A recent study of 850 small businesses found that 35% of payments by start-up companies are still taken using cheques. Before June 2011 taking cheques would not have been a problem in the UK, but with cheque guarantee cards disappearing through the closure of the UK Domestic Cheque Guarantee Card Scheme, the cheque is no longer as reliable as it once was. Already many retailers, petrol stations and all supermarkets have stopped accepting cheques, continuing a trend of the past five years.
The impact on sales from not being able to take cheques since June 2011 will come as a shock to those small businesses that remained willing to accept them, but there are upsides as well for your business from being able to take card payments. Research suggests orders can be increased where payments are taken by credit and debit cards.
There are other benefits for you as a business from being able to take card payments, such as:
• you and your business, no matter what size, look even more professional
• you will not be limited to the amount of cash your potential customer has in their pocket
• you can let your customers spread the credit if paying by credit card, so there’s no need for you to take out expensive credit arrangements
• you will not have the hassle, or cost of running a business bank account, of taking cheque and cash to your bank.
So faced with just these upsides and downsides, why aren’t all micro, small and medium sized companies taking card payments?
Put simply, it is down to cost. Typically facilities to take card payments currently involve a large set-up fee, a large monthly fee and suppliers will want you to sign up to lengthy contracts of 12 – 18 months. This just doesn’t work for small businesses, particularly for those who are starting out and want to give business a try.
... B-Paid Lite – an entry level card solution for all businesses
B-Paid Lite is one of the first companies to tackle this issue to give start-ups an entry level card service, taking just around 15 minutes to do the initial set-up.
B-Paid Lite has:
• no set up fees
• no extended contracts (just a rolling month-by-month arrangement)
• no cancellation fees
• no additional hardware, all you need is a smartphone, tablet or PC
• the flexibility to be used on the move, at home and in the office – anytime in fact as long as an internet connection
• just a small monthly fee of just £4.95 per month, plus normal transaction fees (typically 3.4% plus 20p per transaction if linked to PayPal).
With B-Paid Lite, businesses don’t need an internet merchant account if they do not want one. This normally means having to apply to a bank with business history and then perhaps to pay a monthly fee, plus also accepting a longer period of time to receive the funds to your account.
With B-Paid, businesses can register easily with or without a merchant account, then link to a payment gateway such as PayPal, create a catalogue of items and then upgrade to be ready to take payments. There is also a fantastic wizard we recommend at www.b-paid.com/support which splits the PC screen in two – the top half gives step by step instructions with the bottom screen showing live internet pages to B-Paid and PayPal. In around 15 minutes you are ready to take card payments. A helpdesk is also available in the UK. As a special promotion with startups.co.uk, try out B-Paid free for one month. Just use the promotional code ‘startups1001’ (all lower case) when prompted using the wizard.
As well as B-Paid Lite, an affordable Chip n’ PIN device is being introduced in 2012 – to find out more email email@example.com with your contact details. And to see it in action, you can watch the demonstration of taking a payment on a smartphone at http://www.youtube.com/user/Jones2052