In years past, people typically carried more cash with them than today’s generations do. This is not the result of a change in the distribution of wealth, so much as it is a paradigm shift in how consumers go about making purchases.

Credit and debit cards made life easier for so many who were tired of having to carry around wallets or purses overstuffed with cash so they would have enough to make planned and spontaneous purchases. Counting out bills and coins everywhere you go, and trying to make exact change can be a nuisance.

So, it is no wonder that, according to payment industry trade publication The Nilson Report, card transactions are expected to see a significant five-year growth trend between 2011 and 2016. By the end of that five years, it is estimated that the combined number of in-person and online transactions using debit or credit cards will hit 238.99 billion. That is a 89.31 billion increase from 2011.

As this growth continues, merchants will be looking for ways to accommodate different types of card options in order to pull in business from as many consumers as possible. But, they will also be on the lookout for ways to avoid losing out on profits thanks to processing fees.

Enter flexible payment processing software. With the right solution, companies can streamline their POS operations to be more efficient and customer-friendly, while at the same time enjoying the versatility of being able to work with any bank, card company or Independent Sales Organizations. So if the fees become too costly with one provider, merchants have the option of switching to a different vendor without having to swap out their POS system or get hit with a barrage of hidden charges.