Visa Takes the War on Cash to the Next Level

Visa is offering a high-value incentive to get restaurants to stop accepting cash. 

The credit card company will be giving up to 50 restaurants and food vendors $10,000 apiece to upgrade their payment technology if they agree to stop accepting cash at their establishments. 

Last week, Visa announced a campaign to steer Americans from using cash altogether and on June 22 at the 2017 Investor Day, the company addressed its goal of making more establishments completely cashless.

“One of the truly exciting aspects of the payments market is that it is very dynamic and one of the industries where the pie is actually growing every day. We are not having to battle for share in a static market. We’re focused on putting cash out of business and getting more and more consumers into the payments market through more and more transactions on Visa cards,” said Al Kelly, Visa’s CEO at the Investor Day.

Visa is willing to make a massive investment of up to $500,000 to convert restaurants, cafes and food trucks to going “100% cashless,” meaning these businesses will only take payments through credit cards, debit cards and on smartphones.

“At Visa, we believe you can be everywhere you want to be, and that it should be easy to pay and be paid in more ways than ever, whether it’s a phone, card, wearable, or other device,” said Jack Forestell, Visa's head of global merchant solutions in a press release. “With 70 percent of the world, or more than 5 billion people, connected via mobile device by 2020, we have an incredible opportunity to educate merchants and consumers alike on the effectiveness of going cashless.” 

Visa is promoting the cashless challenge with a social campaign using the #GoCashless. 

But merchants will ultimately be paying Visa back for the incentive. Card fees range from 1-3%. Visa made $15 billion from processing transactions in 2016. 

Sweetgreen and some of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group restaurants already have gone cashless. 

Do you think Visa will win the war against cash? 

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