Digital payments such as Apple Pay and Venmo give customers an easy way to pay without carrying credit cards, checks, or cash. In the digital age we live in, how can cash-only businesses compete?

Many great cash-only businesses are successful with a loyal customer base. How do they do it? Just as with businesses that accept credit cards and digital payments, cash-based businesses have effective strategies like customer communication and employee training. To sidestep challenges, they stay organized and find solutions to common problems that work for them.

Let’s take a look at what those challenges can be and what makes good cash-only businesses.


See if your business is prepared to safely and effectively handle cash payments.

What is a Cash Only Business?

This type of business is exactly how it sounds. It accepts only hard cash payments. No check, debit card, or credit card payments are allowed at that business. Thankfully, there is no shortage of options for running a cash-heavy business, and many of them are successful.

Cash Only Businesses

While most consumers prefer not to use physical currency, many businesses thrive on accepting only cash. Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of these businesses that operate in many different industries:

  • Coffee Shops: Coffee is cheap. Even the most complicated drinks fall under the double digits making it worthwhile for consumers to pay in cash, especially to ensure they have a buck or two for a tip.
  • Laundromats: Laundromats often only take dollars and bills due to the low fees they charge for use.
  • Farmers Market Vendors: Not all vendors are able to accept credit or debit card payments. Additionally, being outside where your phone signal may be slow or spotty can make it difficult to rely on payment besides dollars and coins.
  • Restaurants: Food stands, trucks, and fast food restaurants tend to be low cost, making it easy for their customers to pay with what they have on hand to leave on the table or counter.

Why Do Some Businesses Only Accept Cash?

There are many reasons why a business may choose not to accept credit or debit cards. Credit card fees can be expensive, and an increased risk of fraud are possible when using alternative forms of payment.


Learn how cash management services can make your money secure and accounting easy.

Benefits of Being a Cash-Only Business

Many may think that these types of businesses will not survive. When done right, they can be just as good, if not better, than the competition. Any great businesses deliver results to their clients while keeping overhead expenses low. But businesses that rely on physical money are also great record keepers if audited.

Running a cash-based business can be challenging in the digital world, yet it has many benefits to be considered. There is no need to pay the fees for renting or owning credit card processing equipment, or fees associated with each credit card transaction. Additionally, there is no risk of chargebacks due to fraud or bounced checks. There is no waiting period either so you’ll be paid upfront.

Do Cash-Only Businesses Pay Taxes?

Can you run a cash-only business to avoid taxes? No, these businesses do not have special exemptions, and taxes function like any other business. This means they must file taxes and could very well be selected for an audit. Excellent records of income and expenses must always be maintained.

Are Cash-Only Businesses Legal?

Cash-only businesses are 100% legal. While legal, there can be more risk attributed to this type of business. It’s imperative to keep accurate records that account for all purchases and business expenses, not to mention employee payroll and how employees are paid.

Can Cash Businesses Save on Expenses?

Deciding to accept cash only will save you money in business expenses. There is no need to invest in credit and debit card processing machines and no need to pay the fees associated with credit card transactions. Not to mention, money will not need to be refunded due to chargebacks. You’ll save by not taking the risk of credit card fraud.


Challenges for Cash-Only Businesses

As with any important decision, with pros, there are also cons.While there are benefits, there are risks and challenges with operating this type of business. Fraud and identity theft are rising, and digital payments are becoming the norm. There are many challenges that can put the best businesses at risk for failure.

Cash Management Problems

Counting cash by hand can lead to unintentional errors such as miscounting or even misplacing dollars and coins. To take cash-only, you must be able to give change back to your customers, and be prepared for the fees that are associated with armored car pickup.

A cash-only business can breathe easier by working with Integrated Cash Logistics to keep cash counting accurate, money secure, and change orders seamless.

Fraud and Theft

Just as there is fraud with checks, credit cards, and wire payments, there are risks associated with accepting cash. Customers could pay with fraudulent bills, or employees could pocket money when counting dollars and change after hours. Thankfully there are many ways to decrease the risk of fraud or theft. Training employees on proper handling, including how to identify counterfeit bills, should be a priority for businesses.

Utilizing cash capture technology such as Integrated Cash Logistics, cuts down on reconciliation at the end of the day, week, and month while ensuring money stays safe from dishonest customers and employees.

Digital Payments

In the digital age we are living in, electronic currency is on the rise while others seem to be dying out. This isn’t true. Cash businesses can be successful though it can be harder to achieve sales.

In the world of credit cards, Venmo, and Apple Pay, cash payments can seem inconvenient to customers, particularly when they’re not aware that they’re shopping in a cash-only establishment. They may need to leave to visit an ATM to pay for the product. To be successful, make it clear to customers that you do not accept checks or electronic forms of payment.

Save on expenses and improve cash security with ICL’s cash handling service.

How to Run a Cash-Only Business

When you search how to run a cash business, you’ll find that there are many successful businesses in an array of industries. From training employees to ensuring customers know payment policies, there are several ways to successfully run cash businesses.

Employee Training

Having clear procedures in place and consistent training for employees help businesses operate smoothly. Training should include taking payment and giving change, identifying counterfeit money, and secure processes for counting down and balancing the till at the end of each day. Invest in a service to help secure and track cash to prevent theft.

Notify Customers

It’s important to make it clear to both new and existing customers that your business accepts cash-only as payment. It isn’t often that people carry around large sums of physical money. Part of this is due to not feeling safe, and the other is that electronic payment options have made it easy to pay for goods right from a phone or with the swipe of a card.

Make it obvious to customers that your business only takes cash on your website and/or social media pages. At your brick and mortar store, also make sure that you have placed signage both at the front of the store and near the register.


Not having automatic reports like credit card statements can make record-keeping hard. An important responsibility of any business is great accounting. Businesses must keep track of the money flowing both in and out. Keep receipts or digital invoices that include basic information such as the transaction date, subtotal, total, and the product(s) sold. Keep digital records to make it easy to calculate your gross income or expenses due. Being meticulous in your record-keeping will help your business shine in the event of an audit.


Deciding how employees are paid can be more difficult or complicated when money isn’t automatically deposited into accounts with each transaction. For some, particularly small businesses, it’s not uncommon for employees to be paid in cash. Payroll ties into great accounting, and with that in mind, it must be diligently recorded. Keep track of the salary paid against any benefits. It also doesn’t hurt to have your employees sign a receipt when they receive their pay.

Integrated Cash Logistics Simplifies Money Management for Cash-Heavy Businesses

We’ve discussed what may be the best cash business to start and what can make it successful. Any business doesn’t come without hard work, especially at the start. It takes the right management tools to effectively run the best cash-based businesses.

Integrated Cash Logistics can set your business on the right track with secure storage, easy reconciliation, and easy change orders.

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