Public: Currency
complex money   (+2, -2)  [vote for, against]
Imagine away those credit card bills

I propose the introduction of complex money (that is money in the form £ a + bi ).

Shops would display prices in this form, with "a" equal to the price in REAL HARD CASH, and "b.i" equal to the price as purchased using some form of credit.

"b.i" would therefore take into account the cost of interest payments on outstanding storecard balances, and could be updated for each shopper (perhaps through bluetooth communication with a hand-held computer connected to a GPS reading). Custard would of course be imaginary-free...
-- suctionpad, Jul 23 2003

Sager 4760-C at PC Torque
$1528.00 (Cash Discount $1492.86) [phoenix, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

There are plenty of stores which charge a surcharge for credit purchases.
-- phoenix, Jul 23 2003

So you're asking stores to charge less for cash transactions. There are a few who will do that, but it's rare, and there is not much incentive to do it.
-- waugsqueke, Jul 23 2003

[waugsqueke] no...only for the stores to display the true cost of credit-based transactions, by including relevant interest payments in the imaginary part of the price.
-- suctionpad, Jul 24 2003

But if you pay by credit card, the total cost is influenced by the rate that your card operator charges, and will be unknown to the retailer. Even if they only report based on their own card, interest charged depends on how much of the balance you pay, and when.
-- angel, Jul 24 2003

...hence the handheld computer etc.
-- suctionpad, Jul 24 2003

waugsqueke, in the UK you can quite often get a 'discount for cash', especially in shops offering 0% financing, as they have figured the cost of giving credit into the price of the goods.
-- DrBob, Jul 24 2003

[suctionpad]: If you're calculating the price on the basis of individual card terms, the shop cannot display the price with this already taken into account. The price tag says "$47.58 cash; for effective credit price, plug this figure into your personal credit-card model." If the price-tag polls your hand-held gadget to calculate for you, it cannot know how much of your card balance you intend to pay next month, and this will be a determinator of the effective price.
-- angel, Jul 24 2003

Yes, good doctor. There are a few who will do that here too. But as I mentioned, not many retailers see much reason to, and instead just raise the price of everything to cover the credit costs, even if you do pay cash. This way they make a couple of cents more on cash transactions.
-- waugsqueke, Jul 24 2003

I did think that where this would come into its own would be for the purchase of large items, such as cars, where the goods are priced for cash transactions, but are usually bought through a credit agreement with the seller.

And anyway, wouldn't it be cool?
-- suctionpad, Jul 24 2003

For retailers to get set up with the card companies, they must agree to charge the same price as cash. This should be legislated against as a form of price control (control of the price of credit). Retailers usually pay from 5-6% of the transaction cost to the card companies. They should be able to quote a cash price and mark up for cards.
-- Temporary Sanity, Oct 31 2003

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