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How can I accept a credit card payment? The small business owner’s guide

It’s no secret here at Small Business Heroes HQ that we’re really into taking card. You can make bigger sales, keep your customers happy, and sell products from anywhere – what’s not to love?

“But how can I accept a credit card payment?” we can hear small business owners from all over the UK asking. “Isn’t it for big businesses? Isn’t it really complicated?”

But the answer is a resounding NOPE! Thanks to that brilliant thing called technology, the credit card processing business is one that’s open to anyone – whether you’re working from the back of a van, a spare room, or a high street shop front, there’s a solution for everyone. Such joy!

Why is business credit card processing so brilliant?

  • People spend more on cards: Impulse purchases, buying more than one thing, treating yourself – when you have a card, you’re not limited by the money in your pocket. So you’ll make more money – win!
  • It’s much more convenient: Think about the last time you were told by a shop owner that you’d have to pay by cash – did you tell them to wait, go and find a cash machine, stand waiting in the cold for your turn, return and purchase? Or did you leave the shop and go elsewhere? Don’t lose customers…
  • You don’t look like an amateur: Being unable to receive payment by credit card doesn’t add to your air of professionalism – let’s face it.
  • It’s safer: Holding lots of cash is risky, putting both your money and your staff in danger by making your business a target for thieves.

Which option is best for me?

When it comes to the world of credit card processing, you’re spoilt for choice.

I work from a stall, a vehicle, a pop-up venue, or I sell my product on the move

Your best credit card payment processor option is a mobile card machine that you can take anywhere. They’re pretty amazing, really – all you need is mobile phone coverage, a piece of hardware and a smartphone, and you can receive payment by credit card pretty much anywhere. You can accept credit card payments on Android, iOS, and more.

I own a cafe, restaurant or bar

You could go for a traditional counter-top card payment machine – or you could go for a portable card payment machine, which uses Bluetooth and allows waiters and staff to take the payment terminal from table to table.

I just want the no-frills version, darnit!

If you’re working from one location, then the traditional desktop card machine is quick and easy to get set up. Perfect for small retail businesses!

My business is online

If your business is online, then obviously you won’t be needing a standard card machine. You’ll need a payment gateway (or ‘online portal’) instead, meaning your customers can pay by card from the comfort of their own homes.

Is it expensive?

These are some of the costs you can expect to pay – you’ll be surprised at how affordable it actually is.

  • Terminal rental – usually around £15-20 a month
  • Joining fees – this covers installation, setting up, and generally getting it all running
  • Merchant service charge (MSC). This is a small percentage of every transaction (not more than 5%) that goes to the acquirer. You can help lessen this cost by setting a minimum transaction cost.

I want to get started!

We’ve got a really brilliant credit card merchant service deal going on – why not give it a go?