Published: 17/07/2018

Cards vs Cash - what costs more for your business

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Accepting cards for your business? Sounds like a great idea, until you realise this will mean spending money on the technology to do this. Why should you have to spend on customers paying you. Surely accepting good old fashioned cash - without the need for any technology - will suffice and be cheaper. And certainly cash has its plus points.

But to assume it is cheap and won’t cost you much is a complete myth. In fact there are several reasons why accepting cash will cost your business, not just in terms of what you will spend, but for other reasons too like:


Operating as a cash only business means that you will need to keep a large amount of it (maybe all of it) on site. You don’t need to be a nuclear scientist to realise that this will make you an easier target for theft. You will also never be able to tell for sure if any employees decide to slip an occasional £5 note out the till for themselves - this is the risk you take if you rely solely on cash. You will have to train your staff in cash handling procedures as well.

Cash loss is a big problem for small businesses, so adequate training is essential. But this will require time and energy on your part, not to mention a likely cost as well for implementing a cash handling program. So if you were thinking using cash is easy, you are mistaken. If you accept card, then you won’t have to ‘put all your eggs in one basket’. You’ll be less reliant on cash and less time will have to be spent training staff and implementing labour intensive procedures. That’s not to say that credit card fraud isn’t an issue. But by incorporating card into your thinking, the threats are going to be less physical and obvious than they would with something as enticing as lots of cash in a till.

Various costs for card

So now you know that using cash doesn’t come for free. Perhaps you are realising that using card isn’t so bad after all and may prove advantageous. Yet that little voice in your head is still asking the obvious question: how much would this cost me? The answer is it depends. Different providers will give different quotes for their services. You might compile a list of providers and find their costs might vary. You have to consider factors such as PCI compliance; terminal rent and the length of contracts before you enter into any relationship with a card provider. It’s vital that you look at this carefully. This is why Payzone provide flexible payment packages on card payment solutions to suit a variety of businesses.

Expand your reach

Keeping cash in the till, and not using any type of card payment mechanism, may mean you’re paying less in terms of transaction costs, but it might cost you in other ways. By restricting payment options, you are potentially turning down some fantastic growth opportunities. It is no secret that the UK is one of the worlds biggest users of cards (third in the world) and usage of debit and credit cards is only expected to grow over the next decade. By accepting just cash, you might be turning a blind eye to growing payment trends.

Payments online

Another important factor to consider is online payment. Maybe you’re thinking ‘I’d love to take payments online and take just cash in store’. That is a big no no. If you are thinking of having an e-commerce site or a payment gateway, this can only happen if you accept cards. If you are deciding on accepting just cash, you are limiting opportunities for your business to expand its audience.

And if we are breaking this down to simple scenarios, ask yourself this: do you like it when you go to a store and are told that they don’t accept card and you should find the nearest ATM? Of course you don’t, and we can promise you neither do your audience. They’ll simply go to another shop which does accept cards for what they want, and just like that you’ll have lost a customer.

It’s up to you

It all comes down to what you think is right. Therefore you need to think about what type of payment solution suits you best. But if it’s real growth that you’re after, and want to be seen as a modern progressive business, then the best way to do this is start taking card payments from your customers.

David Goulden Copywriter
A woman shopping online
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