Accepting Cards in Several Ways Can Be a Boon to Small Businesses

Small business owners all across the country are always looking for new ways to increase their revenues, and one of the best ways to do so these days is to expand the ways in which they accept payments. This might include a number of new methods that owners simply had not considered in the past, but which are growing more relevant these days.

Obviously, many small businesses across the country already know the value that accepting credit and debit card payments can bring for their companies, as it may give them the ability to accept purchases from the growing number of people nationwide who simply do not carry cash, according to a report from the small business news site Firmology. However, doing so through traditional means can be extremely expensive for many independent companies, with sizable start-up costs and a number of high ongoing fees that can eat into profit margins even as the number of purchases they handle increases, in some cases considerably. That, in turn, is why some estimates show that as many as 80 percent of the nation's smallest businesses simply don't accept cards at all.

Now, however a new option has emerged as a means of helping more companies connect with cashless consumers, and is gaining a significant amount of steam, the report said. Several companies now offer mobile payment platforms that allow companies to turn just about any mobile device into a card reader, eliminating the need to buy costly point of sale equipment that can put businesses behind the 8-ball in terms of cost before they even accept their first credit or debit card payment. Along those same lines, it should be noted that the card-reading devices, which typically plug into a smartphone or tablet's headphone jack, may be available either for free or at an extremely low cost.

In addition, these programs often allow small business owners to face far fewer fees when it comes to actually processing these payments in the first place, the report said. While major payment processors might charge large amounts directly related to the price of a purchase, these smaller ones usually charge a lower rate plus a small flat fee, and while it might take a little bit of math for owners to figure out exactly which will work best for them.

Taking advantage of coming trends
While these types of payments are certainly not yet ubiquitous, they are becoming more prevalent, and that trend is only expected to continue within the next few years, and companies that get in on the ground floor might be able to put themselves somewhat ahead of the game in this regard, the report said. A recent Pew survey found that 65 percent of experts in the payment industry believe that smartphone payments will replace traditional methods within the next eight years or so, meaning that there is a large amount of opportunity for small businesses to stake their claims nice and early.

That will likely also include mobile wallet technology which will allow consumers to not even carry their cards when making purchases, but rather wave their smartphones or other devices over scanners to complete a transaction, the report said. Of course, ubiquity in this regard is likely a ways off, but again, it might be wise for owners to at least explore options in this regard to make sure all bases are covered if necessary.

Owners who are looking to expand their flexibility might also want to consider the ways in which they can reduce costs for small business insurance, including liability insurance policies which can become somewhat expensive. Finding more affordable coverage can, in turn, give companies the edge they need to grow.