Co-op Member Card Convenience
There is so much important social justice work going on right now, it is hard to chime in on an ancillary issue, but this issue affects low-income communities disproportionately, as well as the Co-op bottom line. Enter the convenience of the Co-op Member Card.
Staggering Credit Card Fees
Co-op board members look at Co-op financials every month. It’s a lot of numbers, and the thin margins we skate on at the Co-op can be overwhelming and downright scary. But one of the numbers that always jumps out, especially to new board members, is the amount of money the Co-op pays in credit card fees. It’s a startling number, around $24,000 each year; equivalent to wages and other costs of a part-time job. Just the thought of that much money leaving our local economy for such a simple service is really hard to wrap your head around.
But it is a service fee, and the amount we pay is tied to actual sales. Imagine if the Co-op were unable to take payment by credit card. We would not make very many sales. In a normal year, around two-thirds of our revenue comes from credit card sales. And these days more people are reluctant to deal with cash because of COVID-19. We have to pay for the service our credit card company provides as well as the convenience for our customers.
Put Money On Your Co-op Member Account
But there are some ways we all can help. If paying with cash or a check works for you, that is less expensive for the Co-op than a credit card. A more convenient option, if your budget allows, is to put money on your Co-op member account in advance. You can then charge down that balance. If you pay with a credit card for that, the Co-op still pays the percentage fee but does not pay the swipe fee for each transaction, so the Co-op saves some money there. You can also bring a check when you want to fill your account, and then when you shop, your total is simply deducted from your account.
Co-op shopping without the need for cash or a credit card could not be more convenient. Since we have gone to curbside service, member card sales have increased by about 30 percent of total sales. Consider trying this option to keep a healthy bottom line for the Co-op. Ask the cashier at your next in-store trip. Or you can ask when you get a call that your curbside order is ready for pickup. You can express your interest in paying this way in the form when you place a curbside order. When we keep those credit card fees down, we keep more money in our Co-op and our local economy.