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Small Businesses Prefer Checks, Cash Over Credit Cards

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small businessRelying upon credit or debit cards regularly in their everyday lives is something numerous Americans have learned to do in recent years, and it may therefore come as a bit of a shock when some smaller businesses do not accept this payment method. However, the disconnect between consumer sentiment about this refusal and the way businesses see it is particularly interesting.

Nearly three out of every five small businesses nationwide say that they are asked by consumers on a regular basis to begin accepting credit card purchases, according to a new survey from the payment processing company WePay. However, nearly three-quarters of all small businesses say that they still prefer to accept either cash or checks instead of cards themselves.

The problem with that preference, it seems, is that most Americans are moving away from checks altogether, and many are growing increasingly less understanding when companies do not take more than one type of payment, the report said. For instance, nearly two-thirds of those polled said that they write fewer than three checks every month, and that number has risen appreciably from the 35 percent who answered the same way three years ago. In addition, 27 percent of small business owners say they’re now receiving fewer checks than they did in 2010.

But the reason for the big disparity between the number of consumers who don’t write many checks and the percentage of businesses that say they’re receiving fewer may be that most demographics are simply avoiding companies that don’t take cards, the report said. This trend was most notable among consumers between 18 and 34 years old, 69 percent of whom said that if a business does not take multiple forms of payment, they simply won’t shop there. This was also true for the majority of those 35 to 44 years old (58 percent) and 45 to 54 (52 percent). Only those 55 or more years old had fewer than half of respondents say they would still shop at these no-card small businesses, but even then, 48 percent said they would avoid doing so.

Small businesses likely avoid accepting credit cards because of the sometimes sizable fees they pay for processing these transactions, but an increasing amount of data shows that consumers are generally turned off when companies will not take their cards. Consequently, these decisions may be costing them more in business than the interchange fees they are avoiding.

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