DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Starting next year, those pork chops on a stick can be bought with a card.

The Iowa State Fair has confirmed that it will require all food and drink vendors to accept credit and debit card payments beginning in 2020.

Cash has long been the dominant method of payment for the fried cheese curds, corn dogs, and scores of other foods bought by fairgoers, many of whom visit to see the famous Butter Cow sculpture. Roughly 30 ATM machines are located throughout the fairgrounds.

But the fair recently informed concessions vendors that they will be required to use Clover cash registers starting next year that accept credit and debit payments. They will have the option to use the small machines at this year's fair, which begins Aug. 8.

Any changes to traditions at the fair can be controversial. In 2014, fair officials quickly abandoned a plan to require customers to purchase tickets in order to pay for their concessions after a backlash.

In a letter to vendors, concessions director Mike Nye noted that he has been encouraging them for several years to consider accepting credit cards and that some of them have successfully tested out different systems. He said that research shows people spend 15 percent more per transaction when using credit cards and that customers overwhelmingly prefer cashless payment options.

He said the new registers will also allow more consistent reporting of vendor sales, 19.5 percent of which returns to the fair for rent, and can help track inventory as well.

"Our goal is to have a system in place that has integrity and consistency in reporting that makes it quick and easy for the user while letting the consumer use whichever payment method they prefer," he wrote. "The Clover System will do all of that and more."

The systems can be purchased for $499 apiece, rented or leased and also have some costs associated with software, internet connections and transaction fees.

Fair spokeswoman Mindy Williamson said that the machines will still allow for cash payments. But she said they will reduce the amount of cash handled on busy days, which will improve safety. She said that the change is being implemented over two years to allow vendors to plan for the expenses and to train their employees.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

0
0
0
0
0
You must be logged in to react.
Click any reaction to login.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.