9th April, 2018

Ride the paywave – tips to go cashless

More businesses are going completely cashless, but there a few things to keep in mind if you stop using notes and coins.

Melbourne free-range butcher group Cannings has been cashless since 2014, a decision driven by the group’s founder Sam Canning.

“I’m really big on simplifying processes, and the thing was that at the time we were taking 80 percent card anyhow,” he told The Pulse.

“There was also the hygiene factor and not needing to go to the bank every day and get money – which is a bit of a pain in the arse.”

Other benefits for Canning has been reduced slippage, fewer errors at the till and quicker transaction times.

READ: Welcome the new world of payment solutions

With the business’ 10,000 transactions per week, the seconds used to take someone’s cash, put it through the till and hand out the correct change quickly add up.

“We’re only talking about a few seconds. Now, it’s literally a press of the button, they paywave and it’s done,” said Canning.

He also said going cashless had improved business relations with its bank. This is thanks to full transparency and confidence in the numbers presented to the bank.

“Going cashless has forced us to be completely by the book. That’s one of the best things I’ve ever done,” said Canning.

“All of our sales have been put into the system and it’s all there for the bank to see. Because of that, my borrowing capacity has increased.”

He also said the ATO appreciated the transparency of a cashless business.

“As you get bigger you want to have that relationship [with the ATO],” said Canning.

“As a small business you can’t see past the short term of the potential tax savings. Having a good relationship with the ATO has been one of the main benefits for us.”

Thinking of going cashless? Here’s what you should keep in mind.

Think about your margins and impact

Going cashless means you’ve got more credit card transactions that attract merchant fees.

For Canning, the efficiency of going cashless outweighs the dollars and cents impact of the move – but the business has toyed with the idea of adding surcharges.

READ: Dealing with surcharges in your business

“We’ve thought a lot about surcharging. Every time we sit down and workshop it we always come out at the same point – nobody likes being surcharged,” said Canning.

“We’re a premium product so I guess you can say that’s rolled into the prices. It’s never been a calculated approach.”

Inside a Cannings store


He also said the switch to cashless did mean a few customers took their shopping bags elsewhere.

“You just need to weigh up the difference between what you can lose with a pissed off customer and what you can gain with increased efficiencies,” said Canning.

Spell out the payment changes

Canning said communication was key to becoming cashless, especially a “soft launch” approach.

“We had a three-month lead time from when we were marketing it on Facebook and in-store,” he said.

“We soft-launched it as well. If we were getting people coming in and being heartbroken about us not taking cash, we’d take the cash once and then inform them that we wouldn’t be taking cash next time.

“I also had a pretty good relationship with the customers at that time, which definitely helped.”

Now, he said, aside from in-store signage, it was up to the trained counter staff to explain the payment policy to customers.


Canning knows eventually all businesses will be cashless so he thinks it’s worth business owners nudging themselves towards going cashless early.

“You do take a little bit of a hit in the short term. Long term, it will just be forgotten – it’ll be the norm in five years’ time so people may as well get on with it,” he said.