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Oakland Chinatown Cash-Only Businesses Convert To Credit To Stop Attacks On Asians

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- At Big Dish Restaurant in Oakland Chinatown there are ducks in the window, dim sum in baskets and a more recent addition - a Square credit card reader at the register.

For years, Asian owned and operated businesses in the neighborhood had run on a largely cash-only model. Getting them to convert to accepting credit and debit cards has been a 10 year-long project for Carl Chan, president of the Oakland Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.

"It's almost like pulling teeth - even harder than that. I understand why - their profit margin is so low and if they're using credit cards, there will be fees involved," Chan told KPIX5.

What changed for business owners was the seemingly non-stop video over the past two years of Asian seniors getting targeted and attacked for the cash they were carrying.

"Normally, you have to go to the bank, get cash before you come and patronize the business," said Chan.

Those cash-only businesses, including Big Dish, increasingly were victimized and robbed, too.

"People who are trying to rob a store seeing "cash only" and that's most likely the one that they want to pick and choose," said Chan.

The Chamber has been offering both Zoom and in-person classes to help educate and train business owners. There have also been deals made for lower initial rates for accepting cards with operators like Square.

Jenny Wu says more people are coming into Big Dish now and spending more money, thanks to the switch.

"Many people use the card," she told KPIX5.

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