In a 2018 survey, payment processor TSYS asked 1,222 consumers which payment form they prefer. Fifty-four percent chose debit cards, while 26 percent selected credit cards, and only 14 percent specified a preference for using cash.1 Consumers’ preference for credit cards decreased by 7 percentage points over the same survey’s results from 2017, while the results for debit cards rose by 10 percentage points.
1. It’s convenient for your customers.
Accepting credit and debit card payments can make it easier for you to get paid, because most consumers don’t carry enough cash to cover a large expense and seldom use checks, but have at least one credit card in their wallet at any given time. Plus, rather than dropping off an envelope of cash or mailing a check, they can easily pay you in person, over the phone or online, whether by clicking a link on your electronic invoice or through your website. Paying on credit cards can also help customers short on funds afford to have work done now, rather than waiting until they have the money in the bank.
2. It inspires customer confidence that your company is aboveboard.
Your customers feel comfortable paying by credit card. This form of payment is so common that it seems odd when a company doesn’t accept it and may cause your customers unease. Further, consumers are often told that credit cards are the safest way to pay contractors. For example, Angie’s List founder Angie Hicks recommends paying by credit card because of the consumer protections it offers and the paper trail it provides, or by check as a second option. The FTC also advises consumers not to pay contractors in cash, but rather to pay by credit card or check.
3. You can accept deposits and other payments immediately and reliably.
When you process a credit card transaction, you know immediately if it goes through or not. This allows you to start new projects faster, because you don’t have to wait a few days after depositing a check for a down payment to make sure it doesn’t bounce before you get started on a job.
Depending on the scope of the work and with your client’s permission, you may be able to schedule recurring payments or installments that are automatically charged to your customer’s card, so you can count on regular cash flow as long as the job is on schedule. Also, when working with clients who are behind on their payments or have been delinquent payers in the past, accepting a credit card may help you get paid faster, which helps you avoid waiting around to see if the check is really in the mail.
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