The first credit card that could be used at more than one location was a Diners Club card that was accepted at 27 different locations in New York City in 1950. It was only given to just 200 customers. Now, millions of consumers use debit and credit cards at dozens of different stores and retailers, spending trillions. Because of that, every business hoping to appeal to the largest number of consumers will need to be able to accept credit cards. In the past, cash-only policies might have been acceptable, but to thrive in today’s marketplace, allowing customers to use plastic is an absolute must.
One of the biggest concerns for companies who do not already accept credit cards is security. Because credit transactions are not as simple as cash, and there are several extra steps and third parties involved, fraud and security are common concerns. The fact that the major retailer Target got hacked should serve as a warning of what can happen when the proper security measures aren’t taken. In 1984, MasterCard became the first to use a hologram to help prevent fraud, but the security issues of today are far more advanced than simple forged cards.
On top of that, some business owners might fear the financial investment needed to buy credit card processors and the cost of working with merchant service accounts that handle a high number of transactions. Though the amount needed will vary depending on the size of the company and how many transactions are completed, owners with a tight budget to stick to will always be concerned. However, the new customers that come from upgrading should lead to increased sales numbers and more than offset the investment needed.
The growth of the digital marketplace might be the main reason why businesses need to accept credit cards. By 2017, according to Forrester Research, Americans alone will spend some $370 billion online. That means the internet provides tremendous opportunities for growing businesses but, since there is no such thing as an online cash payment, enabling credit card payments is a must.
Today’s consumers move fast, and don’t always have time to get to the ATM. As a result, they use their cards to pay for everything from a bottle of water and pack of gum to school clothes for kids. So regardless of the industry that a company is in, enabling credit card purchases is vital for success today.