10 Benefits of a Small Business Accepting Credit Cards
Are you on the verge of opening a small business? Will you make your sales online? Will you be selling directly to customers? If you decide to sell online, it is pretty much a given that you will have to accept credit cards, debit cards or use a service like PayPal. However, if you have a traditional store or provide service to local people, you can operate on a cash basis. You do not have to accept credit cards or debit cards.
Yet sooner or later, customers will ask if you accept debit or credit cards. More likely sooner rather than later. Does this make you a little bit nervous? The thought of taking credit cards made me nervous. I have heard other business owners complain about how the credit card fees add up. Plus, I was not sure exactly how to go about setting my business up to accept credit cards. Sometimes the unknown can make the idea of accepting credit cards seem even more challenging than it is. All I knew for certain was that as small business owner, I could not and still can not afford to waste time or money. I suspect you understand exactly what I am talking about.
In my case, I recently opened a small retail gift and home decor shop in a little country town along a well traveled road. My shop was a dream come true. I wanted to ensure that the local people could afford to shop in my store, so I opted to carry a lot of small items. My strategy worked. I am getting great support for the community. Most of my sales are comparatively small. They are between $5 to $35.
Since they are small transactions, I quickly discovered that most people seemed to carry around enough cash to make their purchase. So, I was able to get by without accepting credit cards for a while. Yet, when I finally did start accepting credit cards, I realized that it was a VERY wise business decision to accept credit cards and debit cards.
First, let’s discuss the reasons that you, a small business owner, may not want to accept credit cards.
6 Valid Reasons To Not Accept Credit or Debit Payments
- You operate a type of business that the credit card processors do not want to work with. (For example, if you live in a state where marijuana is legal; you probably will not be able to find a credit card processor that will work with your business. They do not want to because marijuana is illegal on a federal level.)
- You want to avoid paying transaction fees on each sale.
- You want to avoid the requirement to purchase the equipment related to the credit card machines. For example, you may need to purchase a credit card reader, receipt printer, Ipad or an expensive cash register system.
- You prefer to avoid having to learn how to operate the credit card equipment.
- You want to get paid immediately rather than wait a few days before the funds are deposited into your account.
- You want to avoid the risks related to stolen credit cards or stolen customer information.
As you can see, there are a lot of legitimate reasons for a small business to NOT take credit cards.
In my case, I reasoned that if my shop didn’t take credit cards or debit cards, I would save money. It also saved me from needing to purchase the equipment & receipt printers for the credit card machine. Additionally, the cash register that I purchased was a very basic system that was not designed to work with credit card terminals. So by NOT taking credit cards, I was able to avoid the hassle of figuring out how to implement the credit card payments into my cash accounting system. When I finally did purchase the credit card equipment, I initially encountered some issues knowing whether the reader was actually working or not. So, I did not use the system.
As any small business owner knows, we have to watch our cash flow and expenses very closely. I rationalized NOT taking credit cards was a wise decision. On a few occasions, people didn’t have cash to pay for their purchase. However, they were willing to go to the ATM that was located at the convenience store next door. I told them I would deduct the cost of the ATM fee if necessary. On other occasions, people borrowed a few dollars from their spouse or friends to come up with the payment. I know that I lost one customer because I didn’t accept credit cards. Her purchase would have been $6 total, so I was not overly concerned.
Yet, as the holiday shopping season started approaching, I decided that I probably should go ahead and do what was necessary to accept credit cards and debit cards. I was not concerned about losing the $6 sale but I did not want to start losing bigger sales. Being a new business, I could not afford to lose business over the holidays because I was not accepting credit cards.
After all, I typically expect to be able to pay with my debit card when I am out shopping. At the time that I first wrote this, my shop had been accepting credit cards for 14 days. I wish that I would have started accepting credit cards sooner. Two months later as I update this article, I still wish that I would have started taking credit cards sooner.
10 Reasons Why It is Beneficial for a Small Retail Business to Accept Credit Cards
- Most people expect to be able to use their credit/debit card
- The convenience allows a better shopping experience
- There is not the risk of the person NOT coming back with cash
- Credit card payments allow a person to make a purchase even if they do not have the money.
- Credit cards allow people to make larger purchases. They are not restricted to the cash they have with them.
- You minimize your risks of accepting a bad check that will bounce. If you accept checks, this is always a possibility.
- You reduce the risk of accepting counterfeit money since more of your transactions are being paid with credit or debit cards.
- Should there be some sort of emergency such as a robbery, a fire or some other accident, you stand to lose less money since you will have less cash in the drawer.
- Save time and gas by NOT having to drive to the bank to make as many cash deposits. (This has been one of the biggest bonuses to accepting credit cards that I did not anticipate.)
- It feels great to be able to see someone pulling out a credit card for a large purchase and knowing you don’t have to worry about potentially losing the sale.
- Depending on your merchant that you use to process the payments, there may be additional reports and features available that will assist you with running your business.
If I had to do it all over again, I would have set my business up to accept credit card and debit card payments even sooner. My sales have gotten bigger. It has been wonderful to avoid the “I am sorry, we don’t accept credit card” discussion. I love the convenience of not having to go to the bank as often. (This may sound funny but my small town bank will not allow us to make deposits with the ATM machine. We have to either go through the drive through or inside. Even though I have to wait a few days for my sales revenue to be deposited into the bank account; I find the reduction of trips to the bank is more than worth it.)
What about you? Do you use credit cards when you shop? When is the last time that you bought anything from a store that did NOT accept credit cards?
In my next blog post, I will discuss how to actually get set up so that you can accept credit cards and debit cards. It is easier than you think.
Thanks for reading. Best wishes as you start and grow your business.