Coin vs. Card Laundromat: Which Is Right for You?

November 14, 2023

As you contemplate your laundry payment system, two options stand out — coins and cards. These two methods have been around for a while and are well-liked by many customers. Each one has its pros and cons, and choosing the best payment solution for your laundromat can set you up for success.

Learn more about the pros and cons of card laundry and coin laundry to determine which is the right one for your facility.

Do Laundromats Have Coin Machines?

Yes, laundromats still offer coin-only options for laundromats. They are a time-honored tradition, but they’re not the most technologically advanced. There are still advantages of having a coin machine available in your laundromat. Below are some of the pros and cons of keeping coin laundry.

Pros of Coin-Only

A coin-only laundromat offers benefits like:

  Traditional reputation: People know and trust cash, so it’s a dependable option for many customers, especially those who may be a little resistant to card-based payments.

  Easy to use: Generally speaking, there’s no need to train your customers on how to use coin-based machines. It’s both straightforward and probably something they’ve used before.

  Readily available: Many commercial washers and dryers already come equipped to accept coins.

  No additional terminal costs: Coin-only doesn’t typically require the addition of payment terminals like card-only payments do.

  Fewer processing fees: By not collecting debit or credit card payments, you avoid the processing fees that come with them.

Cons of Coin-Only

The drawbacks of coin-only systems include:

  Additional counting and collection time: Gathering and counting your coins is time-consuming, especially when compared to the automatic processing of card payments. There’s the obvious handling requirements of coins and the fact that you need to be present at the laundromat to work with them.

  Increased risk of theft or vandalism: With physical currency being held in the machines, it’s more prone to break-ins and theft.

  A limited customer base: About a third of people under the age of 50 don’t use cash in a typical week, and only 18% say they make all or nearly all of their purchases with cash. If you don’t have a card-based option, you could be alienating these customers.

 Falling behind the competition: Do your laundromat competitors take card? If so, not having card-based payment options could put you behind your competitors.

  Higher cost of depositing coins: The manual requirements associated with coins can add to labor costs, and some banks will charge fees for large coin-based deposits.

  Susceptible to coin shortages: If a coin shortage hits, your customers might have a hard time getting their hands on the currency needed to do their laundry.

  Change machine misuse: Since you’ll need a change machine in the store, you may end up with people who aren’t customers using the machine for change. Since the pandemic, this has become a major problem, as there are fewer coins in circulation.

Traditional Loyalty Card-Only

With loyalty cards, customers can load a balance onto a card, allowing them to pull from their account balance with just a swipe. The card stays in their wallet and eliminates the need for cash, as they can easily refill it online or at a kiosk.

Pros of Loyalty Card-Only

Some benefits of a cashless laundromat include:

 Convenience: Customers love the speed and ease of loyalty cards. There’s no need to carry around clunky coins, stop at the ATM or convert bills.

 Easy price adjustments: As prices change over time, it’s easier to adjust how much you charge on card-based washers and dryers than coin-only machines. A few digital inputs and you’re all set.

 Easy data tracking: With cash, you can’t collect much information on who uses what machines and how often your customers are coming back. Systems based on loyalty cards allow you to monitor your customers’ activities and gain insight into how the laundromat is being used.

 Rewards and discounts: A loyalty program shouldn’t add difficulty for the customer. By integrating your payment option with loyalty cards, it’s easy to apply discounts and rewards based on membership and usage straight through the card account.

 Multi-store management: If your laundromat has multiple locations, a loyalty card payment system is easy to use across them. It can aid in automation and management, allowing you to offer consistent services across facilities and manage payments from one centralized platform.

 Less theft and vandalism directly on washers/dryers: No physical currency at the washer/dryer means there’s no money to steal from breaking into them.

 No need for a change machine: You can save space in the facility and reduce costs by foregoing a change machine.

Cons of Loyalty Card-Only

Of course, only taking loyalty cards isn’t without its disadvantages:

  More expensive upfront equipment: Depending on your current setup and the one you’re moving to, you may need to add terminals to your washers and dryers, install loyalty card kiosks or pay for the cards themselves.

  Loyalty card costs for the life of the system: Loyalty cards may come with some initial fees, as well as ongoing costs associated with obtaining the cards for each new customer you get and running the loyalty program.

  System reliability: If a loyalty card-only system goes down due to issues like server or internet outages, you won’t be able to accept payments. 

  Training requirements: Both your clients and attendants will likely need to deal with a learning curve associated with card-based payments, particularly for those who are less technologically inclined.

  Attendants needed for transition: As your customers learn how to use this system and set up their loyalty accounts, they’ll probably need some help from a person, so you may need to have some attendants on staff.

  Excluding some customers: Many people are still attached to cash payments, so going card-only could alienate them and send them to the competition.

  Proprietary card requirements: These programs require your customers to purchase proprietary cards that are only useful at your laundry facility.

  On-site card kiosk stations: Having a kiosk in place for customers to add money to their cards represents another cost and takes up more space in the facility.

The Comprehensive Approach: Hybrid Payment Solutions

With these two options appealing to different customers, we think the best approach is to offer both. You can reap the benefits of each one while minimizing the drawbacks by filling the gaps. A hybrid system allows you to take both loyalty cards and cash without limiting yourself or your customers to one option.

SpyderWash is our hybrid payment solution that supports both payment preferences, along with credit card, debit card and contactless options that allow you to accept nearly any type of payment by adding a simple terminal to your machines. You can satisfy more customers and make management much easier with a platform supported by the laundry payment leaders since 1968.

Reach out to us today to learn more about SpyderWash and what it can do for your laundromat.

By Setomatic Systems on November, 29 2021



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