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Wild results as Aussies back cafe's controversial revolt against cashless trend

Richy has introduced a 10 per cent discount if customers are able to pay with cash and the results have been wild.

Richy Marchandise standing outside his cafe next to a shot of him with coffee beans
Richy Marchandise said he would rather take a small hit to each transaction if it meant he could rely less on digital payment systems. (Source: Supplied)

An Aussie cafe owner has jumped on an anti-cashless trend after running into too many issues with digital payments. Richy Marchandise runs the Mimolette Café in Melbourne and has introduced a 10 per cent discount for customers who want to pay with cash.

The Frenchman, who has been in the hospitality industry for 20 years, said the cost-of-living crisis has never been harder as the price of all his raw materials skyrocketed. But despite having to pay more for virtually everything, he's happy to take less from customers if they have cash.

"There are so many things that are wrong with EFTPOS," Marchandise told Yahoo Finance.

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While digital payments and transactions are the overwhelming favourite for Aussies, Marchandise said it's been a thorn in his side for years.

"EFTPOS does not work as well as they claim. People get impatient when the system is down and we lose sales constantly. In 11 years, I have changed EFTPOS providers five times," he explained.

In addition to the unreliable service, he said EFTPOS terminals often have "hidden fees" attached for the merchant. He claimed it costs upwards of $2,000 a year just to have the digital payment system in place and then it can set him back up to $260 just for a bulk order of the paper receipt rolls.

Do you have a story? Email stew.perrie@yahooinc.com

The cafe owner said there can be delays for payments to hit his account from EFTPOS over the weekend or public holiday, which has caused him major headaches.

On one occasion, while waiting for enough digital transactions to process, he was unable to pay a supplier in time and didn't get a vital delivery.

That cost Marchandise a huge catering order.

"We lost so much money on that day simply because the EFTPOS funds didn't arrive on time," he said.

Fed up with constantly relying on digital sales, he brought in the 10 per cent discount for cash users and has been blown away by the results.

Before the initiative was introduced, Marchandise estimated around 5 per cent of sales were done with cash. That's now jumped to 20 per cent.

He said it's a massive help for him because he claims his suppliers also love to be paid in cash, making that side of the business flow much faster and easier.

Not only that, but the 10 per cent cash discount has had another flow-on effect.

Steph has been working at the cafe as a barista for six months and said it's been a major win for her and her colleagues.

"Before joining Mimolette, I wasn't familiar with the concept of tips. But now, our tip jar overflows regularly," she said.

"At the end of each week, we divvy up the tips among the staff. It's a fantastic perk, especially since card payments rarely result in tips.”

Social media is awash with photos showing plenty of Aussie businesses giving discounts to customers who want to pay with cash.

A Yahoo Finance investigation has found offers of up to 50 per cent off, while others might give away a free drink or other item.

Signs from Aussie businesses offering a discount if customers pay in cash
Businesses all across Australia encourage customers to pay with cash and will give them a discount if they do so. (Source: Facebook)

If they can't take a hit to their bottom line, then there's always the 'say please' model.

Other images found on social media show signs erected at the checkout begging people to pay with cash if they can.

"Cash is our preferred method of payment. With cash, we retain 100 per cent of its value. The Big Banks receive 0 per cent. The card processing companies receive 0 per cent," said one sign.

Offering discounts for cash isn't illegal, but the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is aware that some businesses use physical money as a "means for avoiding tax and payment obligations for their staff".

Peter Holt, former Assistant Commissioner of the Shadow Economy at the ATO, said while many businesses do the right thing, there are some that don't.

“We do know that staff are being underpaid or being paid cash in hand or missing out on their superannuation and probably not being paid the appropriate rate, and the way they do that is by taking cash,” he told the My Business Podcast.

"And consumers are starting to look a bit suspiciously at those businesses that are now only taking cash or offering cash discounts. And the other consideration is if you’ve been offered a cash discount, it’s possible that they’re not going to pay the GST on the file.”

Marchandise said there is a "stigma" attached to the hospitality industry when it comes to cash and he isn't trying to dodge his tax obligations.

He told Yahoo Finance that he's simply willing to take a 10 per cent loss on transactions if it means he has peace of mind with cash.

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