In today's trading environment, being able to accept cards for payment can be a great asset to your business, no matter how small your enterprise may be.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, digitisation has become a crucial factor for ensuring that businesses survive and thrive in the future, and this is not just limited to the big players. With lockdown having driven customer engagement online, and the prospect of face-to-face trading being limited for the foreseeable future, it makes sense for anyone looking to protect their business.
Not only is enabling payment by card more hygienic than cash (a vital consideration at present), but it can expand your organisation's horizons, and help it to flourish.
Accepting card payments can drive business
If you're on the front line of customer service, you will doubtless have been asked by prospective customers if you take card payments. If you don't, this could mean that you are losing sales. Card and other cashless payments have overtaken cash transactions in the last five years, and it's becoming increasingly expected that even sole traders at small village fairs will now have card processing capabilities.
By only accepting cash, you limit your sales potential both in terms of opportunity (e.g. when you are physically present to take the money), and in transaction value, as your customer's purchasing power is necessarily limited by the amount of cash they are carrying, leaving little leeway for add-on or spontaneous purchases.
In fact, UK Finance discovered that as many as 85% of purchases were impulse buys, meaning that if you don't accept cards, you could be significantly limiting your opportunities for profit. Showing that you accept card payments can help to improve customer perceptions of your business, too, with prospective shoppers feeling reassured that yours is an authentic, trustworthy enterprise.
Showing that you are associated with well-known financial brands such as Visa or Mastercard builds confidence for consumers, which is a valuable business driver in itself. There have never been so many easy and affordable options available for accepting card or other cashless payments, with solutions available to suit any business scenario.
The number of takeaways and other businesses that have started offering delivery services has greatly multiplied since lockdown, and telephone orders often take place where a fully transaction-ready website is not in place. Such telephone transactions are classed as card or cardholder not present (CNP), and all you need to get started is a virtual terminal.
Whilst there are ample virtual terminal providers available to enable your business to process these sales, it's worth exploring the benefits of a service offering a Secure Virtual Terminal. That's because taking payments where the merchant, rather than the customer, is keying in the card details can leave you exposed if fraud were to take place.
Fraudulent transactions can cost your organisation in chargeback fees, but you can reduce this risk by taking out a Secure Virtual Terminal service that uses technology to authenticate and anonymise the process. Automated telephone services that use the latest in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology mean that the card details are not held in your company records, allowing you to avoid onerous compliance requirements. It's fast, simple, and safer for you and your customers.
The benefits of accepting card payments: why it makes sense
Many small businesses are discouraged from accepting card payments because they believe it will mean complications in record keeping, or incur prohibitive running costs. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
Opening up your business to card payments brings many advantages, from saving time chasing payments or reducing any cash flow issues as you wait for invoices to be paid. Instead, by taking immediate card payments, you can be reassured that the funds will reach your account in just 3-5 days. The administration involved is minimal, with modern card machines able to print off each day's records, ready for your files.
There is no need for bulky hardware or expensive infrastructure, either: modern methods of processing card payments simply require broadband internet access or a telephone line. Card payments also reduce your need to manage security for sums of cash on your premises, and the payment process itself comes with the reassurance of stringent security measures. More advanced payment safeguards (such as fraud prevention protocols) can be taken in hand for you, too, with many different packages available.
Taking card payments may indeed come with some ongoing service charges, but this should be mitigated by the increased revenue gained by opening up this new payment channel. You may save on overdraft or loan fees as you will no longer be reliant on chasing up invoices, thereby freeing up your cash flow. Furthermore, your time has its value too, and taking card payments will free up valuable hours previously spent on banking runs.
A smart decision
It's clear, then, that the benefits of accepting card payments can be significant for your business. With different options available, there is sure to be a payment processing solution that can suit your needs without breaking your budget. The advantages in terms of increased sales potential, security, and time saving all mean that card payments can play a significant role in ensuring longevity and success for your business.
Would your company benefit from being able to take credit card payments over the telephone - without the need for the customer to read out their confidential details?
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