From a business perspective, we worry about finding enough buyers. We don’t really think about payment methods until a client asks for one we don’t have. ‘Do you accept Bitcoin? Can I write a check? Do you have change for a hundred?’ These are all reasonable and innocent questions. But if they’re coming from a customer, they all have the power to stop you in your tracks, especially if the customer has a cart full of items, and if you know your answer is, ‘No.’
Luckily, you can still fix the problem before it’s too late and you lose another sale. The most common payment options are cash, check, bank-to-bank, and credit card. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each, and why credit cards are your best bet:
- Cash puts you at risk of break-ins. You have to do regular bank runs, and always have change on hand. It’s also trickier for patrons to make large purchases.
- Checks can take up to a week to clear–if they ever do. If you are selling online or by mail order or telephone order, then you can add up to another week or longer while you wait for the customer to mail the check, and for the post office to bring it to you. In person, writing them out takes time and holds up the line while other customers are waiting.
- Bank-to-bank payments are cumbersome, time-consuming, and potentially expensive with very large transaction costs. And you typically don’t find out if the payment has cleared or not for hours, which might be after the sale has taken place and it’s too late.
Why credit cards are better
With cards, you’re assured of instant payment, because you get instant verification of whether the sale went through or not, and the cash will hit your account with 24 to 72 hours.
A payment processor keeps accurate records of all your transactions. Some payment processors will even help you integrate your different kinds of payments onto the same platform. This makes your business accounting tasks much easier, because you already have an automated record.
Customer comfort is key
Shoppers feel safer shopping with credit cards. Credit cards also give them a larger spending limit than cash – both practically and psychologically. Studies show that they are statistically more likely to make a purchase and also that, on average, they spend more when they do, which is good for business. Online, it’s even better, because speed and credit access invite impulse buys.
This enables your business to cash in from promotional offers, flash sales, and last-minute purchases. Of course, a big reason to accept credit cards is culture. Americans have adapted to the swiping lifestyle. They don’t want to bother counting coins and finding change. So the if majority of customers would rather pay by card, it makes business sense to let them. Why make it harder for your customers to give you money?
For more information on seamless, convenient, payment methods for your customers, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.