The Future is Plastic – 6 Advantages of Credit Cards over Cash

With all due apologies to The Graduate, the plastics McGuire advised Benjamin about should have been the plastics that make credit cards. With the wholesale adoption of eCommerce, the basic reality of retail sales has changed and credit/debit cards are the outward expression of that change.

Obviously, online retail has little option other than to accept credit cards. PayPal and Microsoft Wallet are options but are too limiting for their customer base. Reflecting that, PayPal offers a debit card to access your account with which makes it much more convenient, both online and at brick-and-mortar retail stores. If PayPal, a leader in online payment systems, offers both credit and debit cards, it’s time to reevaluate your business decision to not accept electronic payments.

Going cashless

As the necessity of having a credit card increases, fewer brick-and-mortar stores can justify not taking them for payment. In an ever-increasing spiral, the number of stores that move away from cash business increases and the number of consumers who do not use cash multiplies.

Predictions about becoming a cashless society, retail trends show an increasing reliance on credit/debit cards for the foreseeable future. Companies that are still doing ‘cash-only’ business are imposing a self-inflicted wound to their business. The future is plastic and the longer retailers wait, the further behind the curve they will be.

Advantages for retailers

For the retailer, the advantages of taking payments through credit cards can be boiled down to three things.

  • Customer convenience. If the only difference between you and your competitors is whether you accept credit card payments, many potential customers will take their business to the more convenient option.
  • Ecommerce. Even if your business currently doesn’t have an online presence, future expansion should be in your plans. The easiest and most lucrative expansion, in the current market, is online and doing business through an Ecommerce website requires a credit card.
  • Bookkeeping. Although not a particularly sexy subject, bookkeeping – tracking expenses vs profits, maintaining adequate inventory levels and tracking vendor shipments – are all easier done with credit cards than through check or money order. Payments and deposits are instantaneous and you can monitor your cash flow anywhere and anytime.

Advantages for customers

To strike a balance, customers also benefit from retailers taking credit cards.

  • Ease of use. The same convenience that retailers gain by accepting credit cards is shared with the customers. For many of us, carrying cash is not something we are comfortable with. Using a credit or debit card gives the customer a sense of security.
  • Accuracy. Mistakes happen and after a long shift at a cash register, the most common mistakes are giving the customer the wrong change. Using credit, the customer doesn’t have to worry about the cashier’s physical state affecting their math skills.
  • Societal Norms. The widespread acceptance and adoption of credit and debit cards by consumers is an indication of changes in society. Carrying a credit card is no longer considered flaunting your wealth or credit rating, but a requirement to do business in the online environment.

As Ecommerce becomes more important, the adoption of credit and debit cards in brick-and-mortar settings becomes crucial to compete. Retail stores need to make it desirable for customers to get out of their comfortable houses and travel to a physical store.

Going over the reviews of top rated credit cards gives retailers more information to help them capture a larger market share. Not all credit cards are created equal and the larger number of different credit cards you accept can influence your bottom line.