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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
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May 23, 2012     Feather River Bulletin
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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, May 23, 2012 1B Locals urged to take cash challenge Linda J. Cayot Special to Feather Publishing When the public began using credit cards on a mass scale in the 1980s, banks and credit card companies got richer and the public and retailers paid for it. Why? BecaUse retailers pay fees to the banks for every credit card transaction and over time those fees have crept into the price of goods, thus passinu the cost onto us. the consumers. If we consumers switched back to cash (including checks) whenever possible, we could help our local mer- chants and eventually our- selves to keep costs down and more dollars circulating in Plumas County. Banks don't like this movement to use cash instead of plastic be- cause it cuts into their profits. But this is a growing trend with aware shoppers who want to save money in the long run by keeping prices down and dollars circulating rather than going to banks in unnecessary credit card fees. Using "plastic" (credit and debit cards) makes the banks richer, not us. Occupy Quincy recently surveyed local merchants about a campaign to "Use Cash Not Plastic." We found strong support from the majority of merchants who responded to the survey. They will always be happy to have your business, cash or "plastic," and shopping local, cash or "plastic," is always a win. But if we consumers use cash whenever possible, we can improve our local economy by keeping more dollars circulating within the county. Results of the limited survey indicated that for each credit card and most debit card transactions, the merchant pays anywhere from 25 cents plus 1.69 per- cent of the total to 4 percent infees to the credit card company/bank. If a mer- chant had $10,000 in sales in a month, all on credit cards, they would be paying a monthly credit card fee ranging from $169 plus 25 cents/transaction to $400. In our limited survey, the "plastic" fees paid by local merchants ranged from a low of $175 per month to $400 per month -- a range of $2,100 to $4,800 per business per year. These are fees that could be avoided if we simply switched back to cash, thus keeping the dollars in Plumas County. One business owner said that credit card purchases at that business had gone up by 30 percent in the last four years, from one-third of sales to two-thirds, thereby dou- bling the amount of monthly fees sent to the bank and no longer available for im- proving the business, paying better wages to workers, etc. The "Use Cash Not Plastic" campaign is not aimed at ending all use of credit cards. Instead we aim to reduce the monthly "plastic use" fees paid by our local merchants to the banks/credit card companies whenever we can. There is no stigma for using "plastic." In the end it's a personal choice. But if we all gave up the convenience of "plastic" and used cash, except for those cases where we needed to use credit, we would help our local economy. For example, if we collec- tively reduced our use of credit/debit cards by 10 percent, thus reducing the surveyed merchants! fees by 10 percent, we would be keep- ing $210 to $480 per business per year in circulation. Re- ducing our collective use of plastic by 20 percent would keep $420 to $960 per business per year in circulation. Imag- ine those numbers multiplied by even 500, well below the number of small businesses in our county. A simple 20 percent reduction in the use of "plastic" could keep a few to Several hundred thousand .... extra dollars circulating in Plumas County each year. As for "rewards" cards -- created to maintain loyalty to tlae brand (or card) -- our Democrats host Wh istl e Stop tou r Plumas County residents are cordially invited to meet Democratic candidates Jim Reed and Robert Meacher on their "Whistle Stop" tour Sunday, May 27. Reed, running to represent District 1 in Congress, and Meacher, candidate for state Assembly, will make stops in several areas of the county that day, giving voters a chance to get to know them before the June 5 primary. After visiting the.Lfike Almanor Memorial Weekend Craft Fair in the morning, Reed and Meacher will head for lunch in Quincy and the official opening of local Democrats' campaign head- quarters on Lawrence Street. Then it's off to Graeagle and the Bursting into Spring Craft Fair at the firehall be- fore heading to Taylorsville for a Whistle Stop Campaign Party at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to the party that evening at the Taylorsville Grange, another opportunity to talk to the candidates and discuss their goals for representing the local area at the state and national levels. A $10 donation will be charged at the door and the event includes hors d'oeuvres, music and dancing. A no-host bar will be avail- able as well. "Don't miss this chance to meet the candidates," says Plumas County Democratic. Central Committee Chair- woman Trish Taylor. "Get informed and have some holi- day fun, all at the same time!" merchants pay even more for each and every transaction with a card that promises miles, cash back or some other reward. In fact, we are all paying for our own re- wards through higher prices related to the ubiquitous use of "plastic." The only win- ners are the banks/credit card companies. Debit cards can be very confusing. When using a debit card, you can opt for an online transaction (when you use your PIN) or an offline transaction (without a PIN). Offiine transactions are dealt with much like credit cards with the retailer paying a small percentage of the total. Online transactions are usually charged per trans- action -- perhaps a dime. However, even a small fee per transaction can cost the retailer if the buyer is pur- chasing something with a low price tag. For instance, buying a piece of candy with a debit card may cost the merchant nearly as much as the candy. when you can: USE CASH NOT PLASTIC When I was a child, there were no credit cards and we seemed todo just fine. Gas companies began to issue credit cards to maintain a loyal clientele. Stores such as J.C. Penney and Sears followed suit. Eventually the banks got involved, recogniz- ing an effective way to add to their profits. As a consumer, a gas credit card makes a lot of sense. None of us wants to be stranded.with no cash, no gas and no way to buy it. Credit cards and their junior part- ner, the debit card, can cer- tainly be convenient, for ex- ample, when buying large purchases or purchasing ne- cessities when we are short on cash, and even by helping some of us to keep track of our purchases. But the more we use credit/debit cards just for convenience, the more money the banks get and the less we keep in Plumas County. So take the "Use Cash Not Plastic" challenge! Reduce your credit/debit card use to those purchases when you really need to use credit. Carry cash again. Keep more money in our county and in our own pockets, and keep our local merchants thriving. our 16, 000 sq. ft. sbouuvo00 ............. 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