A setback in the war on cash – Discounts for cash payment
[ Update 7/22/11: Well, it looks like I'm late to the party, again. The US Mint has stopped taking credit cards. Too bad a bunch of bad apples had to ruin this cool program for the rest of us. Either way, you can still order $1 coins from the US Mint and not be charged for shipping. The only extra cost will be for the stamp to mail your order form. I'd encourage anybody who still feels the need to pay with cash to do so as coins are *MUCH* faster to process. That said an ORCA card is still the way to go. ]
Do you pay your transit fare with cash? If so, would you like a discount, albeit a small one, for doing so?
The US Mint $1 Coin Direct Ship program allows you to purchase $1 coins on your credit card with free shipping. In addition, there is supposedly no cash withdraw fee as you would expect. Assuming you have a cash back or a frequent flyer miles reward card, you can purchase $1 coins to spend however you choose and pocket whatever benefits your credit card gives you. Seem crazy? Since the Mint makes a “profit” of about $.70 per coin, it actually isn’t as crazy as it sounds especially since they are currently being forced to mint coins that nobody wants and pay to keep them safe in a vault.
If you’ve followed my comments on Seattle Transit Blog you know that I *hate* cash. Watching people feed $1 bills into my fare box takes up too much of my day and makes our transit system far less efficient than it could be. I’ve even been known to use scare tactics in this “war”. But for folks who are organized enough to order and use $1 coins, I’ll make an exception. Putting 4 coins (2 x $1 and 2 x .25) into the fare box is remarkably quick. Done properly, paying with coins is almost as fast as using an ORCA card. If you use the Orca card for convenience and the ability to transfer between Sound Transit and other agencies, all is not lost. The Sound Transit Ticket Vending Machines, where you can load your e-Purse, take $1 coins. Assuming the machines use the $1 coins for change, you may even be saving Sound Transit the effort of refilling the machines with $1 coins.
So how about it? Want to buy some $1 coins, earn frequent flyer miles, save the US Taxpayer some money, and make your bus driver happy? Head on over to the US Mint’s web site and buy some. I’ve ordered 250 and will be using them instead of going to the ATM. I’ll let you know how it goes and how many cashiers I annoy by paying entirely with coins.