By Gareth Poppleton, Managing Director of Retail Merchant Services

For entrepreneurs and SMEs alike, there are many things to worry about when setting up, from developing your product or service to nurturing your client base and establishing brand awareness. Something that should not be forgotten from this ‘to do’ list is the all-important question of how to take payments.
Whether you’re starting a company or establishing yourself as a sole trader, every penny counts in the early days, and you may not be aware that offering payment by credit and debit card as part of your services could have a major impact on your finances.

For starters, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that consumers would prefer to use cards over cash. The British Retail Consortium recently found that cash transactions have fallen by 14% over the past five years to the lowest figure on record, while there has been an 11% increase in debit card payments.
In addition to providing a convenient payment option for your customers, possessing a chip and PIN device speeds up the entire transaction. Instead of having to wait for invoices to be paid or chasing customers who are yet to settle their debts, you can take instant payment as soon as the order has been delivered or the job completed. This encourages steady cash flow, which is crucial to survival for SMEs.

Card payments aren’t limited to retail stores, either. If you’re offering a mobile service such as cleaning, catering or building, investing in a portable credit card machine will allow you to take payments at multiple locations instead of dealing solely with cash and cheques.

Today’s world is all about convenience, with customers wanting high quality services delivered in a flexible manner. Card payment capabilities are one of the ways SMEs can meet this demand, helping you to develop new business leads and increase sales capacity at the same time as generating more revenue to grow your venture in the long-term.