What is Cash?

More than once a customer has come into our store and wanted to
negotiate a “cash price”. Once we established a special price,
they pulled out a credit card to pay for the item. Our Visa and
Master card charges total about 3% (swipe, batch, statement fee
etc.). I don’t consider using a credit card to pay as being “cash”.
Any comments?

Thanks in advance.
Dale Pavatte
Decherd, Tennessee

    I don't consider using a credit card to pay as being "cash". 
Any comments? 

I’ve had that happen too. If someone negotiates for “cash”, they
want a discount below the marked retail price. My retail price covers
the CC company fees. If they pay with a credit card, they are charged
retail–that’s NOT a cash sale.

–Kathy Johnson
Feathered Gems Pet Motif Jewelry

More than once a customer has come into our store and wanted to
negotiate a "cash price".  Once we established a special price,
they  pulled out a credit card to pay for the item. 

thats downright rude! Cash is by definition the kind of money that is printed on paper and folds into your register.... Im not sure,
though, how you could (politely) insist on getting cash in such a
transaction. Maybe you should make it clear during the negotiation
process, that a cash price means just that…green foldable
immediately spendable, etc… and don`t ever negotiate for a cash
price with the same person that handed you a card again

just my 2cents

This seems to be more your problem than the customers. If you
negotiate a cash price, that is what they have to pay with. If they
pull out a credit card, you then say “If you use that then we will
have to charge you the full price listed”. It’s up to you to stand

Daniel R. Spirer, GG Spirer Somes Jewelers 1794 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02140 617-491-6000 @spirersomes

I can understand cash discounts. Obviously it saves the merchant
those nasty credit card fees. Cash is hard green backs, not checks,
unless the check is verified. This sounds like the old bait and
switch trick to me. Worked a better deal for cash then handed you
plastic. Price should have been the original posted price, not discounted for cash.

Our response is simply to tell the client that our profit structure
is too low to allow us to “absorb” the 2 1/2 percent cost which the
credit card company collects for the “privelage” of using their
money. This is the same reason why we choose to no longer accept
American Express, where the BASE discount is 4 1/2 %.

Hi Dave Unfortunately, you can’t charge for the fees your processor
hits you with (at least here in Georgia), but I’ve had a lot of
success with offering a “cash discount” up front which usually
satisfies the customer’s desire to win the haggling contest. I
usually give a 5% discount for cash, and if the customer then pulls
out a credit card I gently remind him or her that our deal was for
cash only. It works wonders, especially if there are other customers
in the store.

Clyde Gilbert
Greenwood Studio

I think “cash” needs to be defined at the beginning of negotiations.
It doesn’t hurt to make the customer aware that a credit card
transaction is NOT cash. I don’t think that a check is cash either.
Nope. Cash means legal tender in whatever nation’s currency you
honor. If there is an ATM machine nearby, that location is good
too! 09 Personally, I like to see those portraits
looking back at me :wink: Judy in Kansas

Hi Dale, I’m with you! A cash price to me means folding money. In the
US, Greenbacks! A credit card or check won’t cut it.

Cash is negotiable anywhere, credit cards & checks may not be.


I’m always amazed at what people consider to be cash. At my last
show a customer informed me that his personal check was the same as
cash. I said no, a check can bounce. Cash can’t. Cash is only the
green stuff you can spend at your grocery store on the way home.
Nothing else. Don’t let them pull something.

We’ve had some similar situations in our shop. When we get these
’wheeler dealers’ in who seem to think they are entitled to a
discount (prices in our place are pretty low to begin with), we make
it abundantly clear that cash means the green stuff that the feds
print up. NOT credit cards, NOT checks, just stacks of greenbacks.
We also make it clear just how long that price will be honored.
Generally, it is about long enough to drive to the bank
and get the cash, or the next business day at the most.

Dale, I get the cash customers as well. Some Really only want a one
or two percent discount. I’m ok with this and with a sizable
purchase I may give them the discount. However, most of my sizable
sales are diamond sales witch I have already figured a cash price

It has been my experience that many jewelry stores and other stores
as well are willing to give as much as ten percent cash discount.
This is only lucrative if the store owner is going to pocket the
cash from the sale and keep it off of the books. The theory is that
if it were run through the business it would have to be drawn as
income thus being taxed. So the business owner now has avoided
paying income tax but given a discount at a lower rate than he would
have been taxed. The customer gets a discount, doesn’t pay sales
tax and they sure feel like a big shot for being such a savvy
shopper. I am also sure that it does there ego good to know that
they just made the store owner sell his integrity just by flashing
cash around.

My recommendation. Don’t do it. Not only is it illegal and unethical
but it will screw up your books. Plus for the most part cheap people
hang around cheap people. Do you want your customer base to be a
bunch of cheap skates. Didn’t think so.

Oh, and if a customer tried to pay for an item with a credit card
after negotiating a cash price, I think I would just bust out

John Sholl

Sort of like offering a prime rib dinner for $5.99 and what you get
is a piece of hamburger.

Cash is cash,credit card is credit card and regular credit (you
carry it on the books) is regular credit.

