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As time goes on, the number of payment options keeps going up.  Decades ago you could only pay for something by handing over cash or by writing out a note backed by a bank.  Eventually, banks came up with checking systems and later started backing cards that showed the holder had a solid line of credit.  These became the credit cards we still use today.

After computers developed, payments started becoming electronic.  You could now check a credit card’s balance from the point of sale or use a debit card to charge money directly to a checking account.  These days you can set up accounts with a smartphone wallet and pay just by holding your phone near the payment device.  Another recent trend is the growing number of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin that offer an alternate and completely electronic way to pay.

Not everyone jumps on board right away when a new kind of payment shows up.  When it comes to money, both buyers and sellers tend to be suspicious of new ideas and stick with the old ways longer than they would with other trends like fashions and phones.  However, everyone has to get with the times eventually.  Most stores and restaurants don’t take personal checks anymore, for instance.

At this point, electronic payments have become so common that even classic “cash only” restaurants are finally accepting cards and e-wallets.  This is because asking for only cash is starting to hurt their bottom lines as people stop carrying bills and coins around.  Not only are cards more convenient for them, they’re also more secure since you can cancel a card after it gets stolen but you can never get your cash back.

It also helps that processing companies are offering competitive rates and portable equipment so that small businesses don’t have to change their change the way they do business or raise their razor-thin margins by too much.  However, choosing the right merchant processing company should be about more than just your bottom line.

With the right processing company, you can futureproof your business by getting processing equipment that can handle new payment methods as they become more common.  A good merchant processor should be able to update the software you use so that whenever a customer comes up and says “I’d like to pay with this,” you can always reply, “Okay, go ahead.”

The good thing about electronic payments is that it makes the sales process as simple as using a card or holding a phone near a machine.  The bad thing is that it opens up all kinds of new methods and new currencies that can make it hard for a merchant to keep up.  However, a good merchant processing company will keep up with the latest trends so you don’t have to.

Posted in Payment Processing on Jul 11, 2019