In the movies, people typically only pay cash when they’re on the run and they don’t want to leave a trail. In real life, customers are increasingly moving towards credit cards. These days, even teens and tweens have their own cards, so they get into the swiping lifestyle early. Some parents use it a technique to teach their kids financial responsibility, because both the parents and the kids can track card expenses. Meaning if you don’t accept cards, all those kids will have no choice except to shop elsewhere.
Both young people and adults are influenced by their peers, so the more they see cards used, the more they’ll swipe themselves. And as the credit card carrying population continues to grow, opportunities – and sales – shrink for businesses that refuse to accept credit cards. And it’s not just about missed business connections. There are many other benefits to accepting credit cards. One of these benefits is that studies prove that people using credit cards spend more than they do when they spend cash.
Practical and psychological
On a simply practical level, customers’ credit cards typically have limits of thousands of dollars or more, while the average person walks around with less than $100. So if someone walks into your store with a credit card and sees something they like, they’re more likely to buy it if they have a way to pay for it than if they don’t. With cash, they’ll realise they don’t have enough, so they might leave to get more money. Once they’re outside the door, other distractions set in, and the the urge to buy may fade, so there’s a good chance they’ll never come back.
Aside from the financial aspect, paying for something with a card feels less stressful than paying cash, because you won’t feel the ‘absence’ of your money (at least until you review your statement at the end of the month). With cash, your purse or wallet instantly feels lighter, and that can change your mind about your purchase. Of course using credit cards does afford your customers certain advantages, like raising their credit score (only if they repay their card on time though). Duke University Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics Dan Ariely used scientific studies to document this effect, which he has named the “pain of paying.” For most people, when credit cards are used, the pain of paying is much lower than it is when they pay with cash.
Cash is pretty much universal, and you can use the same currency regardless of your state. With credit cards – especially if the credit card is tied to a loyalty program – customers want to go into the store that will earn them the most points. Be that business that customers keep flocking to, knowing their loyalty points are valid. It’s easier to establish loyalty schemes by tying them to credit cards. If customers can order online and have their merchandise delivered, even better. Again, this can be just about practicality. When they won’t have to worry about getting that stuff back home, they’ll buy more.
And online shopping isn’t just for regulars. It opens your market to shoppers all over the country and all over the world, which can greatly multiply your clientele.
For more information on why accepting credit cards can increase your business, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.