America’s SBDC Blog

A “Forbes 100 Best Websites for Entrepreneurs”

How to Provide the Electronic Payment Options Your Customers Want

March 19, 2012

In an economy where consumers prefer debit cards and credit cards over checks and cash, accepting only non-electronic payments just doesn’t cut it anymore.

To reach the greatest number of customers, you must accept electronic payments. We’ve consolidated the myriad options into the most popular choices among small business owners, whether you own a storefront, home business or fully online shop.

Before You Begin

All credit card companies charge a per-sale fee, usually between 2.5 percent and 5.5 percent. No matter what technology you use, you will pay for the privilege of accepting credit cards.

To compensate for the lost revenue, most businesses raise prices accordingly. A price adjustment that small is, in most customers’ minds, a drop in the bucket. You probably won’t hear a word about it.

Merchant Accounts

For many decades, the only way to accept plastic involved opening a merchant account through a bank or lending institution. And, for many small businesses, merchant accounts remain the best route. (more…)