Whether your business is large or small, you need to offer consumers what they want in a highly competitive, ever-changing market. The effect of information technology on business has been vast over the past several decades and there is no end in sight. Consumers expect even the smallest business to keep up with technology and those that don't keep up will be left behind. Ours has become a non-cash-paying society. In fact, most from Generation X and Y rarely carry cash and expect to be able to use debit or credit cards for virtually everything — even the smallest of purchases, such as a cup of coffee from their local coffee shop. The added incentives offered by credit card companies in rewards programs for card use are also making the use of credit cards for as many transactions as possible another reason why consumers demand that businesses accept credit cards.
Consumer Payment Options
According to a report published by market research firm Javelin Strategy & Research, just 27 percent of purchases were made with cash in 2011, and that number is estimated to fall to 23 percent by 2017. Businesses that do not accept debit or credit cards are losing out on sales every day. Some have opted to install an ATM machine in their place of business, but consumers typically are turned off by this because of the possible fees charged for a withdrawal. It is also likely that the customer prefers to use a credit card for their purchase rather than taking a costly cash advance or using their debit card to withdraw cash.
Online Payment Services
In the past, businesses wishing to accept credit cards had to purchase an expensive card reader, open a merchant account, and pay high subscription fees. Now with the development of tools that utilize smartphones, accepting credit cards online has become much easier and less costly. Many services offer more attractive terms for small businesses such as low startup costs, pay-as-you-go fees, no-termination fees, and quick payments directly into your business account.
Businesses that accept debit and credit cards can expect to improve cash flow, and increase sales as consumers using credit or debit tend to impulse buy, spend more, and join loyalty programs. Businesses that have the capability to process payments on their smartphone can make sales from virtually anywhere. A business owner or sales staff can be on the road seeing customers or clients, checking email, taking and processing orders, and processing debit and credit card payments without ever being in the office.
Offering the right payment options — the ones your customers want — is crucial. The cost to the business is minimal in comparison to the loss of sales when consumers choose to shop elsewhere. Technology has improved in the area of mobile payment processing and as the cost to get into the game continues to come down, any size and type of business should consider it essential to their growth and success to take advantage of these services.