A look at the cost of not accepting credit card payments in your small business
Our previous article looked at three specific cost advantages to accepting debit card and credit card payments in your small business. Equally important is the financial risks you might incur if you don’t accept credit card payments.
There are three seemingly strong arguments I hear small business owners use, reasons that, at first blush, seem compelling, but that ultimately end up costing their businesses more money than if they had accepted credit card payments. Let’s take a look at these.
Argument #1 The old-school way is working just fine, thanks.
This argument usually takes one form or another, such as:
- “I’ve been taking checks for classes for the last 20 years.”
- “My parents always pay by cash or check, and I see no reason to change or pay the extra fees with merchant processing.”
This is something I hear from time to time from prospective ClassJuggler clients. The truth is that the “old school” ways of bringing in money can be much more expensive.
A good question for that studio owner is, “Have you actually talked to your customers and asked them how much they enjoy writing you a check each month?”
The reality is that the overwhelming majority of parents would find it much more convenient to have their credit card billed automatically each month rather than write you a check. Seriously, who even carries a checkbook around with them anymore?
Argument #2 – “The fees and complexity are just too much.”
Here is something I’ve heard more than one prospective ClassJuggler customer say: “Merchant processing is expensive and complicated; I just don’t have time to figure this out.”
While merchant processing and its associated fees can be confusing and complicated, when it is fully integrated into your studio management software, it becomes trivial to use.
As to costs, I encourage you to take a moment and answer the following questions, and see how this adds up:
- How much time do you spend chasing down late payments?
- How much time do you spend collecting cash or check payments each month, either at the front desk or by mail?
- How much time do you spend organizing deposits and visiting your bank branch?
- How much in time and cost is wasted on NSF bounced checks?
- How much time do you spend monitoring your checking account to see when checks clear and are deposited so you can pay your bills?
The reality is that most business owners do not take into consideration their own efforts spent on these time-intensive tasks. They don’t understand the real costs of their current payment process. And they often discount or ignore the inconvenience to their own customers.
After answering the questions above, add up the time. Typically, it adds up to at least 4 hours, usually much more. If you could save 4 to 8 hours monthly on payment collection, how much would that time be worth to you? That time could be turned into more classes taught, or time to better market your business, or time to plan that big open house event to promote your business.
Time really is money and saving 4, 8 or more hours monthly more than pays for the costs of accepting credit and debit cards.
Argument #3 – “Many of my customer’s aren’t online”
Statistics from June 2017 show that 88% of North Americans and 80% of Europeans are now internet users. The International Telecommunication Union estimates that about 3.2 billion people, or almost half of the world’s population, would be online by the end of the year.
I.e., your customers are online.
Accepting credit and debit card payments, particularly online, is a competitive necessity these days. Ultimately all dance, gymnastics, tennis, swim, martial arts, and music schools are, and must be, 100% customer service oriented. You want all of your students to have the best experiences and education you can give them, right? Why not continue that experience in how you interact with their parents, or with the student who is also the paying customer?
Think about this: If you lived near two identical grocery stores that had similar pricing and similar items but one store only accepted checks and the other only accepted credit or debit cards, which one would you visit? Can you imagine running to the store for a last-minute item you needed for a party and having to stop, pull out a checkbook, fill it out, wait for them to enter and scan your check and check your ID before being able to check out?
Many businesses only look at the costs associated with a merchant account and consider it “money out the door.” They maintain their old policies of cash and check only payments. While they may save money on the costs of accepting credit and debit cards, they aren’t really saving money when you factor in the costs of not accepting cards as payment.
ClassJuggler offers schools and other class-based businesses the ability to accept credit cards easily and affordably. When you let customers pay for classes online with a credit card, you get paid fast, and without the hassle or expense of collecting payments at your business, manual mailed billing, or check processing!
Setting up customer accounts and processing payments is simple. We’ve integrated these features right into our acclaimed ClassJuggler interface. Our affordable merchant payment processing option integrates account management and credit card processing technologies within ClassJuggler, making payment and processing as easy as a few mouse clicks.