite Payments, Restaurant Depot, and Sam’s Club. For more information, visit us at clover.com.

[Image: No Sale by Steve Snodgrass on flickr]