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Payments: The new paper vs. plastic debate

1 min read


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Small Business — tracks feedback from small-business owners. We run the poll question each Thursday in our e-newsletter.

Last week, we asked: Does your business accept credit and debit cards?

  • Yes — 72.31%
  • No — 27.69%

If you’re a B2C business, I think there’s an expectation you’ll take credit and debit cards.  That’s not necessarily true if you’re business is primarily B2B.  In either case, giving customers the option of paying via credit or debit card offers convenience which could translate into the customer spending more money — or at least spending what they will with you.  Please note I said “could” and not necessarily “would.”

The challenge with allowing customers to pay with plastic is the cost.  Banks do charge processing fees, and even small fees can add up fast — especially on small purchases.  So of course those fees have to be taken into consideration when businesses budget their expenses. The good news is there are more and more options including Web-based programs and even smartphone apps that can help keep payment processing competitive.

Sharlyn Lauby is the HR Bartender and president of ITM Group.