Visa is calling on small restaurants, cafes and food truck owners in the U.S. to put dollar bills down and embrace digital payment technology. To sweeten that switch away from paper currency, the global credit card and payment giant is offering 50 domestic-based food service businesses up to $10,000 each to commit to going entirely cashless.

"At Visa, we believe you can be everywhere you want to be, and that it should be easy to pay and be paid in more ways than ever, whether it's a phone, card, wearable or other device," according to Jack Forestell, Visa's head of global merchant solutions, in a statement. "With 70 percent of the world, or more than 5 billion people, connected via mobile device by 2020, we have an incredible opportunity to educate merchants and consumers alike on the effectiveness of going cashless."

Digital payments offer small merchants big benefits to boost their bottom lines, according to Visa. Its recent study, for example, found that digital, cashless technology could cut the cost of labor services for small businesses by more than 186 million hours in New York City.

One worker laboring 40 hours a week clocks 2,085 hours a year. Thus, Visa's figure of eliminating 186 million hours comes to 89,208 employees on a 40-hour week.

Visa's cashless and digital payment services for small businesses and their customers were available at Formula E electric racing in Brooklyn on July 15-16, which the company sponsored. At the event, NYC eateries 2nd City, Fish Cheeks, and Mulberry and Vine offered their customers cashless commerce.

"This digital payment technology is seamless and transparent," said Jennifer Saesue, owner of Fish Cheeks. "It also reduces our time closing out at the end of the business day, and reduces back-office hours, too."

Time is money, especially for small businesses on razor-thin profit margins.

On the West Coast, Split Bread of San Francisco in the downtown business district, one of its three city locations, is also realizing benefits from ditching cash for digital payments.

"Removing cash from the equation completely changed our model, and simplified things," according to a statement from the sandwich business.

Split Bread concurred with Saesue of Fish Cheeks on the broad benefits of using digital payment technology for business transactions, at and above the proverbial bottom line.

"For example, without cash, there's no reconciliation at the end of the day. It's done," the company said. "Our staff can go home to their families and not spend an hour counting cash and crunching numbers."

Visa's advanced processing network — VisaNet — has the capacity to handle more than 65,000 transaction messages a second, while protecting consumers from fraud and assuring payment to merchants, the company said.