The main appeal of credit and debit cards is their convenience. Rather than having to carry a wad of cash that might not cover your purchases, a card allows you to carry a single piece of plastic — or several, depending on your shopping habits. Indeed, the number of people in the United States who primarily use cash for their everyday purchases has dropped to less than 25 percent of the population, and that number continues to decline. Using a card to make purchases is simply more convenient for the consumer. Unfortunately, however, that comes at the merchant’s expense.
Retailers and other merchants need to know how to navigate the often-confusing ecosystem of accepting credit and debit cards. Otherwise, they stand to miss out on the business of customers who exclusively carry cards or have little cash on hand. At the same time, those merchants need to be aware of their security and legal requirements that are part and parcel of accepting card payments. As if all of that weren’t complicated enough, the advents of online and mobile payment options have their own distinct requirements and infrastructures. Whether you’re a small business or a large one, accepting credit and debit card payments is nowhere near as simple as it is for a customer to make them.
Yet, accepting credit and debit card payments is a necessity for business of any type today. Businesses that don’t accept these types of payments run the risk of alienating customers who will feel inconvenienced. Any type of inconvenience has the potential to push consumers into finding other options, so there’s no excuse for businesses to avoid accepting credit and debit card payments. Even though the process of setting up the infrastructure necessary to accept these payments can be troublesome and complicated, some preparation can make all the difference.
Making processes easier for your customers often means making things a little more difficult for yourself, but isn’t that what customer service is all about? By following the checklist below, businesses can prepare themselves to accept credit and debit card payments if they do not already. The advice contained in this guide can help businesses avoid many of the most common frustrations that come with establishing the framework needed to become part of the credit and debit card ecosystem.
Checklist from credit card processing company BluePay
Author bio: Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm. She has more than 20 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management, and marketing. Follow her on Twitter at @BluePay_CMO.