Can A Restaurant Refuse Card Payment?

As an ex-chef in hospitality and now a food writer and blogger, I am often asked whether restaurants can refuse card payment and accept only cash.

Restaurants accepting cashless payments have become a trend in recent years, but what happens when you don’t have any cash on you, and the restaurant refuses your card payment?

Read on to see more details on when a restaurant refuses card payments.

Card Payments and Cashless Transactions

A customer paying by card payment.
A customer paying by card payment.

Card payments are a type of electronic payment that allows customers to pay for goods and services using their debit or credit cards. These payments are quick, convenient, and secure.

Today, many people prefer to pay electronically, as cash can be difficult to manage, and some people don’t carry it at all.

Cashless transactions are those transactions that don’t involve the use of physical cash.

Besides card payments, other cashless transactions include mobile payments, digital wallets, and online transfers.

Can A Restaurant Refuse Card Payment?

Yes, a restaurant can refuse card payment. According to the federal law, businesses are not obligated to accept card payments.

However, some states have laws that compel businesses to accept card payments.

For example, in Massachusetts, businesses cannot refuse card payments for purchases that are over $10, as per Merchant Cost Consulting.

In New York, businesses are required to accept card payments if their customers request it.

Therefore, it’s essential to research the state laws before visiting a restaurant to avoid any surprises.

Reasons For Refusing Card Payments

Now that we know that restaurants can refuse card payments let’s examine some of the reasons behind this decision.

Cost of Transactions

Restaurants pay a fee to the card companies for each transaction they process.

These fees can be quite high, making it less profitable for the restaurant.

Therefore, some restaurants refuse card payments to avoid these fees.

Technical Difficulties

Sometimes, credit card machines malfunction or break down.

In such cases, the restaurant cannot accept card payments and has to rely on cash payments.

Fraudulent Activities

Credit card fraud is a problem that businesses face, and restaurants are not immune to it.

Sometimes, the restaurant might think that the card payment is fraudulent and refuse it.

Restaurants tend to be the first destination to use stolen credit cards.

FAQs

Is it legal for a restaurant to refuse card payment?

Yes, it is legal for a restaurant to refuse card payment.

What should I do if the restaurant doesn’t accept card payments?

If the restaurant doesn’t accept card payments, there are a few options. You can either pay in cash or find another restaurant that accepts card payments.

Are there any state laws that require restaurants to accept card payments?

Yes, some states have laws that require businesses to accept card payments. Therefore, it’s essential to research the state laws before visiting a restaurant.

Can a restaurant refuse large bills?

Yes, a restaurant can refuse large bills if they don’t have enough change.

Summary

Restaurants can refuse card payments, and there are several reasons behind this decision.

However, customers should always research the state laws before visiting a restaurant to avoid any surprises.

If a restaurant doesn’t accept card payments, you can either pay in cash or find another restaurant that accepts card payments.

Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.