Credit Card Only Policy Sets New Tone for Small Businesses

Diners at a Manhattan eatery have expressed shock when waitstaff refuse to accept payment in cash. Greenwich Village restaurant Commerce, recently profiled in the Wall Street Journal, accepts credit cards only. The establishment's owner told reporters that adopting the plastic-only policy has cut down his accounting expenses while improving security. Despite the potential inconvenience--most New York residents anticipate cash-only dining experiences--Commerce's staff has received mostly compliments on their expense-report friendly stance.

Though not every merchant can afford to go totally cashless, credit card issuers and payment platforms continue to evangelize the benefits for small businesses that accept plastic. Visa recently launched its "Go Biz" marketing campaign, designed to drive traffic to a website where small business owners share success stories about accepting credit cards. American Express offers its own small business network, OPEN, where marketing gurus dispense advice about managing cash flow and attracting new customers. Industry analysts note that discussion about small business credit card acceptance has helped widen the practice, which was once regarded as prohibitively expensive for mom and pop stores.