Quantcast

Ticket counters not accepting cash?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

jebr

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
4,070
Location
"The Last Great City of the East," St. Paul, MN
If you use square or stripe the fees are super low - just build it into your prices and stop crying. I’m sure small businesses would prefer not to pay the electric each month as well but it costs money to have a business. Haha.
Square costs 2.6% of each transaction, plus 10 cents off the top as well. There's also no discount for debit cards, even though they're cheaper to run than credit cards. If you're running a low-margin business, especially one with a lot of small transactions, that adds up quickly. There's also the risk of chargebacks and dealing with those, which are not something that has to be worried about with cash transactions. There's certainly costs and risks with other payment methods, but accepting credit cards has one of the most direct costs off the top of every transaction, and unless you go completely cashless most of those expenses still exist anyways (theft is still a risk whether you have $100 or $10,000/day in cash transactions, and you still have to go in and deposit that cash frequently regardless.)

There's still places around here that are cash or check only - the check part still surprises me, as I'd expect that to have a high level of risk (bounced, invalid, or stopped checks.) They usually have an ATM on site, so if you don't have cash or check you can pay $2.50 and get cash out.
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
26,901
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
I guess I might upset some people here by admitting up front that I am more or less cashless using only credit cards. I don’t mind paying a little extra for the convenience of using a credit card. I do have cash for emergencies, but I avoid cash only businesses. I have a bank debit card but it stays securely stashed away and is only occasionally used to withdraw cash from the bank ATM.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
21,618
Location
Austin Texas
I guess I might upset some people here by admitting up front that I am more or less cashless using only credit cards. I don’t mind paying a little extra for the convenience of using a credit card. I do have cash for emergencies, but I avoid cash only businesses. I have a bank debit card but it stays securely stashed away and is only occasionally used to withdraw cash from the bank ATM.
I don't use Cash that much either, but my ATM card is in reserve if Cash is needed.
 

jebr

Conductor
Staff member
Administator
Moderator
Joined
Jan 23, 2012
Messages
4,070
Location
"The Last Great City of the East," St. Paul, MN
I guess I might upset some people here by admitting up front that I am more or less cashless using only credit cards. I don’t mind paying a little extra for the convenience of using a credit card. I do have cash for emergencies, but I avoid cash only businesses. I have a bank debit card but it stays securely stashed away and is only occasionally used to withdraw cash from the bank ATM.
Despite my last post, I'm generally the same way, though I'm willing to make exceptions if the business is a place I particularly like or has particularly good deals. I usually only carry a little bit of emergency cash, and there's two places that I go to semi-regularly that I remember to bring the checkbook with when I go there. One of them is a local restaurant that's nearby and we like (a fair amount of options, pretty inexpensive for what you get) and the other is a liquor store and Italian market that has prices cheaper than almost anywhere else while having a great selection, and I like their Italian food selection as well. I'll also try to have cash when I visit the local Hmong market, though more and more vendors there will take a card, at least for a fee. Most other places I go I'll pay with card, though, and I prefer places that at least have that option available (as most places seem to do these days.)
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,163
I guess I might upset some people here by admitting up front that I am more or less cashless using only credit cards. I don’t mind paying a little extra for the convenience of using a credit card. I do have cash for emergencies, but I avoid cash only businesses. I have a bank debit card but it stays securely stashed away and is only occasionally used to withdraw cash from the bank ATM.
Same here. One of the only reasons I ever carry cash is to tip Amtrak attendants and luggage storage. Everything else I put on a credit card and Ideally I never have to use my physical card because I pay on my phone.
 

flitcraft

OBS Chief
Joined
Jan 10, 2018
Messages
749
Cash keeps you from overspending usually, unlike credit cards.
Is that ever true! Once, years ago, when I had only one credit card, I got a call from the credit union letting me know that someone had charged stuff on my card, and once I confirmed that I hadn't authorized it, they said they'd cancel the card and send me a new one in 4 weeks. The only problem was, this was in early December and I hadn't done my Christmas shopping yet. So, that year, I had to head to an ATM before every shopping outing and peel off bills to pay for things. It was harder to buy that gift sweater when I had to count out several tens than to just swipe a card without any sense of how much I was spending. My daughter remembers that Christmas as the year that nobody got all that much for Christmas!!
 

WWW

Service Attendant
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
139
Location
MSP
And that includes coins.

So who'll be the first to try to pay for their train ride with pennies?
You couldn't carry the weight (conveniently) in pennies to satisfy the fares Amtrak charges.
All that dead weight and no pockets or machines to use it in.
The closer to quarters you get the odds change.

Pennies - roll 50 in a roll - $.50
Nickels - roll 40 in a roll - $2.00
Dimes - roll 50 in a roll - $5.00
Quarters - roll 40 in a roll - $10.00 - - - Bingo something a machine can digest !

Still yet no wonder the conductors don't want to be bothered by petty change - the ole
belt coin change machine is a distant past and would never handle the volume in todays market.

The filthy paper lira - how do you know if it is legitimate or counterfeit ?

The plastic c c just swipe or chip insert and now even some you just wand over a scan device
is the current readily accepted method - you want a receipt - they send it to your email.

At light rail metro stations small coin (not pennies nickels dimes) quarters and bills $1s or $5s
and Credit Cards are accepted and in most cases you use the dispensed token card for a time
limited journey including transfers to your destination.

We are fastly approaching and now without a doubt the Star Trek day when cash will be

(what are you talking about ?)

only something in a bank account to ELECTRONICALLY move from one medium to another.
 

Barb Stout

OBS Chief
Joined
Mar 13, 2019
Messages
677
Some people keep cash on their person in order to dole a few bills out to street beggars. We have a lot of them in Albuquerque. How about other places?
 

