Do you know what makes customers stay away from a business?
You might think it’s negative reviews, high prices, or poor customer service, and while those factors certainly play a part, there’s another issue that many businesses overlook.
It turns out that if you do this one thing, you could be losing out on 71% of customers that would otherwise do business with you.
So, what is that one thing? Charging credit card fees!
Recently, we commissioned an independent study of both customers and small business owners to learn more about how payment options can boost sales and increase conversion rates. We sought to better understand how to remove friction from payments from both sides of the transaction. We uncovered some data that we did not expect, so we thought it would be helpful to share this information with you.
One of the most surprising statistics was that 71% of small business customers say that they try to avoid companies that charge a fee to use a credit card. If you’re charging your customers a fee for this convenience, you could be hurting your business tremendously.
The Argument for Not Charging Credit Card Fees
We understand that as a small business owner, you watch every dollar that comes in and goes out of your business like a hawk. We also know that credit card processing fees can seem like a lot. In our survey, we found that small business owners would invest more money in the following areas if they didn’t have to pay these fees:
- More marketing
- New products
- Upgrade technology
- Increase employee wages
- Improve the digital experience
The 1.5% to 2.9% that you’re paying in credit card fees can add up.¹
But there’s another way to look at it.
Let’s say your average transaction value is $100. Assume for a moment that your credit card processing fees are 3%, which means that for every $100 transaction, you’re only collecting $97. And, of course, you’ve got other fixed and variable expenses, so when you reconcile your books each month, you start to resent this 3% that vanishes into thin air before you even see it.
However, now that you know 71% of the population tries to avoid companies that charge them to use a card, you can begin to consider how many customers might never set foot in your premises if you try to pass on this 3% to your customers in the form of a “convenience fee.” Even if a customer agrees to pay this amount one time, you can pretty much guarantee that they won’t be back to your business anytime soon. It’s also likely that they’ll tell their friends and family members about the fee, discouraging new customers from walking in the door.
The moral of the story is this: would you rather have 97% of something or 100% of nothing? Rational business owners will choose the 97% every day of the week.
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Why You Should View Credit Cards as a Marketing Tool
Most small business owners don’t realize that payment options can be their #1 marketing tool. By making it easier for customers to pay you, you’re bound to get paid more often!
And, while there’s no getting around having to pay credit card processing fees as a business, you might not be so bothered by them if you begin to look at credit cards in a new light.
Instead of viewing them as an expense or a “cost of doing business,” why not look at them as a marketing and operations tool that will help your business grow. Once you start looking at credit cards this way, you might begin to understand and appreciate how powerful they can be as a growth driver for your business.
Consider the following benefits of accepting credit cards:
There’s no denying that credit cards are convenient to use. Your customers don’t have to worry about carrying the right amount of cash to pay for your services. They can pay for anything their hearts desire instantaneously, just by pulling a piece of plastic out of their wallet. To sweeten the deal, they don’t even have to pay for what they bought until their statement is due.
As a business owner, you can also benefit from taking credit cards. Instead of having to mail invoices and wait for the proverbial check in the mail, your staff can collect payments instantly. In most cases, you’ll have the full amount of the transaction (minus the processing fees) in your merchant account within 24 to 72 hours.
Further, you can also collect payments over the phone or online, even if your client is not at your location. This allows customers to call you to settle their balance or click on a secure link in a text message to submit payment instantly.
Flexibility for Customers
Most customers will appreciate being able to pay for something later. When a payment is made with a credit card, the business owner gets paid within a day or two, but the customer can delay their payment until their credit card bill is due. They also have the option to pay only a portion of the balance instead of the whole thing.
This flexibility is ideal for attracting customers, especially if your product or service is relatively expensive. You can increase your average transaction value and conversion rates by giving customers the flexibility to pay on their own terms. Even if a customer defaults on their credit card bill, you’ve already received payment, so this won’t affect your cash flow.
By encouraging your customers to use a credit card (instead of penalizing them for the convenience), you can grow your revenue because your services have now become more “affordable.”
Cash Isn’t Always King
The phrase “cash is king” is falling out of favor as customers flock to more convenient payment methods like credit cards, mobile payments, and even cryptocurrency. Though a significant portion of the population still uses and carries cash, the amount of money that people have in their wallets at any given time continues to drop. Further, only 36% of people bring cash with them wherever they go.
Having cash on hand also makes your business more susceptible to theft. By limiting the amount of cash you have on your premises, you make it less tempting to be the victim of a robbery.
In addition to the increased risk of theft, cash can be problematic to deal with. It has to be carefully tracked for tax purposes, and, of course, it has to be physically deposited in the bank. By the time you add up all those hours, you’re likely to find that the fees you pay for credit card processing are well worth it.
Don’t Rely on Checks for Large Transactions
Our survey found that, on average, small business customers carry $80 in cash. That amount of money isn’t enough to cover most services in the health and wellness field. For this reason, many businesses are comfortable accepting checks, but if you’re not careful, checks can cost you a lot more than credit cards.
Checks can be an expensive way to collect payment. Here’s why:
1. They bounce. Even your most well-meaning customers can write a bad check on occasion. As a business owner, you could end up paying fees if a check you deposit bounces. Granted, you can pass on this cost to your customers and charge an additional penalty for your troubles, but what are the chances you’ll recover anything at all?
At least with a credit card, you get the full balance upfront, and if your customer defaults, the credit card company has to deal with the fallout.
2. You don’t get your money right away. After you receive a check, you have to deposit it. Then, it has to clear before the funds are available in your bank. This process can take days. However, if you had accepted a credit card instead of a check, you would have your money within a day or two.
3. Snail mail is slow. If you accept checks and promote that payment method as your top choice, then you should prepare for less reliable cash flow. Instead of collecting payment on the spot or over the phone, you’ll now have to wait for your client to bring you a check in-person or mail it to you via snail mail.
Though local mail is relatively quick, there’s still the process of receiving and opening your mail, sorting checks from other items, making the deposit, and then waiting for the check to clear.
The process can be delayed even further if you’re mailing invoices and you have to wait for the client to get around to writing a check and dropping it in the mail.
Accepting credit cards is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making it easier for your customers to pay. Ready to see how payment options can increase your revenue by 29%? Schedule a live demo of Weave today.