Did you know that there’s a big correlation between swimsuit season and credit card use? Yep, it’s official– when people are on a diet, they make more impulse purchases. Restrictive thinking of all kinds, whether it’s adhering to a diet, a budget, or a new years resolution, has been proven to lead to increased spending. Bikini anticipation aside, the above study made me wonder why more businesses don’t accept credit cards when they know that the convenience and ease of credit card transactions can drastically increase sales. It’s a pretty established fact that credit cards make impulse purchasing easier, especially given that over 173 million American adults, or almost ¾ of American families, have and use credit cards.
You don’t need to be a retailer or own a store to accept credit cards -many of the businesses that use our vendor matching service are small, professional services companies such as dentist offices, massage therapists, or freelance consultants that want an easy and reliable way to charge customers for services. In helping these businesses find what they’re looking for, we’ve come across quite a few creative ways to use credit card processing services:
Wireless Accounts: A credit card machine you can take with you to community events, farmers markets, trade shows, concerts- you name it. If you sell merchandise at your speaking arrangements, CDs when you perform, or take “pre-orders” for merchandise you’re promoting, a wireless terminal is a great way to make it easier for customers that don’t carry cash to patronize your business.
Online billing: Even if you don’t technically sell anything on your website (like products or downloads), you can still allow customers or clients to make payments online. The convenience factor is a big motivator to pay quickly- you can even e-mail invoices with a link to the online payment function.
Ecommerce: When most people think of credit card processing, this is what comes to mind. For a traditional ecommerce website or any business that sells products, services, or downloads online, an ecommerce merchant account is a must. Most merchant account providers offer online-only accounts, or online options for retail businesses that have a brick-and-mortar business as well.
Merchant advances: A merchant advance is a financing transaction that’s a little like a “payday” loan. In exchange for a cash advance, you sell a portion of future credit card revenue to a cash advance provider. Repayment automatic- the company accesses your merchant account and skims a set percentage of your daily sales off the top of each batch settlement. While these transactions can be expensive, they can be very convenient for businesses that won’t (or don’t want to) get a traditional loan, or those that need money quickly. There is usually a minimum credit card sales requirement for this type of advance, and you can’t receive it unless you are an operating business. (I’ll post more detail about merchant cash advance transactions next week.)
Accepting credit cards is one of the easiest ways to increase your customer base, especially if you have an online presence. “Impulse” payment isn’t necessarily a bad thing- offering your customers an easy, convenient option to pay for products or services is always appreciated.