Success in small business today often requires that you cater to consumers’ emerging preferences. There are now a host of electronic payment options designed to make point-of-sale (POS) transactions simpler. Cash, checks, and credit or debit cards no longer represent the full range of payment choices. The new marketplace includes tap-to-pay technology, mobile wallets, and even digital currencies.

Small business owners have a lot to consider, and knowing which flexible payment options work best may seem daunting. No matter your business type, there are several technologies and strategies to optimize the POS experience.

Understand Which Payment Options Fit Best

There are table stakes when it comes to accommodating customers. While there are fees associated with accepting credit and debit cards, today’s economy is becoming increasingly cashless. According to the Federal Reserve’s 2023 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice, consumers are increasingly opting for credit cards for purchase.[1] But you might also explore other payment solutions and technologies that can help boost sales and maybe even broaden your target market.

1. Digital Wallets

Keeping up with transaction technology can help improve customer satisfaction and potentially lead to more revenue, all while reducing operating costs. Digital wallets, like Paze, have emerged as a here-to-stay payment method. The security of linking a credit card or bank account to an individual’s smartphone might now have appeal to customers. Of course, you must know your customers. Gauging how they prefer to pay could be a practical first step to determine if adding mobile payment technologies makes sense.

2. Bill Pay or ACH

Some small businesses, such as those providing contract services, offer Bill Pay or payments initiated through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network. For on-the-go consumers, bypassing check-writing can be a significant benefit, not to mention the added security benefits. Recurring payments through ACH could be another upside that can potentially reduce follow-up tasks on past-due invoices.

3. Payment Plans

Installment pay plans are growing in popularity. PNC's Flex Pay option could be right for your small business if you cater to consumers who live paycheck to paycheck or if your products or services tend to be high-priced. Another tip? Consider tailored payment plans for fellow small business owners.

4. Create an Online Storefront and Portal

Integrating flexible payment methods is perhaps best done online. Empowering customers with a range of options from the comfort of their computer or smartphone via an online storefront could be a win. Along with setting up and maintaining a portal, running a company website can help create visibility for your business and expand your reach for potential customers. If you’re looking to grow your business, investing in a transactional website and establishing electronic payment options could be your best next move. Another thing – if you do business internationally, consider implementing cross-border transaction functionality.

5. Streamline Invoices

Making life easier for customers and vendors means automating whenever possible. Technology around invoicing can facilitate optimal operations, reduce processing costs, lessen the need for worker hours, and improve accuracy.

PNC is Here to Help You Meet Your Business Needs

Meeting consumers where they are may help drive higher sales and improve customer loyalty. Integrating flexible payment options securely can elevate your service offering and take your small business to the next level.