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All Iowa State Fair vendors will take credit cards by 2020

DES MOINES – Six months from now, the Iowa State Fair will be underway. And with all this snow and cold weather, it’s nice to dream of a hot da...

DES MOINES – Six months from now, the Iowa State Fair will be underway. And with all this snow and cold weather, it’s nice to dream of a hot day at the fair, with all the indulgent foods.  

“We love planning for the summer and that’s what gets us through these winter days,” said Mindy Williamson, the communications director for the Iowa State Fair.

One of those plans affects vendors. The fair is having them transition to a universal credit and debit card program called Clover. 

“No longer will you have that fear that you’ll get up to the window and maybe not have cash and not purchase the thing you’ve been waiting in line for,” said Williamson.

Williamson says many vendors tested out the new system last year. And that more will try it out this summer. It’s not until 2020 that the switch will take affect for everyone.

“We can understand from the consumer perspective of you want to convienetly pay how you want to,” she added. “And we see it from the vender perspective that this is a business expense and we want them to plan for that and plan to impliment that system as well.”

However, Williamson says over half their vendors already operate with their own card system. Including the well-know Rib Shack. And now they will have to switch to the one the fair is soon to require.

“I invested about $10,000 into the system I have now, so that’s the only bad thing for me because now I have a system that is obsolete, it’s only used for the fair,” said Joni Bell, Owner of the Rib Shack and Great Caterers of Iowa. 

Bell says last year they did more credit card sales than they expected. 

 “At the end of the day we have easy transactions, we punch a button and have a read out for the day and breaks down every item we sold,” said Bell. 

Bell enjoys the simple book-keeping, and how convenient using cards is for her customers. But knows every time someone swipes, it costs. 

“They take quite a bit of your money at the end of the day for the transaction fee, so hopefully the fair is getting us a good percentage,” she said.

Cash is of course welcome if you prefer to pay that way. Also all of the ATM’s will still be on the fairgrounds if you like to take out money when you arrive. 

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