Recently I decided to bring the Unicorn into the 21st century and start taking credit cards. I was determined NOW was the right time to do this. I had researched the option two years ago and decided against it as the fees were so high. But this time it was different because I wanted to start accepting cards. Our biggest complaint on the trusty Yelp site is that we are cash only. And so I found myself in an uncomfortable cubicle at the bank talking percents and transaction fees with a banker and credit card pro that joined us via speaker phone.
I didn’t stop at one meeting. I called my other café owner friends and asked them for the name of their credit card person and met with them.
After all these meetings I came away with a few realizations:
-Credit cards are a dirty business. From every angle dirty.
- Credit cards are expensive. 3-4% in card fees, plus .04-.20 cents per transaction.
That would cost the café about $3000-$4000 a year. But every one of the people I spoke to told me I would increase my sales by 20%. And I could get gift cards with our logo on them that would only cost me .20 per swipe.
I want the Unicorn to succeed. I want to increase our business. I do not doubt that our sales would increase if we started taking cards. And I love pretty looking gift cards. But on another more immediate level I do not want to drag the Unicorn into the dirt of this business. One of the people I met with confessed to me that he had been in charge of selling every Target, k-mart, Wal-Mart, and Menards credit card out there. That they strategically placed their tables and gave beanie babies away so that kids would want them. I asked him how he did his job in good conscience and he replied, “fifteen dollars an app.” That sentiment is the opposite of the Unicorn. Maybe we are missing out on a great business opportunity by not taking cards. But if getting that extra business means becoming part of a larger business that takes advantage of both me and you, I will pass. One of the things I love about the Unicorn is that it is simple. So…to all you card carrying folk here are some places within steps of the Unicorn where you can get cash.
ATM’s Near Unicorn Café:
CVS: 1711 Sherman Ave: They have an ATM machine. They also do cash back so if you get a pack of gum you won’t have to pay the service fee at the atm.
Bank of America: 1705 Sherman Ave: Right next to the CVS.
Burger King: 1740 Orrington: They have a Chase ATM and are right around the corner from us.
I’ll reevaluate this again in another year. And who knows, maybe it will make sense to take cards in the future. But for now the Unicorn remains in the 20th century and is cash only.