A fish is not a bird is not a snake, etc…


Cash is green paper or a check, I think. However, I guess customers
think that “cash” means anything that is an immediate form of
payment. Let’s face it, customers can really be naive in thinking
they do you such a favor if they buy from you that you should be
happy with calling a 3% fee the same as cash. Also, most probably
don’t even know that we pay processing fees. I guess it all boils
down to having to explain ahead of time that cash means greenbacks
or a good check.

J. S. Ellington

Dale, most of us have a checking account backed by either Visa or
M/C. Some folks feel if they are handing you their checking account
card that they are handing you cash. After all, it is withdrawn from
their account the same day the transaction is made.

I also agree that if a customer is negotiating a “cash price”, then
somewhere you should confirm that they have physical funds on their
person, or that the transaction will be considered a credit one, with
no accompanying discount.

Just my two cents…


More than once a customer has come into our store and wanted to
negotiate a "cash price".  Once we established a special price,
they  pulled out a credit card to pay for the item."  

I have had this happen also , there is cash or cash equivelent which
would include a check , money order , cashiers check . Of these ,
cash or money order whose use of would trigger the $10,000 you
must report as a "cash sale "[if the sale exceeds $ 10,000 of
course] When approached for a “cash” discount we will allways ask the
customer what do they mean by cash? .It provides the opportunity to
prevent the problem above. What I find most interesting is how
little use of cash there is today , compared to even 10 yrs. ago ,
we can literally go days with out any actual cash ending up in the
register … credit cards used for $7.00 watch batteries etc.

Mark Clodius


Once we established a special price, they pulled out a credit card
to pay for the item. 

That’s easy enough. Tell them that the negotiated “cash price”
requires “cash”, and direct them to the nearest ATM.

Loren http://www.golden-knots.com/

Another “cash” anecdote - The last show I did last year was in a
south Florida city I for which I got flamed for making a “thinly
veiled” reference last summer. I won’t repeat that mistake, but some
of you will remember it.

Anyway, during the show in that city, a woman and her boyfriend
come up and started aggressively negotiating a lower price on a piece
I have clearly marked with the price. I asked if she had cash, which
she said she did. We negotiated a cash price. When it came time to
settle up, she asked me where an ATM was! How the heck should I
know?!? This is her city! I pointed out a couple key intersections of
which I was aware, and sent her on her way.

Five minutes later, I hear someone coming down the aisle of the
show, past my booth yelling, “Does anyone know where there is an
ATM???” I pretended not not notice as they passed. At that time, I
took the piece back out of the box and returned it to the display.

Another 20 minutes or so pass, and the woman pops back up at the
booth and asks, “Have you seen my boyfriend?” When I respond
negatively, she kind of sighs and say, “He was supposed to meet me
here.” I suppose this was my last opportunity to let her off the hook
and accept a credit card for the cash price. I decided not to take
the bait, and that was the last I saw of her.

Yes, “cash” is the green stuff I can use to put gas in my van for
the long drive home.

All the best,

All, these are the reasons I don’t negotiate my sales prices. I try
to be very fair in my pricing, and don’t like to discriminate as to
who gets a “special deal”. There have been occasions where I have
asked the customer how often they have negotiated the price of their
food, at the grocery store. I also wonder how many of your
customers have their employer negotiate their paycheck, each time he
must write it? Curtis

All, My business has changed in the last 5 years and is still in the
process of changing. The question of “What is cash?” to me is more a
question of my pricing policies. When I was operating as a wholesale
repair shop I found every single customer wanted to negotiate price.
At this point negotiation became necessary if I wanted to keep my
customer. When I operated out of a retail store front I found that
price negotiation was more controlled by how much I needed to make on
each sale to stay in business because of overhead. Now I am operating
as a low overhead Internet and Show dealer I have a lot more
flexibility in my pricing.

My current pricing strategy is this. Each item has a price on it.
That price is the price I will sell the one item for. If you buy
several items I will be open to negotiation if I can. Some items I
have too much money invested to negotiate. How you pay for the item
does not matter as long as the funds are verifiable. I prefer credit
card transactions. These transactions have proven to me to be secure
and reliable if you are knowledgeable of the agreement and enforce
the rules.

I have had two credit card services. CardService was the first and
we stopped business with them when they no longer could meet our
needs. We now deal with a local bank and it has been a very
comfortable arrangement.

As far as cash versus credit card. In the two business agreements I
signed to accept credit cards it has specifically stated that it is
against the agreement to charge more for an item based upon the type
of payment. To me you are breaking the agreement if you lower the
price of an item when you negotiate a cash deal.

I know the point on each of my items where it is no longer worth me
making the item to sell at that price. I call it the end point. My
end point takes into consideration all overhead including the total
amount of fee charged by credit companies over the year.

Using this system the cost of credit cards becomes just another
overhead that is rolled into the total price. I am open to
negotiation. Everything is for sale and I want to sell it. The more
you buy and the frequency with which you buy determine how close to
my end point I am willing to negotiate.

Gerry Galarneau