You may have been to a restaurant or a local business before that doesn't accept card transactions. Cash only, no questions, ATM is in the back. Why would an owner potentially drive away customers by taking away the convenience of plastic?
There are more than a few reasons behind the logic. Mostly, according to Vanessa Romo of National Public Radio, the driving factor is the sheer volume of fees associated with purchasing card readers and paying processing fees to card vendors.
If you're interested in catering to more customers or just don't want to ditch the consumer convenience of accepting card transactions, there are some financial tips for controlling the cost.
The great debate
Don't just settle for the first card processing service you encounter. Yvonne Chu, owner of Kimera in Brooklyn, New York, told Forbes that when she first went into business she took the first offer she found because it seemed convenient at the time. She didn't realize that other vendors would offer different interest rates or cost-per-swipe charges. Shopping around can save you real money if you take the time to negotiate with companies and look around for what other businesses have to offer.
Go with debit
There is a way to get around the variable rates and deal with a more stable form of transaction. Thanks to regulations imposed by the Federal Reserve, fees on debit transactions are now capped at 21 cents per transaction. Its most recent report subsequently shows that merchants are incurring lower fees in this category of transaction since the Reserve began monitoring the levels in 2009.
Some retailers feel more comfortable, anyway, because a debit transaction draws directly on the customer's available balance at the bank. This means no bounced payments if a credit is declined later due to overcharges on the consumer's account.
There is always the option of staying away from card transactions altogether. This will save on regular fees, won't scalp the top from every sale and can make bookkeeping somewhat easier for small businesses handling everything internally, according to CreditCards.
Owners need to be aware, however, that refusing to take a debit or credit payment may deter customers. If they can get a similar product somewhere else with the convenience of a card swipe or without having to pay ATM fees, it could hurt business more than paying the 2 percent or less most vendors charge.