Cookies on credit: Girl Scouts now take credit cards

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Girl Scouts, Discover rewards, a new Disney card from Chase, Taco Bell snafu, Minnesota taxicabs…What's going on in the world of credit cards right now? A little bit of everything…

Am I alone on this?

Every once in awhile, when I walk past a Girl Scout troop selling cookies, usually at our neighborhood grocery store, I'll say, "Sorry, I don't have any cash on me," even if I do. I should just say, "No, thanks," but never wanting a young seller to take my rejection personally, I always feel like I have to have a plausible excuse for not buying cookies from them. Otherwise, I feel like a heel not buying a box. So I've always found the, "Gee, sorry, I only have a credit card," a pretty serviceable excuse.

Well, I may be out of luck soon.

This year, according to the Pomerado (Calif.) News, the Girl Scouts are accepting credit cards.

Not all the troops will be able to process credit card orders. Out of about 1,600 troops in the San Diego Council, 240 so far have decided to accept credit card swipers. Some troops won't sign on because of the added hassle and responsibility; others may not want to pay the 8 cent transaction fee, which will come out of the troop's boxes. Each box usually has a profit between 65 and 95 cents, according to the Pomerado News.

Discover announces 2012 rewards

Discover may not have a new card to tout, but the folks there are jazzed about some tinkering that they've done with their 2012 5% Cashback Bonus calendar, allowing cardmembers to earn more than they did in 2011.

Long-term indigestion

Usually if someone talks about paying later for what you eat right now, they're referring to all of the calories you're consuming. In the case of a Taco Bell in Port Charlotte, Fla., according to the local news station NBC-2, customers were eating -- and then paying for it days, weeks and sometimes a couple months later.

There was a computer glitch at this Taco Bell, dating back to Nov. 22, and so for quite some time, people had been eating for free. Once the managers discovered the problem, they began manually putting in the credit card information, and customers were finally charged for their meals. Not sure how I'd feel if I were charged for, say, a $7 meal six weeks after the fact. I don't think I'd be too happy, although, yes, ethically I should pay for a meal I've eaten, and I should have noticed that I hadn't paid for it. But what a mess. Still, little anyone can do now. As the saying sort of goes, you can't unring a Taco Bell.

Disney rewards card

If you're going to Disneyland, Walt Disney World or pretty much anywhere Disney, you may want to take a look at the new Disney's Premier Visa Card from Chase. There are other perks, particularly if you're visiting one of the theme parks or resorts. Clearly, if you're a big Disney fan and don't mind the annual fee, this is not just some Mickey Mouse card. No, wait, I guess it is. Well, you know what I mean.

Minneapolis taxis and credit cards

It seems incredible in 2012 that taxi drivers in some cities still don't accept credit cards, but thanks to the interchange fees, cabbies have been slow to embrace credit cards as a form of payment. Still, starting in June, as the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports, Minneapolis will join several other cities that, by law, require taxis to accept credit cards. Cities currently having this requirement include New York, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Los Angeles.

The Minneapolis City Council passed the law last month, 11 to 2. Council member Gary Schiff was the driving force behind getting the law changed. He said he didn't want residents and visitors to be stranded somewhere at night because they didn't have enough cash on them, which, again, in 2012 seems like a scenario that could easily occur.

Washington, D.C. is also considering a similar mandate.

3 Responses to "Cookies on credit: Girl Scouts now take credit cards"
  1. Gerald Evans March 01, 2012 at 1:08 am

    It is an interesting to see the incorporation of credit card processing into the time old cash business that is Girl Scout Cookies. While I can sympathize with Joe on the inherent risks these pioneering troops are subjected to, in the long run I feel that this move will actually benefit those troops who have adapted the ability to process credit cards over those who have not. It would be interesting to compare the the sales of those troops who have adapted this platform to those who have not as well as to track the sales of specific troops over a multiyear time frame to see the benefits or costs of adapting the ability to process credit cards in this business model. I myself run a small website where I offer reviews and advice for small business owners looking for the best processor to fit their needs. I'll be sure to keep my eye out though for any troops that have the ability to process credit cards as I rarely carry cash and have a bit of a weak spot for the peanut butter patties.

  2. Joe February 16, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Just to clarify a bit, I am the father of a Girl Scout. The scout troop only makes $0.40 per box of cookies sold (10%). The fees for the credit card priviledge are about 3% ($0.12 per box on average, and is deducted from an established checking account as the transaction is made). So the girls would only make $0.28 per box sold. Each troop has to absorb the cost of operation with a credit card, the council takes no responsibility. The Girl Scout troop is also responsible for any non-payment associated with a credit card (if for whatever reason the transaction becomes invalid). So if someone buys 10 boxes of cookies with a credit card, and the transaction is nullified for whatever reason, the girls themselves pay the $40 to Girl Scout council for the lost cookies. So in summary, the girls take all the risk associated with credit card sales, and lose profit to do so. Yes another fantastic example of corporations walking all over those beneath them.

    1. Anonymous February 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      I just reported what I had read, but thanks, Joe, for the extra information and for commenting. Very interesting that the Girl Scout troop is saddled with the charges associated with any non-payment associated with a credit card. I’d be irked if my daughters’ troop – they used to be in the Girl Scouts – had to shell out, say, $40 due to somebody’s transaction becoming invalid.

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