Accept plastic for consumer satisfaction
June 20, 2013

Many small- and medium-sized businesses accept credit card payments at the point of sale to receive fast reimbursement and offer customers various purchasing options. While some SMBs continue to adopt electronic check processing for consumer satisfaction, a recent study found others are losing sales because their customers can only pay with cash. 

Consumers reach for plastic 
Conducted by research firms Harris Interactive and Ipsos, two surveys polled 2,000 consumers ages 18 and older about their credit card use and 1,000 business owners about what types of payments they prefer. According to the findings, 72 percent of small businesses favor cash payments over plastic while the majority of consumers said they only shop at businesses that accept credit cards. With customer use of cash down, SMBs that have not adopted card processing are losing out on sales.

Entrepreneur reported the study demonstrated the important value consumers place on debit and credit card acceptance. Sixty-nine percent of customers 35 years old and younger said they do not frequent retailers that are cash only. Nearly 60 percent of consumers 35 to 44 and about half of those 45 and older said the same.

With consumers using plastic more frequently than cash, SMBs cannot afford to put off adopting payment processing software any longer. In the survey, the main reason small business cited for not implementing payment processing software was the assumption that doing so was expensive. However, this false belief costs SMBs in revenue and customer losses. 

In an interview with credit card issuer Discover, Dave Jones, president of the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies, said consumers use plastic not only because it is their preference, but also because it allows them to them purchase vital products during tough financial times. In addition, cards allow them to carry around less cash, which is a source of security. 

"Sometimes [...] They don't have the cash to handle emergency situations - whether it is a washing machine repair or the family car breaking down," Jones said. "And most people don't want to carry large amounts of cash around."

As more consumers deem plastic as their choice payment method, SMBs that do not accept debit and credit cards may miss out on sales opportunities and turn potential customers away.

Nexus: G-WEBCD1