With nearly 35 million active credit cards spending around 12 billion pounds each month in the UK, credit card payments offer UK businesses a crucial revenue opportunity.

Learn more about how to accept credit card payments and unlock new income sources to build your business with. Find out the various ways you can accept credit cards payments, including:

  • In-store with a card reader
  • Online with a website checkout page
  • With your business’ invoices
  • From all credit card providers

Whether you’re launching an exciting new business as a sole trader or limited company director, learn more about how you can build your business faster with credit card payments. We’ll also let you know how Countingup can help further below.

In-store with a card reader

If you run a brick and mortar business with a shopfront, you can accept debit and credit card payments with a card reader.

Card readers come in many forms and some new providers offer integrated card readers and POS (‘point of sale’ or till) devices so you can handle all sorts of payments in one. More modern card readers are available from suppliers like Square, Sumup and Zettle. These suppliers typically charge around 1.7%-1.9% per transaction on top of their upfront costs (sometimes as little as £20) and are popular with businesses who are looking for a trendier and sleeker design around their shop.

Cheaper suppliers like myPOS and Barclaycard charge around 1.1% per transaction and can save you lots of money across each transaction. Their reader devices are more traditionally designed and may be more familiar with all sorts of customer groups. These seemingly small elements can be important if you’d like customers to have a positive experience at your shop and return in future.

Most readers will accept cards from different suppliers, including Visa, Mastercard, Amex and Discover, and e-payment providers like Apple and Google Pay. Make sure to research any up-front cost and transaction fees your business will be charged along with what sort of customer experience you’d like to provide. 

Start accepting credit card payments by finding a provider you like and apply through their website.

Key things to consider

As you’re looking for a card reader for your shop, think about the following:

  • Is the design clear for customers to use? Can they enter their pin easily?
  • Do you have good reception for wireless card readers, or will you need a wired connection?
  • Would you like a card reader that fits the style and interior design of your shop?
  • What plans are offered by suppliers and are they good value for a business your size?
  • Does your reader allow both pin and contactless transactions?
  • Can you still provide receipts for customers?

Online with a website checkout page

If your business is in e-commerce and you run a website, you can accept debit and credit card payments at your checkout easily and often with little upfront cost. There are a number of ways of doing this, depending on which website platform you use. 

Larger providers like WordPress and Squarespace both offer payment systems through Stripe and PayPal, while Shopify and Wix integrate payment systems through their own platform. 

Each of these options lets you easily accept most credit card providers like Visa, Mastercard, Amex and Discover, and e-payment providers like Apple and Google Pay. Additionally, most platforms will only charge you for your transactions. Therefore, this can be a cheaper way to take credit card payments for your business as you avoid up-front device costs. Update your website using your site’s admin settings and add a payment option for credit cards.

If you used a freelance website designer, adding payment gateways for credit cards to your website may differ. Therefore, contact your web designer to discuss how to update your site to accept credit cards.

Key things to consider

  • Make sure to enable HTTPS/SSL on your website to handle payments securely.
  • Well-known payment platforms (like PayPal or Klarna) can help customers trust your website and convert more sales.

With your business’ invoices

If you invoice customers for work you’ve done, you can indicate various methods for how they can pay you, including via credit card payments.

To do this, you’ll still need either a card reader or e-commerce platform on your website to handle the payment. You can still include several payment method options on any invoices you provide so as to give your clients flexibility, which they may appreciate.

From all credit card providers

When looking to accept credit card payments, you may need to exclude certain card providers as their transaction fee cuts into your profits. 

Deciding which to include versus exclude can be a difficult task and should be informed by your market research on how you expect customers to pay with your business. A common example is American Express or Discover cards because they have a higher commission rate than Visa or Mastercard – charging around an extra third to merchants in processing fees. 

However, the per-purchase value of American Express credit cards was ranked higher than both Visa and Mastercard in 2019. Therefore, you could consider accepting these providers if it means higher-paying customers frequent your business more or you’re able to absorb the cut to your profits more easily. 

Track your payments more easily with Countingup

Countingup is the business current account and accounting software in one app. Thousands of business owners across the UK are using it to automate their financial admin and save time and stress around bookkeeping.

The Countingup app comes with automated invoicing features so you can share payment details with customers with ease. The app also has a receipt capture tool to track your own spending and help you make sure your financial records are always up to date and accurate.

Find out more here and sign up for free today.