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Guide

Make It Easier for Customers to Pay You

Most businesses in the retail, mail and telephone order, and online industries have to accept credit and debit cards if they want to remain competitive.

Customers today expect the businesses where they shop to accept a wide range of payment types. This includes not only cash and checks, but credit and debit cards as well.
 
If your business does not allow customers to pay with plastic, you could be missing out on a tremendous volume of sales. This incorporates online sales, since credit and debit cards are two of the main ways shoppers pay for goods and services purchased online. The fact is, most businesses in the retail, mail and telephone order, and online industries have to accept credit and debit cards if they want to remain competitive. 
 

Non-Retail Businesses, Too

An increasing number of non-retail businesses also are accepting credit and debit cards, including B2B companies and self-employed individuals. Accepting plastic for payment helps these businesses streamline procurement of small-dollar goods and services while offering a value-added convenience to their customers.
 
“Credit and debit cards are the preferred payment method for many consumers today, and they are an increasingly common payment method for businesses paying other businesses,” says Cadence Bank Treasury Management Sales Officer Lori Johnson. “Accepting credit and debit cards is simply a matter of meeting customer demands.”
 
Allowing customers to pay with plastic can result in concrete benefits for your business. One of the biggest benefits is improved cash flow. “Businesses will get their money much faster than if customers mail them checks,” says Johnson. Funds are usually received in two to three business days or less, while it can take 30 days or longer to receive checks or EFTs from customers that pay on terms.
 
“In many cases, credit and debit card payments can integrate into a business’ existing accounting package,” Johnson adds. “This reduces the time employees must spend posting payments manually, thus saving staff time and making employees more productive.” Accepting credit and debit cards also can lower payment processing costs by eliminating payment requisitions, approvals, purchase orders and bank deposit processing tasks required by employees.

 

The Cost-Benefit Analysis

“I can see the benefits of accepting credit and debit cards,” you might be thinking. “But what about the cost? Is it worth paying the merchant processing fees?”
 
In most cases, the answer is yes. As noted earlier, not accepting credit and debit cards puts most retail, mail and telephone order, and online businesses at a serious disadvantage. These businesses could lose tens of thousands of dollars or more in sales if they don’t offer the payment options their customers demand.
 
“When you consider the competitive advantages, cash flow benefits and streamlined payment processing procedures, accepting credit and debit cards makes sense for many businesses,” says Johnson. “In most cases, the benefits far outweigh the costs.”
 

Choosing a Merchant Services Provider

Johnson urges businesses to use caution when selecting a card services provider. “The price with regard to interchange rates and fees is important, of course, but there are other factors to consider as well,” she says.
 
You should start by talking to your business bank about its bankcard services. Your bank already knows your business and it might be able to offer relationship pricing for merchant services. 
 
The provider’s timeframe for settlement is another important factor to consider, says Johnson. For example, does the provider offer next-day or two- or three-day settlement? 
 
“Also, find out if the provider is able to price American Express with MasterCard/Visa/Discover and provide a single statement for reconciliation,” she says. “Your business banker can help you determine if your company is eligible for this option.”
 
She added: “And will you have one primary contact for all four card brands?”
 
Your merchant service provider will be one of your most important business allies. Therefore, take the time to research providers carefully so you choose the right one for your business.
 
Please contact your Cadence Bank treasury management representative to learn more about Cadence Bank’s merchant services.
 
 
 
This article is provided as a free service to you and is for general informational purposes only. Cadence Bank makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the content in the article. The article is not intended to provide legal, accounting or tax advice and should not be relied upon for such purposes.


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