The cost of not taking credit card payments - Kara Lambert

The cost of not taking credit card payments

Let me tell you a little story. My daughter does dance, yes that makes me a dance Mum. I spend around a thousand dollars every three months just on class fees. Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually not complaining about the cost (I know for some that’s cheap); what I object to is how I have to pay them. Ok, not the fact that my hip pocket cries a little tear – the fact that the dance studio doesn’t take credit card payments. Crazy I know! It’s actually not that strange for businesses to be cash only or take anything but credit card payments. The dance school says that it is because they don’t want to pay the fees. But then there are the emails about non-payment or late payment of fees. Sound familiar?

I used to be one of these businesses that only took PayPal payments for products. I was forever chasing payments from clients who had used other services. It took days sometimes to recover small amounts of money. Sure I could have handed them over to a collection agency, but they really were small. I also wasn’t going to let these payments slide as these were repeat clients who did eventually pay. Let’s face it, it’s acceptable business practice to pay as late as you can. The money’s better off in your pocket than in someone else’s.  Then there came a day when I had been chasing this payment for weeks and I had had enough. I added up the cost to my business of chasing this account, I was 10x-ing my invoices! Not good. Something had to give and it wasn’t me receiving the money.

I had recently migrated to a new accounting package and noticed that I could integrate credit card payments with the invoices. So I did. Yes, I pay fees for accepting the payments but it has cut the time to receive payment and the number and length of time it takes to chase payments. So why do businesses still refuse to take credit card payments?

The main reason businesses make it difficult for me to pay them.

This is the main reason why business owners refuse to take credit card payments. Yes it costs to take credit card payments. Yes the greater the price of the goods or service the greater the fee you pay, but this doesn’t have to be the case. Here’s the thing. IT’S A BUSINESS EXPENSE. I think businesses (especially small businesses) get so caught up in maximising profit they forget that it’s ok and necessary to spend money to make money. The costs associated with accepting credit card payments are a pure business cost, the same as internet access, wages, printing costs, or electricity. While I understand that it’s important to maximise profits, ignoring the cost of collecting overdue accounts is a false economy. Imagine how much money you could be making during the time you are chasing invoices!

Time

The next largest complaint is the time it takes to receive the funds for the transaction. HUH?! So you want to tell me that chasing that unpaid invoice was either a better use of that time or faster? Let’s not mention how long it takes for a cheque or electronic transfer to clear. I understand that some card types can take over a month to be cleared into your bank account, but you don’t have to accept all credit card types. Ask your clients which cards they would like you to accept.

What businesses miss because they refuse to take payments.

When a business tells me that they don’t take credit card payments they are telling me that they don’t appreciate how I like to pay. For me, I will pay for the credit card fees for the convenience of you taking my credit card. It’s a selfish business practice. It actually shows that you care more for your needs than the needs of your customers. Is that really the impression you would like to give your customers? While it may not be explicitly said, consider the impact. Here’s another consideration, what if it’s a decision between you and another supplier and the only difference is that they take credit card payments and you don’t? How much money are you missing out on because you don’t take credit card payments?

Still not convinced? A quick Google search came up with the following:
- 90% of Australians aged over 18 have a credit card
- 55% of US small business don’t accept credit cards *
- 69% of Millennials will not buy from a ‘cash only’ business *
- credit card payments have been linked to higher impulse buying behaviour *
- 66% of US consumers prefer to use credit cards for purchases *

So, with over half of clients wanting to use credit cards and customers actually turning away from businesses who won’t accept card payments, can you explain again why your business can’t afford the cost of credit card transactions?
Notes: * Intuit, (2015). Cost Benefit Analysis of  Accepting Credit Cards for Your Small Business. http://quickbooks.intuit.com/r/getting-paid/cost-benefit-analysis-of-accepting-credit-cards-for-your-small-business/

Let's connect further

Leave a Reply 2 comments