These days, fewer and fewer people are carrying cash, and that’s why small-business owners need to get flexible when it comes to the types of payments they will accept. If your small business is still refusing debit and credit card payments, it’s time to reconsider. Yes, accepting credit, debit, and even mobile payments is more costly for your small business. But there are affordable e-payment solutions available that can keep you from losing sales from the growing rank of customers who no longer carry cash.

Before you choose an e-payment solution for your business, it’s important to consider your business’ needs and what you can afford. Does your business need a point-of-sale (POS) system, a mobile credit card processor, online payment software, or a credit card terminal? Maybe your business would benefit from accepting mobile payments, or maybe you can skip them for now. Each of these payment systems has its own benefits and drawbacks, and the one that’s best for your business will depend on your needs.

Accepting credit card payment

Choose the Best Way to Accept Card Payments

There’s more than one way to accept credit and debit card payments — in fact, there are four. Larger businesses will be equipped with full-fledged POS systems that include a cash register, printer, barcode scanner, touch screen, card reader, and NFC reader for mobile payments via Apple or Android Pay. But your small business may not need all of this. In fact, a full POS system is best for businesses that have multiple locations or multiple cash registers.

If your business has just one location and one cash register, a credit card terminal might be right for you. This is a piece of equipment that allows you to read credit cards or manually enter credit card numbers from online or phone orders. If all you need to do is accept card payments, and you’re doing business in a single location, a credit card terminal might be right for you. You’ll need a merchant account with a merchant services provider.

If you do business primarily online, then you only need to accept online payments via e-commerce shopping cart software. If you’re using a third-party marketplace like Etsy or Amazon, this won’t be an issue. But if you want to cut out the middleman and accept payments through your own website, you’ll need a stand-alone e-commerce site. For this, too, you’ll need to set up an account with a merchant services provider. E-Complish can help with payment solutions for brick-and-mortar and online storefronts.

Maybe you want to do business in a wide range of places, accepting payments quickly and easily on the go. If that’s you, your best option is a mobile credit card processor, which usually takes the form of a dongle you can plug into a phone or tablet in order to accept credit and debit card payments anywhere. You can usually obtain such a device without opening a merchant services account.

A restaurant accepting mobile payment

Understanding Mobile Payments

Mobile payment apps like Apple Pay and Android Pay now allow customers to pay for goods and services directly from their smart phones. When deciding whether to accept mobile payments at your small business, it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks. Accepting mobile payments might help you stay competitive in the marketplace, and it may protect your customers’ privacy. On the other hand, it also increases payment processing costs, not to mention the cost of upgrading your equipment. Considering that few consumers are using mobile pay apps, the cost may not yet be worth it.

Keep Payment Processing Affordable

The cost of processing credit card and mobile payments is a huge barrier for many small-business owners; fees will vary depending on the type of payment processing you choose and the merchant services provider you ultimately decide to work with. Shop around. Look for a vendor who is transparent about their pricing. Always read the fine print in contracts so that there won’t be any nasty surprises down the road. Avoid signing a lengthy contract. Unless you have very specific needs, it’s a good idea to look for a service provider that offers that widest range of payment processing options possible.

If you’re a small-business owner, you need to start accepting credit and debit payments if you haven’t already. Many customers these days only have a small amount of cash in their wallets, if they have any at all, and you can forget about checks. Card payment processing can definitely be affordable for your business, as long as you do your research and find a merchant services provider willing to work with you to meet your needs.