"I bought my first car wash in 1989 in Saint Paul Minnesota and then City of Saint Paul decided they were going to tear up the entire length of the main road that my wash was on. I had a brand new wash and traffic through the wash was at an all time low once construction started. I was certain it was going to ruin me if I did not figure out something to drum up more business."Klargøring af bil

-Dan Yarusso

Nearly every car wash operator has read an article or has seen a presentation on the benefits of accepting credit cards and loyalty cards. In fact there are dozens of equipment manufacturers that now offer built-in credit card acceptance and loyalty card programs. Car wash operators in 2007 can't swing a stick at a car wash trade show without hitting the latest cashless acceptance solution for the car wash. But how did cashless acceptance within the car wash industry all start?

The Origin of Cashless Card Systems in the Wash Industry

Eighteen years ago accepting credit cards in the bay was unheard of and loyalty programs were nothing like they are today. The concept of a loyalty program consisted of discounted tokens, token notes, and coupon books. Seventeen years ago the concept of card-based cashless acceptance in the wash bay was only realized and evangelized by one man in the wash industry while the rest of the car wash industry was content selling tokens and coupons. You may remember seeing a guy at the ICA trade show in the early 1990's with a fish tank in his booth that had goldfish and a card reader in the bottom to demonstrate the readers ability to work in "wet conditions". That man with the fish tank was Dan Yarusso and he started a company back in 1990 called WashCard Systems. Based out of his garage in Hugo Minnesota, Dan started his business as a one man show. In an interview with Yarusso I had the opportunity to learn that WashCard was not originally invented to be sold to other car wash operators. In fact it was created out of a necessity to market his own struggling car wash.

Dan recalls, " I bought my first car wash in 1989 in Saint Paul Minnesota and then City of Saint Paul decided they were going to tear up the entire length of the main road that my wash was on. I had a brand new wash and traffic through the wash was at an all time low once construction started. I was certain it was going to ruin me if I did not figure out something to drum up more business."