Whatever the size and nature of your business, there’s no getting away from the fact that your customers may expect to pay by credit card.
Credit and debit cards have gone beyond being a status symbol or gimmick. There are more than 364 million open credit card accounts in the US, according to data released by the American Banking Association. This survey also showed that 7 in 10 Americans own at least one credit card. And the survey also found that a solid majority of Americans predict that the country will become a cashless society in their lifetimes. As a small business owner, if you haven’t yet set up your business to accept credit card payments, these statistics might make you think twice. Even so, there are a number of common misconceptions that may be holding you back from accepting card payments.
Common Credit Card Payment Acceptance Myths
- Card processing fees dent profits: Consumers are turning away increasingly from cash and check payments. Though card-payments do carry transaction fees, studies show that card-paying consumers spend 20% more on average, which should cover your fees many times over. Customers value ease, security, speed and convenience more and are willing to walk away from their stuffed shopping carts at checkout if you don’t offer payment options other than just cash or checks.
- Security is a problem: While cybercrime, identity theft and fraudulent transactions pose risks, accepting card payments goes with PCI compliance. Your payment processor can give you the right advice and assistance. And consider that cash poses even more serious safety risks. Violent criminals can hold you up and gunpoint for the cash you collected from your customers, but not for your credit card transactions. Holding on to cash and transporting it to the bank is the real security problem to worry about.
- Set-up costs are too high: This can be an issue, but if you choose the right merchant account provider, there can be no set up or application fees.
Credit Card Payment Acceptance: Setting Up Your Business
- Decide how and where you plan to accept payments: in-store, online, by phone, by mail, on-the-go, or some combination of these.
- Partner with a well-reputed, established credit card processing service provider that matches your needs, preferences, and budget.
- Ensure dedicated customer support from your service provider. 24x7x365 phone support is essential, because your customer is unlikely to sit around waiting for an email exchange, let alone wait until business hours to complete their transaction, rather than just seeking their desired goods or services elsewhere.
- Ensure adequate fraud detection/protection tools and data security.
- In-store payments require a card-reader terminal or smartphone software.
- Online payments need a secure payment gateway.
- Select the right POS (point of sale) system for transaction and inventory management, business analytics, and customer interaction
- Some businesses may benefit from an all-in-one system that has in-built features for CRM, customer-support.
- Make sure to use a processor that will provide the necessary software and hardware, or else be prepared to lay out additional costs.
It’s crucial to give your customers as many options as possible, based on the kind of business model you have. Today, credit card payments can be made via mobile or smartphone, NFC, e-commerce website, card-not-present transactions, and in-store physical payment. It’s important to select the right options for your business.
For more information on how to set up your business to accept credit card payments, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.