A business owner has urged customers to pay by cash rather than card to help small local firms.

Melanie Andrews who runs the gift shop Sentiments in Horwich says that whilst the cost per transaction on a card machine is not particularly high, the charge soon mounts up.

She explained that when customers pay by card there is a charge each time and that this can vary depending on how much someone spends.

And with additional costs such as rent and utility bills, this can mean, at times, being unable to buy new stock in for customers.

She said: “The cost mounts up depending on the size of the transaction because the charge is more if you spend more.

The Bolton News: Owner Melanie AndrewsOwner Melanie Andrews (Image: Public)

“Last month we paid out £77 in bank charges, and we also have to pay for the card machine.

“Some months you can be paying up to £200.

“A lot of our customers do pay with cash especially our regular customers.

“We are lucky we don’t have staff to pay.”

Melanie also said that it does not matter what type of card is used, the business will still get charged, and they had to stop accepting American Express cards.

The Bolton News:

Since Covid, Melanie has seen a huge increase in people using cards, and she says that most customers say that they don’t carry cash, or they have an app now.

She said: “I think eventually cash will go, we just need to keep it going for as long as we can, because when cash does go the interest rates will shoot up for businesses because there will be no other way of doing transactions.

“As a small business we are then going to have to pass this on to customers because we won’t survive.”

Another little known cost that Melanie has to pay is when she needs change in her till, which she says customers often help with.

The Bolton News:

She said: “We get charged to change cash, which is on a card.

“We have so many customers who are happy to give you coins though.

“There are so many people who come in and don’t realise we get charged every time a transaction goes through the machine.”

Melanie has now asked for customers to pay with cash if they can, which she says any small business would appreciate.

She added: “It’s not just us.

“Any small business would massively appreciate cash payments because it just helps them so much, because it keeps charges down.”

In June this year businesses in Horwich launched their loyalty card scheme Hello Horwich as another strategy to attract shoppers into town.

It gives the holder access to exclusive offers in participating stores across the town, for example with some offering discounts and others offering a free item with purchases.

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