NS VIA Fan

Conductor
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
1,697
Location
Nova Scotia
I carry some cash but just don't seem to have to use it. Everything is Tap. Either my Credit or Bank Card. When Covid hit...they upped the Tap limit and now it's only anything over $250 that you have to enter your PIN. Haven't signed a credit card slip in years!
 

AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
Messages
12,030
Location
Delaware
Some people keep cash on their person in order to dole a few bills out to street beggars. We have a lot of them in Albuquerque. How about other places?
I keep some cash in my car for the rare occasions I might need to go through a toll booth. Sometimes I'll use some of it to give to a homeless person at an intersection (if I have the red light, of course).
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
26,901
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Speaking of Toll Booths, I still keep my EZ Pass handy though usually in its protective case. It now works in most of the east coast, including Florida. Though in Florida I use the SunPass. But when I visit the northeast I take along my EZ Pass. Haven't paid any cash toll in ages.

In NY Subway you can now just use Apple Pay or Google Pay from your smartphone or smart watch, using it as a tap and go device. I have done that quite a bit using my Apple Watch. Very convenient and no shuffling around in the pocket to find the right card to tap on the turnstile.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,163
In NY Subway you can now just use Apple Pay or Google Pay from your smartphone or smart watch, using it as a tap and go device. I have done that quite a bit using my Apple Watch. Very convenient and no shuffling around in the pocket to find the right card to tap on the turnstile.
That’s really cool. I’m guessing you’d still need to swipe a card to use transfers?
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
26,901
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
That’s really cool. I’m guessing you’d still need to swipe a card to use transfers?
If the transfer point is equipped with a tap device then tapping the same Apple Watch should work for the transfer. The system knows the identity of the device that was used last and where it was used.

This is very similar to the system in London Oyster Card territory, not surprisingly, since it is pretty much the same infrastructure. Oyster has the extra feature that it automatically stops charging once you reach the price of a day pass for the zones you traveled in and the time of day in which you did so. London fare structure is way more complex than the NY one.

Anybody worried about the government tracing their movement should of course immediately stop using their cell phone and any other such device, including tap to pay devices. 🤷‍♂️

My only gripe is that all turnstiles are "right handed", i.e. the tap pad is on the right side of the path into the turnstile. I wear my watch on my left wrist, so it take a bit of a contortion to hit the tap pad when in a hurry. Same case in London too.
 

Bob Dylan

Conductor
Joined
May 31, 2009
Messages
21,618
Location
Austin Texas
Some people keep cash on their person in order to dole a few bills out to street beggars. We have a lot of them in Albuquerque. How about other places?
Yep, we've always had the panhandlers/homeless( in the old days they were called beggars or bums) in the Cities( mostly Males, but now more and more Females and Families)
,but in the past 4 years, due to Government policies, there has been a huge increase in their numbers.

A new feature here in Austin are the Encampments with Tents, thousands of them, like those in the West Coast Cities.

The Local Anti-Poor People Movement( aka Conservatives/Republicans/ Trumpers) has petitioned to get an Anti-Camping Measure on the Ballot to prohibit Camping in Public and Panhandling.
 

tricia

Conductor
Joined
Aug 23, 2011
Messages
1,195
Location
Spring Creek, NC
Square costs 2.6% of each transaction, plus 10 cents off the top as well. There's also no discount for debit cards, even though they're cheaper to run than credit cards. If you're running a low-margin business, especially one with a lot of small transactions, that adds up quickly. There's also the risk of chargebacks and dealing with those, which are not something that has to be worried about with cash transactions. There's certainly costs and risks with other payment methods, but accepting credit cards has one of the most direct costs off the top of every transaction, and unless you go completely cashless most of those expenses still exist anyways (theft is still a risk whether you have $100 or $10,000/day in cash transactions, and you still have to go in and deposit that cash frequently regardless.)

There's still places around here that are cash or check only - the check part still surprises me, as I'd expect that to have a high level of risk (bounced, invalid, or stopped checks.) They usually have an ATM on site, so if you don't have cash or check you can pay $2.50 and get cash out.
Square charges more for transactions where the merchant isn't handed a physical card (over the phone, payment online...). IIRC, it's 4%. Which adds up even faster.

Has it been verified anywhere in this thread that Amtrak is in fact not accepting cash presented at a station to buy a ticket? If so, do they make a religious accommodation for their substantial Amish/Mennonite clientele, many of whom don't use credit cards?
 

jis

Conductor
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
26,901
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Here is what Amtrak's "Purchase Train Ticket" page on its website says: (Quick summary - no cash)

 

caravanman

Conductor
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
3,921
Location
Nottingham, England.
After one trip to the USA, I was on the homeward leg, and wanted to spend my loose coins in the café car aboard the Zephyr, but the attendant refused to take them as payment. I think he had probably cashed up and did not want to bother counting my coins. I paid with a note, but my sleeping car attendant got his tip in coins!
Do attendants still accept cash "tips" on Amtrak? ;)
 

joelkfla

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
380
Location
12 miles from Walt Disney World
Speaking of Toll Booths, I still keep my EZ Pass handy though usually in its protective case. It now works in most of the east coast, including Florida. Though in Florida I use the SunPass. But when I visit the northeast I take along my EZ Pass. Haven't paid any cash toll in ages.
In FL, E-ZPass only works on roads in the Orlando area that are managed by the local Expressway Authority (E-PASS). It still won't work on roads elsewhere in the state, or on those in the Orlando area that are managed by the Turnpike Enterprise (SunPass). They keep saying they're working on it, but the promised dates keep slipping by with no change. Many toll roads in the Orlando area have some sections that are E-PASS and others that are SunPass, on the same road.

The currently offered portable E-PASS transponder, called UNI, works on both SunPass & out-of-state E-ZPass roads.
 
Top