Why Consumers Prefer Credit Cards Over Cash
There are many excellent reasons why 78 percent of U.S. consumers own a credit card and 80 percent own a debit card*, but the key reason why merchants need to be able to accept all those cards boils down to one word: expectations. Simply put, shoppers expect to be able to pay with plastic, and merchants should cater to that expectation by making credit card processing an integral part of their operation.
Credit cards are easy and convenient to use, but they also offer a number of free benefits that consumers appreciate. These bennies vary by card type and even among programs offered by the same credit card company. The most common include:
- Price protection that allows cardholders to recoup savings directly from the credit card company if they find a lower price on an item with 60 days of purchase.
- Extended return policies that can turn a 30-day return period into 90 days if the store won’t accept the return.
- Chargebacks that come into play when a cardholder is dissatisfied with a purchase and the merchant refuses to issue a refund. Most businesses prefer to avoid chargebacks since they not only lose the sale but they’re charged a fee by their credit card processing provider.
- Extended warranties that can double the manufacturer’s warranty protection.
- No-fee cash advances that allow cardholders to get cash back on credit card purchases at the register without paying a fee, just like they could with a debit card.
- Damage and theft protection that covers many items against accidental damage or theft in the first 90 days after purchase. This generally covers replacement, repair or reimbursement.
- Rewards such as airline miles, hotel stays, points towards merchandise and cash back that are among the most powerful incentives for consumers to use their credit cards. Some rewards programs charge an annual fee, so they’re technically not free, but cardholders love the idea of getting paid to shop just the same.
With all these incentives and protections, is it any wonder that credit cards are so popular at checkout? And can there be any doubt that accepting credit cards is beneficial to merchants as well? After all, when you accept credit cards, you widen your revenue stream and make more sales possible. More sales typically lead to greater profits and a healthier bottom line.
At Merchant Express®, we believe that all businesses can reap those benefits — and more — by accepting plastic. We offer a comprehensive selection of credit card processing options to meet your requirements. Whether you conduct business face-to-face, online, by mail or phone or in the field, we have the products and services to cover all your needs.
When you talk to a Merchant Express consultant, be sure to ask about our free, 30-day trial offer. Experience the highest level of credit card processing and customer service or cancel the service with no questions asked — that’s our risk-free proposition! We have helped more than 500,000 businesses nationwide to accept credit cards since 1998 — let us do the same for you!
* Source: “The Survey of Consumer Payment Choice”, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, January 2010.