The Facts about Switching to Card Payments in a Small Business

When credit and later debit cards were first introduced, many consumers struggled to find places where they could be used. Since then, that has changed dramatically. In fact, cash is quickly dwindling as a preferred payment method, and most consumers now expect to be able to use their card to pay for just about everything.



No matter what type of business you operate, you are going to need to offer your customers the option of paying by card if you are going to stay competitive in your market. It can be hard to know where to start if you are looking for a way to accept card payments at your business, so we have put together this short guide to all the facts you need to know about switching to card payments in a small business.

Know the Process and the Players:

You may think that a card payment involves just your business and your customer, but it is more complicated than that. Cards are issued by a bank or financial institution, and they use a payment scheme such as VISA or MasterCard, and finally, the ‘acquirer’, or merchant service, will authorise the payment and process the transaction. The involvement of these parties gives the consumer the convenience of paying by card, and the merchant the confidence that the transaction will settle with all monies paid.

What is an ‘Acquirer’?

The acquirer is a service that processes the payment and is responsible for ensuring the transaction is completed and the payment is successfully debited from the consumer’s bank account and credited to the merchant.

These companies operate the ‘chip and pin’ and ‘contactless’ card machines that are used to make payments. It is important for any business to find the right acquirer, or merchant service, for their needs. UTP Group is one of only two providers of card machines that work with Barclaycard Merchant Services to give their customers peace of mind, as well as a quick and reliable service. They offer Faster Processing technology that gets money into a merchant’s account in less than 24 hours, and under an hour if needed, helping any business with its cash flow.

Costs Vary Greatly Between Card Machine Suppliers

Most card machine suppliers charge a per transaction fee, and sometimes these fees can mount up quickly. Many suppliers will tailor a fee specific to your business, depending on your level of turnover and the number of transactions you are likely to make, and the value of your average transaction. There are many suppliers, and the market is competitive, so get a range of quotes and look for the best deal for your business. Joining fees are standard in the industry, and often cover the costs of the card machine and any setup or training. These fees make a card machine sound expensive, but most machines cost a business less than £1 a day to operate. 

In the near future, we may see cash disappear from our wallets and purses completely, as more and more people use the convenience of cards to make their purchases. If you don’t make the switch to card payments soon, your business could be left behind.

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