Thousands of merchants have sought out alternative processing solutions, and the game-changer has been the introduction of dual pricing—a method that allows businesses to offer different prices for card and cash payments. This approach has evolved, transitioning from cash discounts to service fees or charges and eventually recognized as dual pricing—an approved payment processing format compliant with all card providers, federal regulations, and state-specific guidelines.
In recent years, the transparency of credit card transaction costs has significantly improved with advancements in payment processing services. Merchants now have access to detailed statements and reporting, allowing them to accurately assess the processing fees associated with each transaction. As the cost of doing business continues to rise, it has become evident to many merchants how much they pay to process payments, leaving a sour taste in their mouths.
Dual pricing is a merchant processing program that empowers customers to choose between paying with cash or a credit card at checkout. It operates similarly to other card processing platforms, with the card price incrementally higher than the cash price. The incremental cost is then allocated toward offsetting the merchant’s operational costs.
While gas stations in the United States have long utilized dual pricing—displaying two different fuel prices, one for cash and a slightly higher one for credit card payments—the practice has expanded across various industries. Modern point-of-sale (POS) systems increasingly support dual pricing, leading thousands of restaurants, retailers, and service providers nationwide to adopt this checkout model. These businesses save substantial amounts annually in unnecessary monthly fees by switching.
By presenting both pricing options transparently, businesses can adopt a customer-centric approach that allows individuals to decide how and how much they wish to pay based on their financial circumstances. Separate cash and credit prices can incentivize discounts for paying with cash directly to customers who pay with a credit card, often at a rate greater than their credit card rewards provide. This equitable approach resonates well with customers, promoting fairness and trust.
Advantages for Businesses
Cost savings for merchants: By accepting cash payments, businesses can avoid transaction fees imposed by credit card companies or payment processors. This is particularly advantageous for small transactions where the transaction fee percentage tends to be higher, enabling merchants to save money.
Convenience for customers: Many customers find it easier to manage their expenses when paying with cash, as it eliminates concerns about credit card fees and interest charges. Encouraging cash payments by offering lower prices can incentivize customers to opt for cash over cards.
Improved transparency for merchants: Implementing dual pricing allows businesses to track cash and card transactions separately, facilitating better accounting practices and financial planning.
Increased sales for merchants: A lower price for cash payments can attract customers who might not have purchased. This strategy helps stimulate sales and expand customer reach.
Benefits for Customers
Reduced prices: Customers can save money by paying cash when merchants offer lower prices for such transactions. This is particularly advantageous for individuals who frequently make small purchases, as the cumulative costs associated with card usage can add up over time.
Avoidance of fees: Some customers opt for cash payments to avoid fees linked to credit or debit card usage. For instance, certain merchants impose convenience fees for card transactions or restrict specific discounts and promotions to cash payments.
Requirements & Regulations
It is important for businesses to ensure that their dual pricing practices comply with local laws and regulations and any guidelines set by credit card companies. This ensures the pricing strategy is implemented transparently and lawfully, promoting customer trust and fairness. Here are the factors you need to consider:
1. Display and Communication: The business must display either the credit card price or the credit card and cash price on all items or services sold. Both prices are usually near the point of sale or on price tags, menus, or signage. This ensures clear communication and transparency to customers, enabling them to make informed decisions.
2. Credit Card Processor Agreement: Review the terms and conditions of your agreement with your credit card processor or payment gateway. Some processors may have specific rules or restrictions regarding dual pricing. Understanding any contractual obligations or guidelines imposed by your processor is essential.
3. Transparent Price Display: Display the cash and credit card prices for your products or services. Use visible signage, price tags, or menus to inform customers of the two pricing options. Ensure the display is easily understood and prominently visible at the point of sale.
4. Fee Calculation: Determine the appropriate credit card processing fee to be added to the credit card price. The fee should reasonably reflect the costs associated with credit card transactions, such as interchange fees and processing fees charged by your payment processor. Consult with your processor or financial institution to understand the applicable fees.
5. Technology: Use terminals or POS systems that meet all the card provider, state, and federal regulatory requirements. They must display the two payment and price options at checkout to the consumer and indicate the type of pricing chosen and the itemized amounts on the receipt. At checkout, your POS system must keep track of each item’s cash and credit prices and reconcile it with the payment processor at the end of the day.
6. Customer Communication: Effectively communicate the dual pricing structure to your customers. Ensure they know the pricing options and the benefits of paying with cash. Clearly explain the
rationale behind dual pricing and emphasize the transparency of the process.
7. Employee Training: Train your staff members on the dual pricing system so they can effectively communicate the pricing options to customers. They should know the different prices, payment methods, and any additional information regarding credit card transactions.
8. Record Keeping: Maintain accurate records of your cash and credit card sales to track the effectiveness of your dual pricing strategy. This will help you assess the impact on your business finances and determine if any adjustments are needed.
Ready to Start Saving?
If you’re considering implementing Dual Pricing, partnering with a payment processor well-versed in the program’s requirements is crucial. At SignaPay Southeast, we are pioneers in customer-option-based payment processing and proudly offer PayLo Dual Processing. Our user-friendly platform enables effortless implementation and can save your business thousands of dollars in fees annually. With a wide selection of robust Dual-Pricing POS equipment, top-notch BBB A+ Merchant Support, easy installation, and seamless processing, we empower you to offer more choices and maximize savings with every transaction. Contact us today at 888.287.6033 or visit www.signapayse.com to learn more.