Don’t Accept Credit Cards? You Might Be Losing Customers

In the current world of Apple Pay, money-sending apps, and cryptocurrency, customers expect the ability to pay with a plastic card (at the very least). If you don’t accept credit cards yet, you may risk customers opting out of shopping or dining at your business.

Thirty-five percent of consumers said that if a business they were thinking about visiting didn’t accept credit cards, then they would look for a different business, according to our recent survey.

Our survey of 1,800 U.S. consumers — which highlights trends on how they discover, choose, and recommend new businesses — also found that for 84 percent of respondents it’s important to have the ability to pay with a credit card. This is particularly the case at certain types of businesses such as retail, grocery, and restaurants.

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Our survey also showed that more than the loss of a single customer’s business, not accepting credit cards could also damage your business’s reputation.

When asked why they think a business wouldn’t accept credit cards, 43 percent of consumers said that it’s because they don’t want to pay the fee to the credit card company (this idea is much more prevalent amongst Gen X and the 53+ group). But with younger people (particularly millennials), there’s a perception that businesses that don’t accept credit cards are old-fashioned.

Since consumers rely so heavily on the recommendations of others to find new businesses, you don’t want the idea that your business is old-fashioned to spread. Once an online review is left that you don’t accept credit cards, that will be a difficult notion to correct.

Fortunately, there are two things you can do to make sure you aren’t losing out on potential customers in the short or long term:

1. Make sure you can accept all types of credit cards.

Based on this data, it’s clear you could lose out on business if you don’t accept credit cards. In the short term, not accepting credit cards could alienate over a third of potential customers (customers who could become regulars). In the long term, it could affect your reputation.

So you want to make sure that you have the right hardware and software to accept all types of credit card payments — whether that’s magstripe, chip, or contactless cards, or Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express.

2. Look forward (so you don’t get left behind).

While most people use cash, credit, or debit, more and more people are starting to use mobile payments. Our study found that 26 percent of consumers have used mobile payments, but that number increases with younger generations (xennials, millennials, and Gen Zers).

Mobile payments are the fastest, most convenient, and most secure way to pay. And a previous study we did on payment methods found that the people who do use them, love them. (People even search out stores that take them — which is a whole other way to attract new customers.)

While just processing credit cards might seem like a big step forward for you, why not just upgrade everything at once?

You can quickly get set up to accept credit card payments with Square Reader for contactless and chip, which can accept both credit cards and mobile payments.

Want to see more of the survey results? Download our Retail Playbook: Finding and Winning New Customers.