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Wednesday 28 September 2016
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We don’t have the facility to take credit or debit cards but we know plastic is more convenient for many people. What are the disadvantages and costs if we introduced this payment option?

Question in full:

We are a practice that still gets paid by cheque from patients for things like reports and travel services; we don’t have the facility to take credit or debit cards. We know cheques will be phased out in the future and plastic is more convenient for many people, but what would the disadvantages and costs to the practice be if we introduced this payment option?

A: The simple answer is that the machines that allow you to accept card payments bring with them a rental fee, usually around the £20/25 per month, and each transaction also attracts a charge – rough guides are 30-40p for debit cards and 3-4% of the transaction value on credit cards. Some businesses set a minimum level for accepting card payments to counteract the cost – and this can also encourage greater spending – although this may not be applicable to your business.

However, one distinct benefit worth mentioning is that payments are sent directly to your account each night, saving staff time in going to the bank, and will be immediate 'cleared' funds, allowing you to maximise any return on balances you hold.