At some point as you're running your business, you'll have to make the decision whether or not to accept credit cards as a form of payment, and the benefits may not seem immediately clear. Some business owners have concerns, whether they're related to costs or security, but below are some reasons that credit cards can make things a lot easier on your business and your customers at the same time.

1. More sales

Accepting credit cards means more sales. It's that simple. These days, a lot of people don’t carry around cash or checkbooks. They just expect that businesses will accept their card. If you do not accept it, you're missing out on a significant amount of sales opportunities. If your business has an online component, accepting credit cards is an absolute must, as this is the way the majority of shoppers expect to be able to complete the checkout process.

Online or off, research shows that customers who use credit cards tend to buy more.1 When shoppers know they'll be making monthly payments rather than having to pay for everything up front, they tend to do more impulse buying, which means your sales may be substantially larger than if you didn't accept credit cards.

2. Cash Flow

In addition to increasing sales, accepting credit cards can help with your cash flow. These payments will quickly be reflected in your bank account balance, compared to checks or money orders, which may take some time to clear.

3. Credibility

Accepting credit cards lends an air of credibility that may otherwise be lacking. Not accepting credit card payments can make you come off as less professional in the eyes of consumers who may not necessarily understand the behind-the-scenes operations of running a business. If your competitors are accepting credit cards and you are not, your brand may appear in a lesser light in the customer's eyes.

4. Less hassle for customers

With people relying on cash less than they used to, they have certain expectations when they go shopping. These include being able to pay the way they want to. With some businesses accepting much more technologically advanced forms of payment – everything from Apple Pay to PayPal to Bitcoin – consumers may be upset to find that you won't accept a major credit card, which can be used at nearly every other business they patronize. If you don't accept credit cards, you're creating an inconvenience for many customers, some of whom may walk out the door as a result.

5. Processing won't cost much

Some business owners avoid credit card acceptance because they are concerned about related fees, but processing may not cost as much as you think. As the National Federation of Independent Businesses notes, "Credit card processing is a competitive industry, so even the smallest mom-and-pop outfit can find the right deal for accepting credit cards. The increase in sales that a business realizes when they start accepting credit cards will typically more than make up for their processing fees, so they come out ahead."2

6. Integration with accounting software

Another reason to accept credit cards is that it can actually make accounting a great deal easier. Depending on the service provider you use, you may be able to integrate credit card processing into your preferred accounting software solution, as all of the leading applications allow for this. As a result, payments can be automatically applied to invoices, eliminating possible duplicate transaction entries.

7. Recurring charges may be possible

Some business models may benefit from being able to set up recurring charges from customers, and accepting credit cards enables you to do so easily. This will require storing data, which you'll need to do securely, but if this is a concern, simply ask your service provider about their policies.

There are more reasons to accept credit cards than not to, and the benefits outweigh the negatives by far. Accepting credit cards can mean increased sales, improved cash flow, and customer convenience. 

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