Credit card

Farmers assess possibility of accepting credit card payments at markets

Three farmers in the area each have a different approach to payment processing, based on customer convenience, taxes and fees.

EAST MOLINE, Ill. — Fresh produce is in demand and area farmers are taking full advantage. But depending on where you’re shopping and who’s selling, your payment options may be limited.

Credit cards have become commonplace in almost all business transactions. Some farmers at the East Moline Farmers’ Market, near the Rock Island County Fairgrounds, choose to only accept cash. Others, however, say accepting credit cards is part of doing business.

Travis Smeltzly has been coming to this market for over five years.

“We have to pay to sit in our markets, so we’re doing $6 for 13 [ears of corn]”said Smeltzly.

That price has remained constant over the years, Smeltzly said, because of choice.

“It’s not practical for us to make cardboard,” Smeltzly said. “So we send to the market whoever we send with a piggy bank with money, and it’s much simpler for us.”

Money is also Gwen Baar’s preference. However, she takes a different approach and offers options to her clients.

“I do everything,” Baar said. “I get a lot of checks, I do debit and credit, you know, I try to be convenient for my customer.”

When Baar accepts a card, the resulting charges reduce its results.

“The fees arise from the transaction,” Baar explained. “So it’s so much per transaction, then it’s a percentage of the total transaction, so there are two fees associated with it.”

Baar also said small transactions make credit card transactions less attractive to process. That’s why she has a sign on her booth explaining a $15 minimum purchase for using a credit card.

“Some people will come here and it will be 75 cents and they want to charge it,” Baar said. “So by the time I’m being charged transaction fees and the percentage, I’ve earned basically nothing.”

Baar said she always used credit cards for transactions if the amount wasn’t exactly $15 or more. She said it was all to provide comfort to her customers and keep them coming back.

“It’s something I do just so I can do business,” Baar said.

If the demand for credit card payments were higher for Eugene Mohr’s customers, he would consider adding this service when he goes to sell in the markets. But to do that, he said he would first have to change his prices.

“I’ve lost a few customers at Moline this year actually and almost lost one today, I had it in the bag, hand me a card and say ‘oops,'” Mohr said.

That investment could be worth its cost in the long run, Mohr said.

“Everything went through the roof, plants, seeds, fertilizer, gas to get here,” Mohr said.

It’s a business decision for each of these owners that makes the most sense.

The East Moline Farmers’ Market, which includes several area farmers, is held every Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.