Surf Speakeasy Event at the Visa Everywhere Lounge
Visa unveiled a prototype of contactless payment sunglasses from the Everywhere Lounge, on March 13, 2017. Photograph by Rick Kern—WME IMG Getty Images for VISA

Visa Just Made Restaurants an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Jul 13, 2017

After years of being resented for taking too big a cut of sales, Visa is now falling over itself to be nice to small businesses.

The company that processes more credit and debit card transactions than any other is offering food vendors and restaurants across the U.S. rewards of up to $10,000 for upgrades to technology that encourage electronic payment – on condition that they stop accepting cash.

“With 70% of the world, or more than 5 billion people, connected via mobile device by 2020, we have an incredible opportunity to educate merchants and consumers alike on the effectiveness of going cashless," according to Jack Forestell, head of global merchant solutions at Visa.

Visa has been trying to get the public and business to move beyond cash payment for years, but cash is still used to settle more transactions than any other means of exchange. According to the Federal Reserve bank of San Francisco, it accounted for just under one-third of total consumer transactions in 2015, ahead of debit cards (27%) and credit cards (21%). Among low-value transactions, the share of cash is even higher. But Visa doesn't mind if you use a card, an iPhone, or even the payment-enabled sunglasses that it showed off at the South by Southwest Festival in March this year. The glasses, at least, are still just a concept. But the offer is real.

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