For many types of transactions, cash is still king. But paper money continues to fall out of favor as more consumers embrace alternative payment methods. In fact, roughly 10 percent of American shoppers don’t carry any cash on them. And of those who do hold money:
- 78 percent have less than $50 on them
- 50 percent carry less than $20 at any time
Accepting credit and debit cards is a great way to tap into this growing market of cash-averse shoppers. Americans love their plastic, with nationwide credit card debt approaching $1 trillion.
But even with credit cards, you’re only scratching the surface. To reach a wider audience and maximize your sales growth, you’ll need to begin exploring a larger mix of small business payment methods.
What Alternative Payment Options Should Your Business Use?
Broadly speaking, an alternative payment method describes any medium of exchange that doesn’t directly involve cash. With more than 200 options out there, knowing where to start can be difficult.
Fortunately, you don’t need to incorporate all of these options. You can focus your attention on the most popular retail payment methods.
1. Virtual Wallets
With virtual wallets, shoppers link their mobile devices to banks or credit cards. When they want to buy something in a brick-and-mortar store, these customers wave their phones across a near-field communication (NFC) terminal to initiate payment.
For roughly 60 million Americans, virtual wallet solutions such as Apple Pay represent the No. 1 method for sending and receiving money. Did you know that Apple Pay Online will soon be available for ecommerce businesses? Payment technology is quickly evolving to answer the demands of the always-shifting payment landscape.
2. Electronic Payments
Electronic payments are ideally suited for the online world, where merchants and customers rarely meet face to face.
PayPal is extremely popular for digital purchases, while ACH transfers are more common for larger, recurring transactions (e.g., direct deposit).
You might be unfamiliar with Bitcoin, but many of your customers may actually prefer using this cryptocurrency.
There are an estimated 1.3 million to 15 million cryptocurrency users worldwide, and demand is expected to increase moving forward.
The Benefits of Accepting Alternative Payment Methods
Have you ever walked away from a purchase because the vendor didn’t accept your favorite credit card? It happens all the time.
It could be happening to your business if you accept a limited range of options. Customers want to buy whatever you’re selling, but they will turn away at the last minute if you don’t support their preferred payment type.
Fortunately, it’s easy to fix. By offering more payment options (both offline and online), you’ll be able to:
- Expand your reach
- Attract more customers
- Generate more sales
However, these benefits exist only if you:
- Can securely protect all incoming payment information. This is why it’s critical you select a payment processor that emphasizes PCI compliance and fraud management.
- Can intelligently manage all incoming transactions. Handling sales across multiple channels is time consuming, but with payment integration you can automatically capture, report and organize all new sales as they enter your business.
To discover how BluePay can help you expand your payment options and increase sales, schedule a free appointment with our team today.