Seasonal Businesses – The benefits of taking card payments

If you are a seasonal business, pop-up shop or crafter you may be missing out on sales by not accepting payments by card.

Most businesses experience marginal ups and downs in transaction volume and revenue month on month, in fact research from Santander Corporate and Commercial found that two out of three UK businesses are affected by seasonality.[1]

During periods of inactivity the businesses still need pay business rates, rent and utilities, it is therefore important that the business owners plan and manage their sales fluctuations to ensure smooth operations during the quieter months.

Cash and cheques are quickly being replaced by cards, contactless and smartphones and as a business owner, it’s important to stay on top of consumer trends and know what your customers want.

Having a card machine will ensure that you do not miss out on sales opportunities and have been proven to increase revenue.

What you need to know

One of the main things to keep in mind when evaluating how your business handles fees and rates in regards to transactions. Every payment you take via card will incur a cost, much like if you were to bank cash in your business bank account you would be charged a fee (although with card payments this cost is considerably smaller).

One such fee is the minimum monthly service charge (MMSC) which is the minimum amount your will be charged for your card transactions on a monthly basis which for most merchant services providers is £15 per month.

What options are available?

  1. Short Term Card Machine Rental – There are merchant services providers out there, who offer short term rental of card machines, which mean that you are not tied into a lengthy contract and can hire a machine for your busiest periods, paying for the hire of the machine upfront and then your processing fees on a monthly basis, until it is returned to the provider. This option could work out considerably cheaper than taking our a card machine on a long term lease or choosing a contract free option.
  1. Micro Merchant Accounts – These are devices that can be used at your POS or using your smartphone and allow you to take payments. Examples are iZettle, Square, and PayPal. This option although on paper may look like a cheap alternative, but you can often end up paying through the nose for the privilege.

Regardless of what option you choose, one thing is for sure card payments and mobile payments are only set to increase, in fact it is predicted that non-cash payments in the UK will near £1.5 trillion by 2026.[2] So limiting your business to just accepting cash regardless of seasonality is likely to impact your ability to make sales.  If you are a seasonal business competition in your market is likely to be extremely high, so being able to differentiate yourself over your competitors is also important, taking card or mobile payments is one thing you can do to stay ahead of the game.

[1] Source: https://www.santandercb.co.uk/news/nearly-two-thirds-uk-businesses-impacted-seasonality

[2] http://www.fstech.co.uk/fst/Non_Cash_Payments_To_Hit_1.5_Trillion_By_2026.php?platform=hootsuite

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