Check out faster AND help us all avoid credit card fees

Check out faster AND help us all avoid credit card fees

Did you know you can increase another aspect of “keeping it local” by adjusting how you pay at checkout?  During the past year, MNFC paid over $150,000 in credit card fees! This startling amount leaves our local community and flows to out-of-state banks. Think about what could be done locally with these funds, either through increased community supports or improvements in customer services.

When you purchase food at the Co-op, you support the hundreds of local producers who live in our area and you are keeping the money in local circulation. And remember, if you’re a member-owner of the Co-op, you own shares in this store and will receive an annual patronage dividend refund based on your purchase history. The shares you hold represent your whole-hearted commitment to community-produced and distributed healthy foods.

While I certainly do not want to “guilt” anyone for using a credit card, there are some options to consider. The use of checks or cash is one possibility to avoid credit card fees, but this is not always convenient.  You could also consider using an MNFC Gift Card for all of your Co-op purchases. This card can be obtained from any cashier.  You decide how much value you want to put on the card, write a check for that amount, then use the gift card every time you shop.  It is like cash and thus should be kept in a secure place. There is a number associated with the card, found on the back and on the receipt when you put money on it. Note this number somewhere secure so if the card is lost, payment can be stopped. I took a photo of my card with my phone.

Any customary Co-op discount you receive stays the same, and the amount remaining on the card shows up at the bottom of your receipt every time you make a purchase.  When the balance runs low, writing another check will load the same card for another period of time.  I tend to reload every month.

There are several advantages to this process:

  • You can budget what you believe is reasonable for you to spend at the Co-op, say for a month’s time, and keep track of your spending.
  • Going through the check out line is extremely quick and efficient. The cashier scans your card, you get a receipt, and you’re done!  Nothing to sign, no check to write, no numbers to punch in, no waiting for change. The cashiers really like the ease of this process and you’re apt to get some unsolicited positive regard from them.
  • Use of the MNFC gift card completely eliminates fees the Co-op has to pay to banks and financial institutions when you use a credit or debit card. Yes, debit cards have fees as well!
  • Finally, remember that an MNFC gift card is a wonderful way to give anyone a present, for any occasion. The gift card can encourage someone new to the Co-op to make their first visit and can introduce longtime customers to this very efficient way of paying for purchases.

This is a very quick and convenient way to pay for purchases, and avoids paying fees to out of state banks … a win-win. This is how I have paid for all of my MNFC shopping over the past two years. Try it, I think you’ll like it!

Louise Vojtisek is a member of our Co-op Board of Directors.  For questions about this article, please contact board@middleburycoop.com.

You Might Also Be Interested In

  • reply Carol Calhoun ,

    The amount MNFC spends on credit card (and debit card) fees is astounding and worth reminding us about periodically to nudge us away from using credit cards. MNFC gift card is a great thank you present and is especially on target in this holiday season. I long have thought that writing a check in the Express line is a contradiction. It decidedly is NOT express. Better to discourage check writing at check out time at all – and to encourage us to decide ahead how much we’d like to deposit in our MNFC card account and write it BEFORE we are at check out. Thanks, Louise, for this smart and literate article!

    • reply Pearl in the Woods ,

      Thanks for quantifying the credit card fee conundrum. Seen in the aggregate, the dollar outflow is sobering. I use my cc because of its rewards system, up to 5% cashback. However, I will rethink the issue and consider the gift card option.

      Leave a comment

      © Copyright 2016 - Middlebury Food Co-op