Mike Igoe Retail director, PayPoint
Says: Retailers with no current credit/debit card solution, or those who already have a provider but are not sure if it is the best solution, should carefully consider the place for cashless payment systems in their business.
HIM studies have shown that transactions using a debit or credit card are on average 84% higher than those where cash is used. Therefore, for many retailers, there can be a real benefit.
Traditionally, retailers are charged a percentage of the transaction value with credit cards and a fixed fee amount for debit cards. These rates often vary according to turnover, so it should be made clear to the retailer what the range could be. Retailers should not just be seduced by the lowest rate charge per transaction.
Another area to consider is the number of pieces of kit required, counter space and accessibility of the chip and PIN pad to all customers. Retailers should also find out if low rates are linked to achieving monthly targets, whether there is a rental charge for the equipment, and if so how much, whether paper consumables are included in the rental cost and if there is a yearly charge for polling.
Paul Charmatz Deputy managing director, Payzone
Says: Retailers make about 9p from selling a newspaper - it's a low-margin item that brings customers into the shop. Cash acceptance networks such as Payzone provide the same pull factor with better margins. For example, we offer retailers 45p per mobile phone transaction.
Customers can also pay utility bills and rent, buy transport tickets and gift cards and a host of other services through Payzone - giving retailers many reasons to get people into the store. Customers paying bills tend to use the same store for each transaction, so Payzone helps to build loyalty too.
Normal debit/credit card terminals (EFT) tend to cost about £15 per month, but many Payzone retailers give these up and just use a Payzone terminal, which offers all the services of an EFT platform and all our revenue-generating services as well.
Three tips for choosing a cash acceptance network: make sure you get all the cashflow benefits available; don't get forced into signing an exclusivity agreement or long notice period with one terminal provider; and try different networks to suit your customers' needs.
Kishor Patel Independent retailer, Houghton Trading
Says: Card payment technology is growing fast and retailers should make sure they keep abreast of it rather than playing catch-up.
An integrated Epos system is crucial to any business - not just for stores with turnovers of £10,000-£15,000 a week. Card payments attract extra customers and, where these are available, retailers should make sure that transactions are smooth and long queues do not form at checkouts.
If retailers use an analogue system, they should add extra telephone lines in-store. This is not a huge expense but it will speed up transactions. Broadband will make the process even quicker. My customers used to have to pay for services such as the lottery or PayPoint at separate tills, but they can now pay for everything on one card at the same till.
Retailers need to make transactions as easy as possible. Shoppers are used to paying for everything on one card at the supermarket and will expect the same in a c- store. Not allowing customers to pay for different services on the same card, or setting a minimum charge for credit card payments, will alienate customers and they won't return.