By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Paper or plastic? Which is the way you like to pay?
Do you automatically whip out a credit card or pull cash out of your wallet instead?
As 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan finds, one form of payment could save you money, and in many cases, all you have to do is ask.
Everyone knows it will save you money at the gas pump, but it could also help lower your bill at the repair shop and put a smile on your face at the dentist office.
While credit cards are no doubt convenient, now more than ever, cash is king.
“We’re more than willing to give them a discount,” said Tony Dicesare.
At Tony Dicesare’s Auto Service in Westmont, New Jersey, all you have to do is ask.
“If you want to pay by cash, we’ll be more than happy to give you a cash discount for not using a credit card,” said Dicesare.
That discount averages around 3 to 4 percent; the amount businesses have to pay in order to process a credit card transaction.
“I would rather see you have that 3 or 4 percent in your pocket than me giving it to the credit card,” said Dicesare.
“Every time I swipe that card, it’s a cost to me, and at the end of the day and at the end of the year, those charges add up,” said Lynda Kane.
Kane owns Aenigma Jewelry in Collingswood. She is among a growing number of business owners offering a discount to customers paying with cash.
“If they do have an article, and they don’t want to use their credit card and if they do pay by check or cash, then I will give them like, if they ask, a 3 to 4 percent reduction in what they purchased,” said Kane.
“It’s a win-win situation,” said Dr. Barry Dubin.
The Center City dentist says most of his patients take advantage of a five percent discount he offers when they pay cash up front for major dental work.
“We come right out and say that if you pay this upfront, there’s a five percent discount, and go use the money for something else,” said Dubin.
Patients pocket the savings, and Dr. Dubin has less paperwork to deal with.
“Now we have no billing. We can pass that on to other patients because it keeps our overhead down.
While cash discounts are being offered by an increasing number of small businesses, large chain stores aren’t likely to offer them. If you’re in doubt, it might be worth asking.
Also, there are instances where using your credit card may be preferable, such as if your credit card company offers extended warranty protection for purchases made with the card.