California Restaurant Association Members Only Page

Understanding Cash Discount Programs & Surcharge Information


Many of you know, our passion has been helping people and businesses save money. Something everyone is talking about is the cash discount program and merchant processing.

Just recently there was an article on the subject of surcharging or adding a convenience fee in lieu of cash payment, some regardless of payment type.  See this San Diego Union Tribune link here:

UT Tourism  January 31,     2019

"San Diego     restaurants can legally add a surcharge to diners' bills for labor costs,     court rules"

By Lori Weisberg

There has been a lot of controversy about it. Some good some bad.  Surcharges have been around in many forms and many industries over the years. Most recognizable is with the gas stations for over a decade.

In either case, it's here and we have to deal with it. We can help businesses like yours to explore their options on merchant processing and the many programs available. We can even do a side by side analysis of traditional processing vs. cash discount. This lets you know just how much can be saved monthly and yearly in processing costs. 

For some, these processing costs can be very high when profit margins are low. Switching programs can be a game changer for some businesses. It can mean having more money for employee costs , supplies and inventory.

What do I need to know?

What you need to know is that it’s all about compliance and disclosure to your customers. As long as you properly notify your customers in advance, you should be fine. But it is important to do your research.

I have included a link here to the California Restaurant Association website page for all of  your questions on how to remain in compliance to these changes to the cash discount programs and surcharge laws.

That Website Is Found Here:

How will my customers react?

More often than not, customers get upset when they feel they weren’t given proper notice. That is why it is important to use proper signage and notices when implementing these changes. Of course, we recommend speaking to a qualified legal representative prior to implementing any new programs.

See this article below:


“As their complaints are worded, their argument is that restaurants are not notifying customers up front of the charge, which is just an untrue statement,” said attorney Lukas Clary, whose clients also include Galaxy Taco and Rockin’ Baja Lobster. “And the statutes they cite don’t prohibit the practice of a surcharge. If they did, no surcharges could be imposed. Surcharges are a long-established and lawful practice across many industries.”


More information on rules and requirements related to surcharging can be found at

What Research has been done?

The Federal Reserve Payments Study 2016

•  According to a study in 2016 by the Federal Reserve, U.S. noncash payments, including debit card, credit card, ACH, and check payments, are estimated to have totaled over 144 billion with a value of almost $178 trillion in 2015, up almost 21 billion payments or about $17 trillion since 2012. 

• The number of credit card payments reached 33.8 billion in 2015 with a value of $3.16 trillion, up 6.9 billion or $0.61 trillion since  2012.

Source: The Federal Reserve Payments Study 2016

Credits card acceptance allows you Capture more Customers &

 Increase Sales

Consumers like having multiple ways to pay and use different methods of payment depending upon the type of transaction. Credit cards increase impulse spending.

• According to the 2016 TSYS study initiated in 2011, they found that rewards are the single biggest influencer in deciding which payment card a consumer uses. Again in 2017, they found that consumers ranked rewards as the number one feature on their most-used credit card at 59 percent, with a wide margin separating that selection from the 30 percent ranking of finance charges. 

• Cash rewards are highly valued, with 69 percent of our respondents indicating that this is the rewards structure they have on their card. Special offers and discounts also continue to be valued by consumers, and they are very willing to receive coupons and special offers based upon the information their financial institution collects on their behavior. 

2016 U.S. Consumer payment Study

See Chart below in Photo Gallery for Average Percentage Paid by Payment Type/Industry Type

Source: 2016 TSYS study 



We are able to offer merchants several options in merchant processing  to save them money every month. We can provide them:

  • Traditional  Processing
  • Cash Discount programs
  • Free  placement of equipment*
  • No early termination fees *
  • No Cost Analysis
  • 24/7 Tech Support and 24/7 Live Technicians in the field 
  • Batch deposits/money in just a few hours with Same Day Funding*


 * funding details vary merchant to merchant, and merchant must be   approved.

 CALL ME DIRECT AT 619-804-8711  or

NOTICE: It is important to consult with your tax advisor, tax attorney or qualified legal counsel concerning any questions about surcharges and how to disclose them to customers. 

California Restaurant Association Members Only Page-Surcharge Page Link Here

California Restaurant Association Members Only Page-Surcharge Page Link Here