Monday, July 28, 2008

"We no longer take cash, just credit cards"

Last Friday, I decided to be a good corporate citizen and take a bus from downtown Seattle to the airport rather than a taxi. I bought a ticket with cash (only option) at the Concierge desk at my hotel. The bus arrived promptly and I was on my way, only 3 other stops and then straight to the airport. At the last stop, the driver began collecting the fare. His pronouncement was, "We no longer take cash, just credit cards." He reached up and got a handheld terminal/printer out and began his trek down the aisle. On one hand, I was really impressed and amazed. I had been involved many years ago in an initiative at VeriFone called ValuCard. One of the reasons for its downfall was that the sellers, in this case, cafateria and vending machine operators, would not switch 100% to ValuCard and continued to take every other form of payment. As the situation unfolded here on the bus, I became less impressed and amazed and began to think this was pretty stupid. One interesting thing was that the Grey Line marketing brochure/schedule stated boldly that "Drivers only accept cash." What was wrong with this picture? The driver started doing one TX at a time and even though under new rules, receipts would not have been required for a $11 fare, of course since this was business travel for many, a receipt was necessary. Luckily the bus only had a dozen passengers and about half had paid in advance. It this had been a full bus, this could have turned into a nightmarish delay and a lot of unhappy customers. So, hats off to some acquirer who made this sale but I am not sure if this particular environment gives the notion of taking electronic payment a good name. p.s. The driver was a nice guy who did apologize for the delay. Feel free to click on the Comment link and add your comment! THANKS

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