CreditCards.com

Living with credit, New products

Girl Scout Cookies: How do YOU pay for them?

Jeff Herman

Thin Mints, Caramel deLites or Trefoils – what’s your favorite Girl Scout Cookie? And what’s your preferred method of payment – cash, check, plastic or mobile payment?

Girl Scouts are celebrating 100 years of cookie sales in 2017, and girls are knocking on doors and selling cookies now at the front of stores and restaurants here in Central Texas.

Some Girl Scouts are kicking it old school with order forms and pens and taking cash and checks, and others enter orders online and process card payments on their personalized cookie websites, which process card payments.

Some other girls, like Ava (see photo) here in Austin, are wielding smartphones and Square card readers, allowing even those consumers who no longer carry cash to indulge in a sugary (and in one case gluten-free) cookie treat.

Ava selling Girl Scout Cookies with her Square mobile card reader.

Ava sold cookies using Square for the first time to CreditCards.com editor Jamie Gonzalez in late January. Ava explained that using the card reader came with one caveat: It’s a two-box minimum for card orders to cover the card processing fees.

No doubt this minimum order helps sell more boxes of cookies, too – if you have a hankering for a Thin Mint, having to get two boxes likely won’t deter you from purchasing some.

Cookies go cashless, bring in more dough
Because cookie sales are so important to the organization, it’s vital that the girls be able to sell their cookies to as many consumers as possible, including those who don’t use cash.

As a result, the Girl Scouts have been rolling out new payment options in recent years almost as fast as the bakeries have been adding new cookie choices.

In 2011, Girl Scouts tested credit card payments by smartphone in a limited test in Ohio – and sales jumped 13 percent. In 2014, cookie sales went mobile with the introduction of the Digital Cookie platform, bringing in $10 million in online sales.

Of course, you could always order cookies online and pay by card, but many consumers still want the instant gratification you get when you see those colorful boxes outside a storefront.

In fact, with so many people, especially millennials, caving in to impulse purchases, it’s probably more likely that a hungry cardholder will buy cookies on the spot with cash, credit card or mobile payment.

No matter how you pay, though, Reyna Martinez, public relations executive with Girl Scouts of Central Texas, emphasized that every cookie purchase does good in your community.

“Many people don’t realize when they are purchasing a box or boxes of cookies from our girls, they are helping fund endless possibilities – from helping with a community service project to allowing a girl to learn how to code,” she said in an emailed reply to questions.

My dream: A Girl Scout Cookies of the Month Club
What’s next? I floated the idea of a subscription cookie service that would let me order two boxes delivered every month to my home – freeing up my freezer space.

Trios, Lemonades and Peanut Butter Patties shipped to my door every month, all the while supporting local Girl Scouts through monthly credit card autopayments – now that would be sweet!

Martinez said a Girl Scout Cookie subscription service is “a bit far-fetched as we’d need to establish with our current baker how we could supply cookies year-round – but it is something to think about.”

To check when Girl Scout cookies will be available in your area, enter your ZIP code at Find Cookies. In Central Texas, cookie sales run through Feb. 26.

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, we ask that you do not disclose confidential or personal information such as your bank account numbers, social security numbers, etc. Keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company's business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.