“Do you take credit cards?” is a popular question asked by customers to businesses of any size. To find the easiest way for small business to accept credit cards, read on!
Paying with credit cards offers customers a convenient payment method and has become a necessity for businesses to accommodate, small businesses included. Many people these days don’t carry large amounts of cash on them for safety and convenience issues, so businesses which don’t accept credit cards may lose out on business if they are unable to accept credit cards. Provided they have not exceeded their credit limit, customers can also buy on credit at any time, regardless of how much money they actually have.
There are a number of ways businesses can accept credit card payments, and the easiest way for small business to accept credit cards depends on the nature of the business.
If you operate a web-based business there are a number of different options when it comes to customers paying by credit card. Using PayPal is the best way for most small businesses to accept credit cards. A PayPal business account will cost you $30 (about R240) per month. You will also be charged for transaction fees of 1.9% to 2.9% on each transaction. PayPal also offers a virtual terminal for customers wary of ordering online. The terminal allows your business to accept credit cards by fax, phone, post or email. PayPal is not the only online merchant account option out there, but has proven to be a reliable solution for most small businesses which conduct their business online.
- Regular brick and mortar businesses
If you have a business where people pay in person, you need to a terminal with a merchant service account to be able to accept credit cards. The terminal is the machine that recognizes the credit card’s magnetic strip. To pay by credit card, customers or the retailer swipe the credit card along the terminal. The price of a merchant account depends on the amount of transactions and the amount of money swiped under these transactions. The more money that is charged to the terminal, the less it will cost you to use the machine. When looking for terminal providers it is best to shop around as prices vary from provider to provider.
Is a merchant account worth the money?
When it comes to online transaction, 85% of these transactions are processed with credit cards so not accepting credit card will probably cost you more than it costs to have a merchant account. Having a merchant account can also help with cash flow issues, as most merchant accounts dealing with credit cards will have the funds into your bank account in three to five days. This can be a relief for small business in particular, which may be operating with a tight flow of cash.
When choosing a merchant account, there are many companies offering a range of solutions so it is best to research each thoroughly and decide which suits your small business
- Mobile businesses
If your business requires being on the move (such as tradesmen, repairmen, contractors and movers), you can still take credit card rather than cash or cheques. New technology has developed that allows mobile businesses to accept credit cards, such as the “Accept by Phone” service. This service allows the professional to dial a particular number before entering a unique PIN number and entering the credit card number and the billing amount. The transaction will be processed in only a few seconds at a low cost to the business.
If you accept credit cards, you may well have earned yourself a new customer, so it is certainly worth investigating your options when it comes to accepting the use of credit cards. With new technologies and services available, it is even easier to accommodate credit purchases, no matter how small your business may be.