(CNBC) As American consumers begin to embrace tap-and-pay smartphone apps, relegating plastic to a deep recess in the pocketbook or wallet, more than half of U.S. small business owners continue to live in the past—forget mobile apps, they don't take American Express, or anything other than cash.
For nearly 10 years Joe Coffee, a small chain of artisan coffee shops in New York City, accepted only cash. Not only was it a more profitable scheme—Joe's average sale was $2.75 and credit card processing would eat up about 3 percent of each transaction plus add a laundry list of fees—but being cash-only was part of the company's ethos.
"We thought of ourselves as the little mom and pop place with the owner behind the counter making coffee. Our signs were hand-drawn, our small coffee was $1.63, we'd only take cash—all those things went together," said Jonathan Rubinstein, Joe's owner.
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Six years in, Rubinstein began to notice a shift in customer behavior.