Page 26

GettiNg Started

T

By Caitlinkin Peter

POINT-OF-SALE SYSTEMS How to Be Inclusive with Your Payment Methods 26 ] JULY 2019 » HOW-TO HANDBOOK

he hospitality industry in the 21st century has witnessed a host of technological innovations that have drastically impacted production and efficiency. From automated espresso machines and soda dispensers to self-checkout stands and mobile payment apps, these developments aim to improve customer satisfaction while decreasing transaction times. Recently, there has been a rise in businesses going cashless; restaurants, cafés, and grocery stores across the country are opting to not accept physical currency, but rather only card and mobile payment apps like Apple Pay or Venmo. In 2016, Bluestone Lane Coffee famously adopted a cashless policy, citing increased checkout speed and enhanced store operations. “In a café, you really can see one of the compelling cases for cashlessness,” says Bill Maurer, director of the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion at the University of California, Irvine. “It moves people through the line quickly, and if that’s what your business is about—getting people’s order and getting them served, moving them down the line to get to the next customer to increase your quota and your volume—then cashlessness is proved appealing.” The latest data from Pew Research Center shows that three in 10 Americans make no purchases using cash during a typical week. And with point-of-sale systems like Square, Clover, and Toast, business owners can easily manage their customer database, track and analyze customers’ purchasing habits, and incentivize customers with loyalty programs and birthday rewards. As consumer behavior continues to skew towards plastic and digital means of payment, combined with streamlined POS systems, it’s easy to see the appeal of a cashless business. However, while there are no federal laws requiring stores to accept cash, many municipalities, including San Francisco, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, have passed legislation prohibiting businesses to go cashless. “Some states are worried about [going cashless] because you start to set up the conditions for discriminating against people based on income, based on whether or not they have a bank account,” says Maurer. According to a 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, 8.4 million U.S. households are unbanked, meaning they do not have a checking or savings account, with unbanked rates for black and Hispanic households substantially above the national average. Additionally, approximately two-thirds of unbanked households predominantly paid bills using cash in 2017. There are many reasons why people may be unbanked, including not having identification, a