How many times have you or your customers skipped out on a purchase because the business only accepted cash? Many people no longer carry cash and rely solely on their credit cards be it for convenience, safety, or preference. When small businesses accept credit card payments, it can help increase sales, improve cash flow, and help simplify accounting. Yet many small businesses opt for being cash only for the convenience and cost savings to their business.

For many years the only way small businesses could accept credit card payments was by opening a merchant account. Although this sounds simple enough, the backend needs are complex, time-consuming, and costly to a small business. The good thing is that technology has a way of finding solutions to help alleviate some of the problems most small businesses face. There are many options that have been introduced into the market that make processing credit card payments quick so that they show up in your business bank account automatically.

Below are three methods your business can use to accept credit card payments:

Square or Stripe- Using a service like Square or Stripe is a great solution for small businesses that are looking to accept credit card payments easily. These types of services require a mobile credit card reader, which is a portable device that plugs into your smartphone. The readers pair with a credit card app to accept credit card payments anywhere, as long as there’s an internet connection. These app-based payment systems are extremely convenient and accessible to businesses. Their business model focuses on keeping their structures simple in order to keep their costs down and make accepting credit card payments accessible.

Although most card readers offer the same basic services, there are a few differences that set them apart. Stripe, for example, accepts ACH debit payments and other payment forms. Stripe also lets you manage recurring payments like memberships or subscriptions. Square also has the ability to accept EMV chip payments and payments from Apple Pay. A software that accepts online transactions is also part of their service offerings.

PayPal – This is a great option for business owners that are looking for more in-depth merchant services. However, PayPal is often overlooked as a payment solution since most people still think of eBay when they hear the name. PayPal works through the set up of a merchant account that allows you to accept in-store or online payments. This service allows customers to link credit cards and their bank information to their PayPal accounts. This allows the payment to take place without the direct exchange of financial information exchange between the merchant and customer. PayPal is also a great way to receive payments online. All you need to do is add the PayPal button to your site, and with a few quicks, payment is processed.

PayPal also offers its own version of a portable card reader, which allows for in-person payments. Just as the card readers mentioned previously, PayPal’s version accepts credit cards, debit cards, and even contactless payments like Apple Pay. Invoicing is another convenient feature of PayPal. This feature allows businesses to create and send invoices, track payments, and track customer information. You can also set up recurring invoices and manage everything from one place.

Digital Wallet Services – Although digital wallets may be a little less traditional options for businesses, they can still work and are becoming more popular. Venmo is a social commerce app-based service initially started as an easy solution for people to easily pay their friends and family. By connecting your bank or credit cards to your Venmo account, you could easily pay anyone. To use Venmo for business, you would need a business Venmo account. If you already accept PayPal, you can easily incorporate Venmo into your payment options for customers.

Zelle is also becoming quite popular with small businesses as a payment solution. Zelle is a service that is offered through banks and credit unions that allow the quick and simple transfer of money to other accounts connected to Zelle. The only catch is that both parties need to be enrolled with Zelle through their banking apps. Zelle is a fast, safe, and easy way for customers to send money to eligible businesses. Another important thing to note is that not all banks and credit unions that offer Zelle to consumers offer Zelle for small businesses.

There are many options that small businesses can incorporate into their payment solutions in order to improve your customer experience. By offering one or more options that include credit card payments, clients are more likely to turn into loyal, returning customers. Your business can also benefit in multiple ways from accepting credit card payments. By giving customers the option to pay with a credit card, your cash flow will increase at a faster rate. With checks taking between five to ten business days to clear, credit card payments will appear in your business bank account within a day or two. This will also save you time by not having to go to the bank to deposit checks. We encourage you to start looking into these options to find which is the best for you and your business.