Would accepting credit cards increase or decrease your bottom line?

Answer

When looking into accepting credit cards, remember that credit card transactions and credit card processing are a business in itself. The main goal of merchant account providers and credit card companies is to make money. This is a business that you are paying for. Therefore, it is important to evaluate whether the costs you pay for accepting credit cards are worth it in relation to the benefits it provides your business.

The money your business pays for accepting credit cards is called ?interchange.? Interchange is ?the clearing and settlement system in which raw data is exchanged between the acquirer and the issuing bank.? Although you may be quoted one rate for this service, everything depends on how your account is set up before the rates you pay are actually determined. To receive the best rates possible, it is important to understand how the costs will affect your revenue.

Evaluating the costs is the trickier part of the equation. The benefits that your business would derive from accepting credit are easier to identify. The one thing all customers seem to desire is more options. Accepting credit cards provides your customers another option for making payments, and they will be more willing to buy something because they don?t have to worry about having the actual money for it right now. Also, accepting credit gives you unlimited ability to reach new customers. Some customers prefer not to patronize a business in which they can?t use credit, so accepting credit will open you up to a whole new customer base.

Most importantly, accepting credit will add tremendous profits to your bottom line. Profits generated from credit cards will keep your employees paid, allow you to pay for better healthcare for your employees, and offer better discounts and services to your customers.

Therefore, you must evaluate the total cost of accepting credit cards (including all payments and fees) and weigh that against your customer base. After evaluating your customers, including what they buy, how much they spend, and what forms of payment they use; it will be easier for you to realize whether accepting credit cards would truly benefit your business.

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