With summer in full swing, farmers’ markets and festivals are popping up everywhere. These are great opportunities for small businesses to promote themselves and grow their customer base with the local community, but one thing I see a lot when visiting booths is that many businesses only accept cash. Some of the businesses at these events accept cashless payments in their stores, but only accept cash at their booths because they don’t know how to accept other forms of payment when away from their stores. This is a problem which I’ve been addressing with business owners locally, and an issue I’m working to increase awareness about within the small business community.
According to a 2016 study by TSYS, only 11% of study participants preferred to pay with cash. This statistic is blown out of the water in comparison to card-based payments, which 75% of participants specified as their preferred payment method. This issue becomes even bigger when considering that in a study of 1,002 U.S. adults, 40% carry less than $20 on their person. While we don’t yet live in a cashless world, businesses should be responding to the desire for cashless transactions.
Accepting Cashless Payments on the Go
Accepting cashless payments when away from your store can be intimidating. You probably don’t want to haul a clunky payment terminal around, but you’re not sure about the alternatives. Luckily, payment processors have a perfect solution for this.
Mobile card readers are a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to upgrade your booth from a cash-only operation to a cashless wonderland for consumers. These card readers are often very small, and either plug into or connect wirelessly to your smart phone or tablet, making it easy to get up and running. Transactions are carried out through the app provided by the reader’s creator, and offer options including signature-based authorization, chip reading, and NFC-based payments, depending on which reader you choose.
The magstripe reader is the more classic version of the mobile card reader. This option is often very compact, but only supports card payments via swipe rather than chip-and-pin, or wireless payments. Both Square and PayPal Here offer a free magstripe reader when you sign up for an account. If being limited to swipe-based payments is a concern, more advanced options are available. In most cases, more advanced readers will accept magstripe as well as chip-based payments, and in some cases, even NFC-based payments. The inclusion of chip-based payments makes this a more secure option, and is ideal for businesses that may accept a large volume of cashless payments.
For businesses that are unsure of accepting cashless payments on the go, the free magstripe reader is the option I’d recommend. The commitment is minimal, and the only charges you’ll pay will be standard card processing fees. By incorporating cashless payments, you can increase sales, and bring your booth-based business to the next level.
Also published on Medium.