It's a question many businesses face these days. Should a company begin accepting credit cards in addition to the payment methods it has been using for years, like, for example, paper checks?

There are generally two reasons why companies are hesitant to begin accepting credit cards. One, they're quite comfortable with how they've always taken payments, and two, they think credit card transaction fees are an added expense they would prefer to avoid.

These explanations make it understandable why a company might not want to adapt to digital payment methods like credit cards. But when you look closer, you'll see plenty of reasons why credit cards make sense, especially regarding paper checks. Also, the transaction processing fees are not relatively as burdensome as one might believe in the long run.  

Paper checks have their downside.

An on-site payments page is located on your website. To put it another way, you are the host, and your customers never leave your website. Consider it a “self-hosted” payments page.

Now, compare this to a hosted payments page. A hosted payments page is a checkout page located on a third-party website. When a customer clicks on your site to make a payment, he or she is directed away from your website to a new site. In general, this new site, with its hosted checkout page, is provided by your merchant payments provider or gateway. 

Just like cash payments, paper checks have hidden costs.

Businesses that rely on paper checks might think they are saving money by avoiding the transaction fees that come with credit cards. But when one considers all the time and effort required to process checks manually, the supposed cost advantages of paper checks disappear.

Paper checks suffer from many of the same problems businesses experience when preferring cash payments over credit cards. Managing checks like managing cash requires extra administrative expenses that can far exceed the cumulative cost of the 1% or 2% fees associated with cards.

The truth is paper checks bog down employees with time-consuming accounting tasks. But the kind of automated solutions inherent in digital payment systems frees employees to concentrate on other more productive assignments like, say, developing new areas of company growth.

Here's another important point: the actual cost savings from credit cards apply across almost all businesses, from the fuel and propane delivery industry to waste management to pretty much whatever business one is engaged in. Plus, the size of a company doesn't change the fact that credit cards, in the long run, are a much more economical way to take payments.  It's a payment system that works for everyone.  

Paperless payments is where the marketplace is now and will continue to go.

More and more customers prefer to use credit cards and other paperless payments. It is the present and future reality of how consumers purchase products and services.

And it's no wonder. Credit cards are an incredibly convenient way to make payments, which would explain why, according to the Federal Reserve, 83% of U.S. adults have at least one credit card. With credit cards, there is no need to carry cash around. It's also very fast and has proven to be quite secure.

At the same time, most merchants have quickly embraced paperless payments, too.  Why?  For the same reasons their customers have. Speed and ease of use. Plus, it offers a vast improvement in back-office bookkeeping and a much quicker way to get deposits into accounts.

The advantages of digital payments far outweigh the cost.

Being a merchant who is hesitant to go digital makes sense in some cases. Again, accepting checks might be how you have always done business, and your customers are fine with that. Or maybe you think modernizing to a digital payment system is too expensive.

But you will probably want to adapt to this new reality sooner or later if you maintain a viable business. There are many good reasons to transition to digital payments.

For starters, adding the ability to accept credit cards is not as hard or expensive as you may have thought.  If you team up with a quality payments provider like Qualpay, they can show you how to do it with little fuss and not excessive upfront money.

Once you've added digital payment capabilities to your business operations, you should recognize immediately the advantages it offers versus relying solely on paper checks.  You'll soon see that the efficiencies generated by digital technology in terms of processing time, easier record-keeping, and quicker settlement of your accounts make moving toward digital payments the right thing to do.

Yes, no, or maybe? We're leaning toward yes.

Digital payments will be with us for a long time. It's the future. And it is the present. The time to embrace digital payments is today.

About Qualpay

Qualpay is a technology-first, flexible payments platform. We simplify and improve the payments process for merchants across a range of industries, and we help ISVs create value for their customers with elegantly embedded payment and banking services. Qualpay leverages the most up-to-date technology to reduce costs and streamline back-office operations.