Small Business Sales

Decide how you’ll accept payment when it’s time to make a sale.

Choose how you’ll accept payments

The kinds of payments you accept can impact your marketing and sales, as well as your bottom line. Accept forms of payments that are cost effective, secure, and provide a positive experience for your customers.

Credit Cards

To accept credit and debit cards, you’ll need either a merchant services account with a bank or an account with an independent payment processing company.

You’ll pay small processing fees for each credit or debit card transaction, plus costs for setting up any necessary equipment.

Accepting credit and debit cards exposes you to the risk of fraud, but most vendors provide a certain level of protection for your business. Make sure that you use an EMV chip reader, which will limit both fraud and your liability.


Checks

You only need a business bank account to accept checks.

You’ll want to create a policy for accepting checks to help you avoid bad or fraudulent checks. Standard practices include only taking checks from well-known or in-state banks, or requiring checks be only for the exact amount owed. You could also use a third party service to help verify the quality of the check.

If a check bounces, your options to get the final payment will vary depending on your location. Some states require businesses to mail a registered letter and allow a designated waiting period to lapse before further action is taken. To get payment for a bounced check, you could end up in small claims court or using a collection agency.


Cash

Many small businesses operate as “cash only” merchants because it’s fast, easy, and inexpensive.

If you accept cash, remember that large sums of cash can add to accounting time and come with an additional security risk. You’ll want a secure way to hold your cash, like a register and a safe.There are special reporting requirements for cash.

The IRS requires you to report if your business gets more than $10,000 in cash, or a cash equivalent, from one buyer as a result of a single transaction or two or more related transactions.


Online

If you sell your product or service online, you could accept payment through your website with an online payment service.

Online payment services typically accept credit and debit cards in addition to other popular online money transfer services. You’ll pay fees to in order to accept payments online, just like accepting credit cards in a physical location.

Online payment services require a virtual shopping cart to calculate the total, tax, and shipping costs of an order, in addition to collecting customer account and shipping information. Some online payment service providers offer free shopping cart services to businesses.