Finance July 28, 2014 Last updated September 18th, 2018 752 Reads share

Why Operating As Cash-Only Will Kill Your Business

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Ah, the good old days. When your customers would walk into your store, pockets full of cash. You didn’t have to worry about credit card transactions or merchant card processing (whatever that is). Times were simpler then.

Why Operating As Cash-Only Will Kill Your Business

But technology has changed all of that. Cash is becoming obsolete, many say. Dare we venture to say, you might not even need to carry a purse or wallet if things keep moving in this direction.

Why Cash is Going Out of Fashion

Just like laser discs, cash may soon be a distant memory. In many ways, it’s more vulnerable than credit or debit cards: you can’t track a lost or stolen $50 bill, but you certainly can do so with a card payment.

Using plastic (or even mobile payments) lets consumers track their spending. And after the recession we had a few years ago, more and more Americans have a keen eye on their budgets.

Additionally, cash simply isn’t cool anymore. Not with so many interesting ways to pay using mobile devices being introduced every day. Who wants even to bother with bills contaminated with dirt and other unsavories? Certainly not me.

So, Where Does This Leave Your Business?

Maybe you’re slow to admit that only accepting cash isn’t doing your business any favors. Maybe sales are as steady as they’ve ever been, so you’re not particularly concerned. But that doesn’t mean it couldn’t be better.

Think of all the people who enter your store and then leave without making a purchase when they see you don’t accept cards. Limiting your payment options limits your sales. No question about it.

And think about your brand reputation. Maybe you’re like this 85-year-old delicatessen in Montreal, which has been cash-only since the beginning. If you’ve got a loyal fan base, they’ll consider your cash-only quirk charming maybe. But if you’re trying to reach new customers, you might appear old fashioned and outdated. 

By not accepting credit cards, you inconvenience your customers. They’re forced to either make a smaller transaction based on how much cash they’re carrying or run to the nearest ATM, upset by having to pay extra fees just grab that cash. Either way, they will not repeat their purchase and you’re stifling any future relationship with these customers.

And when it comes to customer relations, people tend to trust businesses where they know their purchases are protected. Because credit and debit cards offer consumer protection, they know that a purchase with you will be guaranteed, whether you accept the return or they process the return through their bank or credit card company. With cash, there is no protection, and that reduces trust.

Another factor to consider is that using a credit or debit card isn’t even about your company. Customers get loyalty reward points when they use their cards, which can provide incentive to use them frequently. Cash doesn’t offer rewards.

If you have restricted your customers to cash only, chances are your sales have dipped over the years as a result of non-acceptance of credit cards. But not to worry; getting started with accepting credit cards is extremely simple, and probably cheaper than you’d expect. The minimal cost is well worth the increase in sales and transaction volume you’ll see.

Images: ”Human hands exchanging money – closeup shot/ Shutterstock.com

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Jaimie Yun

Jaimie Yun

Jaimie Yun has more than 15 years experience across financial sectors of public accounting, corporate finance and more. She is on the advisory board of PayDemand.com, a credit card processing marketplace that allows businesses to compare multiple credit card processing rates and get the best offer while remaining anonymous to processors. Connect with Jaimie on Google+ and follow PayDemand on Twitter.

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