Businesses that don't accept card payments are losing out on 120 million transactions a year.
This is according to new research from payment service Judo, which found that one in five consumers has failed to make a purchase in the last six months because they were in a shop that did not take cards.
Some 70 per cent of consumers now prefer to pay with cash, and six in ten now say that they would spend more with a business that takes cards than with one that doesn't.
There remains a perception amongst small business owners that card transactions are too expensive to process. Some businesses have also reported being refused merchant status, for example because of a poor credit history.
But a new system aims to make it quick, cheap, and easy for small businesses to start accepting card payments. Swedish payments firm iZettle is offering a new service that it says makes it possible for anyone to carry out a card transaction with their smartphone or tablet.
iZettle make two devices, each of which simply either plugs into or wirelessly connects with an iPhone, other smartphone, or tablet computer. One device accepts PIN transactions, while the other takes signatures. Both devices come with an app that is installed on the phone or tablet.
In order to take a payment, the merchant enters the amount payable into the app. The payment screen can be customised with a photo and message. The customer then places their card into the reader, accepts the amount, and then either types in their PIN or enters their signature on the screen. The payment is processed, and an email receipt can be sent. The entire payment process is encrypted, and the cash is transferred directly into the merchant's bank account.
iZettle also offers a range of analytics to help business owners keep track of the payments they are taking. Merchants can track metrics like the proportion of returning customers, total revenue, and average payment value, providing new insights into businesses' performance.
There are two ways in which merchants pay for the use of iZettle. First of all, businesses need to buy the equipment. The signature device costs £20, while the PIN device costs £99 plus VAT. These allow businesses to take up to £15,000 and £25,000 in transactions each day, respectively.
Once you have bought the equipment, iZettle takes a 2.75 per cent cut of every transaction.
Full information on the iZettle pricing plans is available on their website, where you can also sign up for an account and buy the equipment. The signature device is also available from EE stores.
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