One of the biggest challenges for a small business is competing with larger businesses with greater resources. One proven strategy for leveling the playing field is to accept credit cards. After all, Federal Reserve data released in 2014 revealed that 72 percent of consumers had at least one credit card. That’s a huge market that no merchant can afford to ignore — especially small businesses who don’t plan on remaining small for long.
Small businesses that start to accept credit cards benefit in a variety of ways. Most obviously, they immediately become a shopping option for patrons who prefer to pay with plastic. In their eyes, seeing the logos of the major credit cards in a merchant’s shop or on their website means that merchant is in the same league as much larger retailers. Since most small businesses strive to offer the superior customer service that the Big Boys often can’t or won’t, it’s a no brainer that they should expand their payment options to include the debit and credit cards consumers use so frequently.
Secondly, the convenience of credit cards cuts both ways. Consumers appreciate swiping or dipping their card and cutting the transaction time to just seconds so they can be on their way. But merchants benefit, too. Shorter transaction times mean they can serve more customers more efficiently. And, at the end of the day, merchants can send all their transactions in one batch to their credit card processor for electronic settlement, knowing that within days the proceeds will land in their account.
Merchants who accept credit cards also usually see an increase in sales. The reason is simple: Credit card shoppers tend to spend more than shoppers who pay with cash or a check. Impulse buying and upgrading to a higher level of merchandise are both possible when the shopper taps a line of credit instead of a wallet to pay.
Finally, there are savings to be realized from accepting credit cards. Merchants spend less time making bank runs and processing paper checks. New credit card processing options like wireless and mobile mean that merchants who deliver services or products to customers’ homes or businesses can collect right then and there, foregoing the time-consuming and expensive billing and collection process.
Today’s credit card processing is fast, convenient and safe, and the many options available give merchants the opportunity to work with a merchant services provider to design a package that meets all their requirements. For small business, being able to accept credit cards is the smart way to go and grow.