Amid inflation, some local businesses also face credit card fees

Americans are increasingly ditching cash in favor of credit cards.

“It seemed like I was the only one using cash,” Cambria resident Karen Lawson said.

Many people like Catalina Restrepo understand this shift, and some attribute it to a desire to rack up credit card points.

“I know sometimes credit cards will tell you there's no interest for the first year, and then you get points and so on,” she added.

However, for local business owners like Tammi Price, accepting credit card payments comes with high monthly fees.

“Depending on how much processing you use, your bill could be anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000,” Price explains.

Price has owned the Village Cafe for the past 15 years. She has faced challenges during the pandemic and is now dealing with inflation, telling me she has had to adjust her prices multiple times.

“Eggs are $30 a carton. Prices are as high as $90 or more,” Price said, “so companies have to raise prices accordingly.

As food prices continued to rise, Price felt she had no choice but to pass on credit card charges to customers.

“I hate forcing this on my customers,” Price said.

But she's not the only one. Restrepo owns a hair salon in the Bay Area that recently switched to cash sales.

“I realized that sometimes I was paying up to $700 a month in credit card fees,” Restrepo said.

People like Anthony Wood of Arroyo Grande said they are seeing more businesses taking the same action.

“I totally understand when you have a business owner who can't afford the price increase or doesn't want to pass on those costs,” Wood said.

Down the street, Sidewalk Café has invested in technology such as Clover cash registers. It helps streamline transactions and manage credit card charges. Although the start-up cost was $3,000, the owners felt it was a worthwhile investment.

Price said charging small fees for non-cash payments has led to some customer dissatisfaction, but it's a necessary step for her to combat rising costs.

“Small mom-and-pop stores like this are really struggling. Of course, I'm thinking a lot more than the bigger places,” Price said.

It will be illegal for businesses to advertise prices that do not include all required fees under a new state bill that comes into effect on July 1. More details about this legislation can be found here.

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