Woman at a laundromat loading clothes into a washer that accepts credit cards.

Increase profits by upgrading your laundry payment systems - credit cards, NFC, digital payments and more

Monday, December 05, 2022

The self-serve laundry industry has struggled with its transition into digital payments for more than two decades. Even now, most laundromat revenue is still received one quarter at a time, according to the Coin Laundry Association. But considering most people don’t carry much cash (if any) and spend on average 120% more per transaction when using cards, slow adoption in the laundry business isn’t great for profit.

If you’re curious about how you can increase your revenue and offer more convenience and flexibility to your customers, without changing your core business model or being a technology expert, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn more about the benefits of accepting credit and debit card payments at your laundromat, what your options are for upgrading, and how it all works.

Cash’s rule as king is coming to an end

Cash has long been seen as the foundation of vended laundry facilities. But this payment method presents several problems for customers and owners.

Cash is inconvenient for customers because they often have to go out of their way to get it from the bank or else pay ATM fees to use an on-premise machine. Then they have to feed that paper money into your bill changer only to turn around and feed all those quarters into washers and dryers. Today’s consumers are accustomed to more convenient, electronic ways to pay — like chip cards, mobile wallets and other contactless methods — and expect to use them everywhere. In fact, the Federal Reserve reports that the use of cards over cash expands every year.

Make no mistake though, cash businesses have pitfalls for owners and operators, too. Paper bills and quarters inherently lack most of the tracking capabilities that other forms of payment provide, leaving businesses exposed to a heightened risk of employee theft.

Having more cash on hand also increases your organization’s exposure to external threats, such as robberies in-store or on the way to make a deposit. However, electronic payments can insulate against unforeseen circumstances — from an expensive bill changer breaking down unexpectedly (and seemingly always on a weekend) to the recent cash shortage caused by the COVID pandemic.

Despite these shortcomings of coins and paper money, some entrepreneurs keep on contemplating the cash conundrum for their laundry business — often citing the charges and fees associated with card processing as the reasons why, even though surcharge programs are available to recoup those costs.

Alas, it’s never been easier to bring state-of-the-art innovation to your operations with technologies that both enhance the customer experience, drive down your overhead costs and boost revenue.

Modern laundry payment systems that don’t break the bank

These days, credit card processing is a must for small businesses — even self-serve laundromats. The reason why? People now use credit and debit cards for the majority of their payments. By only taking cash, your laundromat is missing out on sales in two important ways.

First, almost half of consumers who can’t use their preferred method of payment will simply walk out the door, according to data published in PlanetLaundry. And with 60% of laundromat owners responding in a recent survey that they accept other forms of payments besides cash, it’s likely there is another facility close by that is happy to welcome in your customers.

Second, people are likely to spend more at your laundromat when they can easily swipe their card to add additional time to a dryer or run heavily soiled clothes through another wash cycle. And these additional transactions can add up fast, helping to boost revenue and offset the cost of card acceptance.

Electronic payment methods also alleviate the expense and hassle of going to the bank to replenish your bank of quarters. And for owners who are concerned about knowing exactly how much their processing costs will be each month, flat rate pricing is a perfect solution.

So how difficult is it to get started? It’s actually really easy!

Family with two adults and two kids standing near washers and folding clothes at a laundromat.

Providing the convenient payment methods your customers expect

Card based laundry solutions give consumers more payment options than ever before, and industry-leading technology makes setup and installation a breeze. Depending on the system you choose for your facility, your customers can start their washer and dryer cycles with:

  • Credit and debit cards

  • Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay

  • Mobile apps

  • Purchased value codes

  • Stored value (SmartCard or LaundryCard)

  • Amenity cards

  • Loyalty cards

Modern, electronic payment solutions also offer your laundry facility a variety of benefits. With a card based system you can:

  • Streamline your operations
  • Minimize theft, vandalism and coin jams
  • Free customers from searching for coins
  • Build customer loyalty
  • Track customer transaction history

Whether you accept payments using credit cards, mobile apps or text messaging, today’s laundry solutions are simple and convenient for your customers — and economical for you.

There are a lot of options out there, including Heartland, which is already integrated with many popular machines. And we work with vending developers on new integrations. So let us know if you're interested in laundry vending machines or partnerships.

What you can expect from a Heartland integration:

  • Customers can pay with credit and debit card at the laundry machine
  • Ability to accept EMV credit cards, Apple Pay and Android Pay
  • Cardholders can receive notifications via text message when laundry is done
  • Real time machine availability and cycle status for both operators and cardholders
  • Option to choose a coin/card system or card-only system
  • Safety and security with full PCI compliance
  • Simple installation and setup
  • End-to-end support with no middleman
  • Full suite of operator reports (real time and historical)
Group of washers and dryers with a cashless payment system at a laundry business.

Helpful links and resources

Are you interested in partnering with Heartland? Click here to learn more about becoming an integrator or a referral partner.

If you’re looking for a data sheet on our card readers, kiosks or other hardware, click here to visit our resources page.


Heartland is the point of sale, payments and payroll solution of choice for entrepreneurs that need human-centered technology to sell more, keep customers coming back and spend less time in the back office. Nearly 1,000,000 businesses trust us to guide them through market changes and technology challenges, so they can stay competitive and focus on building remarkable businesses instead of managing the daily grind. Learn more at heartland.us