The economic downturn has squeezed businesses everywhere. Customers are more reluctant to use cash and may delay making their invoice payments as long as possible. Maybe it’s time to ask yourself if accepting American Express® Cards at your business could help improve your cash flow and jumpstart business growth.
The first step is to set aside any preconceived notions you may have about how hard it is to get set up and consider how accepting all types of cards (charge, credit and debit) can help make your customers happy and your company prosperous.
Accepting various forms of payment can add convenience for your customers. Research shows that consumers want to pay with cards, and the trend is accelerating. A 2008 study of consumer payment preferences by BAI Research and Hitachi Consulting found that 41 percent of Americans have reduced their use of cash over the past two years.
Allowing customers to choose their payment methods can help you increase sales. If your customer has only $50 in his or her wallet, he or she can spend only $50. But when you add cards to the mix, it makes it easier to spend more.
According to the 2008 Consumer Payments Study by Phoenix Marketing International, consumers spend more when they use cards. Across 24 merchant categories, ranging from department stores and salons to restaurants and gas stations, the average value of payment transactions is 69.7% higher when consumers pay with a card instead of cash; at restaurants specifically, the average value of payment transaction is 39.5% higher.
By accepting cards, you have the ability to set up automatic payment for customers with recurring charges — such as membership fees, monthly usage and subscriptions — which can help establish an easy and effective way to retain customers and build loyalty.
Cash flow benefits
Besides customer convenience, accepting cards can also offer cash flow benefits for your business. Why wait 30 or 45 days for an invoice payment when you can get your money from the card company in a few days? Plus, you reduce the administrative burden of invoicing clients, saving the time it takes to create and send the invoice and then wait for payment. You also can manage your account online and receive daily updates.
A merchant account gives your customers the payment choices they want and the cash flow advantages your business needs, which is especially important in times like these. You can help realize all these benefits and give your business a lift by accepting American Express Cards.