Electronic payments such as credit cards, debit cards and PayPal are outnumbering check payments in the US. Debit cards, counted the highest non-cash transactions, at 37.9 billion payments, while checks dropped significantly to 27.5 billion written in 2009. This is according to a short article in Financial Services Technology.
This all sounds great for businesses, since electronic payments are so much easier to handle, receive and reconcile than checks. But electronic payments come at a cost. 2.9% of the transaction is what a small vendor will pay for merchant processing. Despite the efficiencies involved, this is a big chunk of change, especially if you are dealing in a small number of high value transactions.
As check usage continues to plummet, and customers start to demand electronic payments from even small vendors, it seems that all the benefits sit with the consumer and the middle man processing the electronic payments. Eeking every efficiency possible out of the use of the electronic payment system is perhaps the only way that small vendors will be able to make up the gap. Process improvement in Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable become essential areas to focus, especially as the paperwork burden to manage a 1099 for every vendor receiving over $600 in transactions in a year could come into effect.
If small businesses have recommendations of how they receive and pay for large transaction goods and services electronically, please leave a comment.
A post from the Improving It blog
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