At the end of each financial year, the Coop Board reviews the store’s performance.  Every year, we’re dismayed by the amount of money we spend on bank charges.

What are Bank Charges?  They are a fee that we get charged every time a customer uses a credit card for a purchase.  It doesn’t seem like much each time, but over the course of a year it really adds up:  in our 2020-2021 fiscal year, we paid about $27,000 in bank charges.

With twenty-seven thousand dollars we could do a lot.  We could remodel our back porch for more seating.  We could upgrade equipment.  We could put a bit more in our bank account in case of emergencies.

Often, the Coop has gone to the membership for donations to help with projects that are a little outside our core business model of selling food.  If our members stopped using credit cards at the till, we would have more cash reserves and wouldn’t need to ask for help as often.

We understand that credit cards are extremely convenient, and that carrying cash or writing a cheque is not always possible.  If you love that plastic convenience, ATM (debit) cards are a friendlier choice;  though per-transaction fees are still charged, they are much less.  

But there’s a way to make our till transactions even more frictionless — the mighty prepay!  When members set up a prepaid account at the Coop, it helps us in many ways and is the most convenient payment method of all.

Prepaid accounts help the store to purchase next year’s inventory in Spring when other cash reserves are low.  A prepaid account means that you don’t even have to bring your wallet with you when shopping — and you don’t have to touch any equipment at the till.  Just say “Put it on my account please,” and at the end of your receipt you will see the running balance.

I often forget to top up my prepay account at the store, or skip it because I don’t want to hold other customers up.  But as of this year, you can put some money in your prepay account by email!

An Interac transfer to will do the trick.  Xuan works on Mondays and Thursdays, so your account won’t get topped up until one of her working days.  She will confirm your prepay deposit on receipt.

Please consider leaving the credit card in your wallet or at home — ditch the plastic — try the prepay!  It’s the easiest, best payment method for both store and customer.

In order of preference, the most cost-effective ways for the store to receive our payments are:  Prepay, Cash, ATM card, cheque, and (distant last place!) credit card.