Credit Card Processing without the Fees

Eliminate up to 95% of Merchant Credit Card Processing Fees with the Cash Discount Program

In 2010, legislation was passed that gave businesses the right to offer a cash incentive to their customers by adding a service fee to all sales. When customers pay by cash, the service fee is discounted. This allows  merchants to ELIMINATE nearly all of their credit card processing fees.

The legislation was known as the Dodd-Frank Financial Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. In 2011, Mitchell Katz, spokesman for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said that the Dodd-Frank law prohibits a payment card network such as visa “from inhibiting the ability of anyone to provide a discount for payment by cash, checks, debit cards, or credit cards.”

How Does the Cash Discount Program (CDP) Work?

The cash discount program is very simple. There is no need to change any of your current prices for goods and services. All you need to do is post signage (where customers can clearly see it) stating that you provide a discount for paying in cash. Your signage should say something like this:

A 4% service charge is applied to all store sales. As an incentive for customers, we now provide an immediate 4% discount by paying in cash.

This signage is provided by your merchant processor. Your merchant processor also provides a new, preprogrammed terminal that automatically calculates a 4% service charge for credit card purchases. The end result is that the merchant no longer pays the credit card processing fee.

Why Implement a Cash Discount Program?

The Dodd-Frank legislation and various subsequent court rulings have made clear that the cash discount program is not the same as surcharging and is therefore legal in all 50 states. Gas stations have been doing this for years, as well as many government agencies, utilities, and other large businesses. In the past couple of years, the cash discount program has started to catch on with small and medium-sized businesses.

Aside from the obvious benefit of saving your business hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of dollars per month while virtually eliminating one of your largest monthly expenses, many merchants wonder if it’s right to pass these costs onto their customers. First of all, many businesses operate on slim margins, and for some, the money saved by eliminating processing fees can make a huge difference to their bottom line.

Aside from that, a growing number of consumers are using credit cards with rewards programs such as cash back and airline miles. Payment card networks like Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express pass the cost of these reward programs on to the merchants in the form of higher interchange fees, which is why some transactions can incur fees as high as 4%. More and more businesses are starting to realize this and have opted to let their customers pay for their own rewards programs.

Will a Cash Discount Program Scare Away My Customers?

This is a legitimate concern and really, this is the only stumbling block that prevents some merchants from taking advantage of the cash discount program. While no one ever wants to pay additional fees, most customers understand how much it costs merchants to accept credit cards, and they are willing to pay a little more for the convenience of using their card.

Thousands of businesses have already implemented the cash discount program, and so far, the vast majority of them have seen virtually no impact on their business. In fact, according to a study by Payments Journal, businesses surveyed reported that 99.2% of customers did not even bring up the cash discount, let alone complain about it.

Customers are used to these types of fees, and in fact, it is often more expensive to withdraw cash from an ATM than it is to pay by credit card to a merchant who has implemented the CDP.

One major reason cash discounting appears to be having nearly zero impact on the merchants using the program is psychological. While it may seem like just semantics, the CDP is a discount to the customer for paying in cash, rather than a surcharge for paying by credit card. Customers love incentives to save money, and this is what the CDP provides. Merchants can also let customers know that, by providing this program, they are able to maintain lower prices and provide greater overall value for their goods and services.

Can I Just Implement the Cash Discount Program on my Own?

Running a CDP without a preprogrammed terminal that correctly calculates the prices can be highly problematic for a couple of reasons. First of all, additional fees that are incorrectly applied to a transaction may be considered a surcharge. Surcharging is illegal in some states, and in the states in which it is legal, Visa and Mastercard have strict guidelines that must be followed on how a surcharge program can be implemented.

Secondly, Visa and Mastercard rules prohibit merchants from profiting off of a credit card transaction, which could happen accidentally if a transaction is calculated incorrectly. Violations of these rules can result in thousands of dollars worth of fines.

How Do I Get Started?

At Trinity Business Services, we are on a mission to help business owners reduce their overhead costs. For many merchants, credit card processing is their largest monthly expense outside of their rent, and we believe you can put that money to much better use reinvesting it in your business.

All we ask is that you give the Cash Discount Program a try risk-free. There are no long-term contracts to sign, and you can cancel anytime. We are confident that once you see that what we are saying is true and you start to realize significant monthly savings with little to no effect on your customer base, you will never want to go back to paying those 3% to 4% fees to run credit cards.

That said, if for any reason, the CDP is not working out for you, we will gladly switch you back to traditional pricing and still guarantee that you will pay less in processing fees than you are paying now. Sound fair?

To learn more about the cash discount program, call us today at 651-202-8636 or email us at