As great as it is, cash is no longer the main or preferred payment method for most consumers. As technology has developed, it has become more important than ever for businesses to offer a wide variety of payment methods. Here are a few of the biggest reasons why:
1. People Want the Power to Choose
Having the power of choice puts control in the hands of the consumer. It’s human nature to find satisfaction in feeling in-control, even when it comes to something as simple as choosing a payment method. What’s more, it’s frustrating for shoppers to fill up a cart (digital or physical), only to get to the checkout and discover their chosen payment method isn’t accepted.
In some cases, customers will have no choice but to abandon their items if their payment method isn’t accepted; in many other cases, customers will simply choose to find a vendor who caters to their preferences. In either case, denying your customers the power of choice could be costing you money.
As of 2017, 69.23 percent of consumers were abandoning their shopping carts at checkout. While a number of other reasons for cart abandonment were cited—like unexpected shipping costs, having to create a user account, or concerns about payment security—not having their preferred method of payment made the list, too. Offering a variety of payment methods will help to decrease the number of consumers who abandon their carts at checkout and could improve customer retention.
2. It Will Make You More Accessible to a Wider Audience
Everybody has a preferred payment method, and even different regions of the world prefer certain payment methods over others. According to a guide by Zooz, most of the US uses credit or debit cards, but 79 percent of survey respondents in the US also say they prefer PayPal. 50 percent of respondents in the UK and Brazil prefer credit or debit cards, but 85 percent of respondents in France prefer Carte Bleue, a debit payment platform. In China, 60 percent of respondents prefer Alipay, an eWallet method.
It can be tempting to think of some payment methods—like checks or cryptocurrencies—as fringe payment methods used by a small minority of customers. After all, according to CUtoday, only 20 percent of people still say they write checks. Nevertheless, you don’t want to risk alienating paying customers. What’s more, limiting payment options could prevent your business from staying up-to-date on the latest changes, trends, and technology in payment processing.
Deluxe eChecks, for example, take a modern approach to checks by letting you send and receive them electronically. You can even print and cash the electronic checks as if they were a standard check issued by the bank, making check processing a more efficient payment method that can even be incorporated into eCommerce business models. With the rise in banking apps that allow consumers to electronically deposit checks and other innovative features, it would be a mistake to cut them out of your payment method options.
If you run a business, especially one that operates online or hopes to become internationally recognized, it’s imperative that you offer a wide variety of payment methods to serve all potential customers. The more payment methods you offer, the more accessible you’ll be to anyone who browses your store.
3. Electronic Payment Methods Are More Secure
Cash is great to have on hand, but it can also be dangerous. According to the 2016 FBI-released Crime Statistics, there were 8,178 robberies of gas or service stations and 17,401 convenience store robberies. According to Statista, there were 126,592 robberies via strong-arm in 2016, 125,289 via firearm, 24,321 via knife or cutting instrument, and 28,486 via another weapon. While not all robberies are for cash, it is an easy and enticing target for many robbers.
Electronic payment methods such as eChecks, credit and debit cards, cryptocurrencies, eWallets, etc. are much more secure than cash payments. They can be tracked and stored electronically and can be encrypted to help protect the information from cyber-attacks as well.
4. It Will Make It Easy to Check Out on Any Device
If you run an e-commerce store, you’ll have site visitors browsing on all sorts of devices, from desktop to mobile and laptop to tablet. While checking out with a credit or debit card on a desktop device may not cause any friction, it can be a hassle on a mobile device. Consumers paying via mobile may prefer methods like Google or Apple Pay or PayPal since they will likely already have the app downloaded and information stored.
As of 2016, there were 136.3 million mobile buyers, and Statista projects that by 2020, that number will grow to 168.7 million. The shift to mobile and focus on devices over desktops means it’s more important than ever to offer a variety of payment methods to make checking out streamlined no matter what device consumers are using.
Offering a variety of payment methods, like credit and debit, cryptocurrency, eCheck, eWallet, PayPal, Google and Apple Pay, etc., will empower your consumers, help you reach a larger audience, offer more secure payment methods, and make the checkout process easier. Doing this will help you improve customer retention and boost customer loyalty. Cash is dead and should no longer be your focus—it’s time to look to the future.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.