Cash Isn’t Always King: Accepting Credit Cards Can Increase Your Business

increase business

If you don’t already accept credit cards at your business, you are missing out. There are many advantages to accepting payments via credit card, but the most notable of them have a positive effect on your bottom line. Here’s how:

1) Increase Sales Overall

The simple act of accepting credit card payments can give a significant boost to your business.

Research shows that sales can double or even triple versus current sales. One survey, sponsored by Intuit, found that 83% of small businesses that accepted credit cards saw increased sales. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed made at least $1,000 more a month and 18% made at least $20,000 more a month.

2) People Spend More with Cards

This is probably not a new concept to you: there is seemingly endless research that shows it’s easier to spend money with a credit card than with cash. The pain of paying is greatly diminished when handing over plastic instead of cash or a check, so customers spend more. Credit cards also increase impulse purchases (and tips for those in the service sector, such as cab drivers, waiters and other). Why? Simple: consumers are not tied to what is in their wallets at that moment.

3) It’s Just Good Customer Service

Cash payments are decreasing. Almost one of every three purchases is made with a credit card, according to Visa. Providing the option to pay with a credit card is becoming less a courtesy and more an expectation. Customers are more likely to do business with you if you accept the form of payment that offers them the most convenience and flexibility. Especially when dealing with big-ticket items, consumers appreciate the ability to pay up front with a credit card and pay off their purchase over time.

4) Broaden Your Customer Base

Credit cards are like a global currency. Because purchases are automatically converted to the appropriate currency, selling internationally with credit cards is easy for both the buyer and you, the seller. If your business has an online presence, the world is your market, not just your city or town.

5) Give Your Business an Instant Facelift

Accepting credit cards gives your business a better image with greater credibility. In the eyes of the customer, it means your business is established and trustworthy.

6) Increase Cash Flow

Credit card payments take the waiting out of getting paid. No more waiting weeks for checks to clear, and no more waiting weeks or even months for a payment after sending a bill. Instead, your funds are deposited automatically and directly to your bank, usually within a few days, giving you faster payment cycles and better cash flow for your business.

7) Time is Money Too

Credit card payments are more efficient and less time consuming. The payment process is automated: automatic approvals and automatic deposits into your bank account. That means fewer trips to the bank, no invoices to print and mail and no more dealing with bounced checks. With the time you save, you can focus on other important aspects of your business—like making even more sales.

Sometimes, getting the process started to get your business ready to accept credit and debit cards can be complicated. To make it easier, Community Merchants USA has put together free tools and resources on everything you need to know about credit and debit card acceptance. Check them out and add more value to your business!

Credit Card Photo via Shutterstock

15 Comments ▼

Anita Campbell - CEO


Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses, and also serves as CEO of TweakYourBiz.com.

15 Reactions

  1. The biggest concern I hear concerns the fee charged for processing the credit card. As long as you’re increasing the average profit/transaction by more than the fee (and unless you’re running very thin margins, this should be very likely) you should accept credit cards.

    • Martin Lindeskog

      I have seen several small establishments that are not taking credit cards due to the fees or that they say for example: no credit card payment under SEK 50.

      I think that the credit card companies have take a look on their fee structure in the future.

  2. Martin Lindeskog

    Point #6 is very important I think. The cash flow is the life blood of the business. I was amazed that the manual handling of check is so common still on the North American market. It is almost gone totally in Scandinavia.

  3. Martin Lindeskog

    As a philosophical side-note on payments and the title of this post.

    Cash is king if it is real money like silver and gold coins! :) I recommend you to read Michael Maloney’s book on this topic in order to get an understanding on currencies, real money, the financial opportunities, etc.

  4. Martin Lindeskog

    Cont.: I hope to see more payment alternatives in the future there you back the digital payment with real money like GoldMoney. I wonder if the increased popularity of BitCoin could change the behavior of financial transactions online. The problem with BitCoin is that is created out of “bits & bites” (0, 1) by a computer formula…

  5. I think that these are all great points why all small businesses should accept credit cards. The increase in sales and customer service should help offset the fees required and help retain customers. Thanks for the great article!

  6. Tom Gazaway

    Good stuff Anita! I agree with all your points from the merchant side of the transaction. As the client/customer you simply are not giving me the very best option for ME to pay you if you are not allowing me to pay with credit cards.

    We prefer to pay as much as possible with credit cards. We get the payment protection plus the rewards. You can take it a step further by paying as many bills as possible right after your statement period ends. By doing that you won’t be billed for another 25-30 days and then you’ll have at least 21 more days before your payment is due. Imagine getting your purchase made but the cash doesn’t flow out of your bank account for another 50-60 days and you pay NO interest! We say Cash-Flow is KING but then we forget to take advantage of great tools like this. Thanks for the great read Anita!

    • Anita Campbell

      Hi Tom. I so agree with you — it’s really about what the customer wants. It can be tempting to make a quick decision because of focusing on what seems to save you a little money, but you can cut your legs from under you.

      I learned that when helping my husband in his art gallery. There’s a lot competition for discretionary spending, and you don’t want to give buyers ANY reason to go to your competition. The small things like being credit-card friendly make all the difference, especially for big ticket items like in our gallery. People just don’t carry that kind of cash around, nor checks.

      And I’d rather have a credit card sale, than have someone ponder because we’ve made their decision to buy a bit cumbersome on them.

      - Anita

  7. These are good points Anita. Firstly, people definitely spend more with credit cards as they don’t have to give the cash instantly. Most of the impulsive buying happens with credit cards. Most of us don’t like to carry cash on us these days and a credit card gives the freedom to buy what we may want to and make the payment over time. I agree what a few have said about credit card companies charging processing fees. Increased cash flow is a very good point as businesses get instant money that can be very handy for other operations. Thanks for sharing this great article.

  8. Accepting payments through credit cards can enhance the sales and there is always an increase in the cash flow. People feel to spend more when there is an opportunity of making payments via credit cards. If you look around you would find that most of your competitors are accepting credit card payments from their customers because it allows them to pay faster without any fuss.

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