Small businesses have a lot on their plates. Considerations like effective payment processing software can fall by the wayside when there are immediately pressing matters to deal with. However, ignoring the need for a secure and effective channel for processing credit and debit card payments can result in a number of negative consequences, including lower revenue and lost business.

Tapping into growing consumer sentiment

An article in local Massachusetts paper The Salem News tapped into a nationwide issue: The slow progression of smaller businesses toward accepting payments via credit and debit card. While it's hard to properly count all the businesses across the country that don't take cards and other, newer forms of payment, there are still many merchants that have never accepted credit cards or had a single bad experience and haven't gone back.

"Businesses have to reassess their position on credit and debit card payments."

Why is that a problem for business owners? Because they miss out on a significant amount of sales. The cost of not accepting these payments was $100 million in 2012, according to Intuit, and overall consumer preference for card payments overall has only grown since then. While many smaller companies have made strides in terms of their payment processing choices, a lack of these tools still has a significant impact on the vast majority of such enterprises.

Cash won't go away completely anytime soon, but it's no longer the most popular method of payment. Consumers of all ages are moving toward credit and debit cards, and that trend isn't likely to reverse in the future. As that slow but steady change continues to occur, businesses have to reassess their position on credit and debit card payments.

One of the most significant factors for such companies in the past was the cost associated with processing these payments. While there is still a financial obligation associated with maintaining these systems, costs have generally gone down as the market for credit card processing has diversified and grown overall. A decision that might not have made sense 10 or 15 years ago could easily be much more attractive at this point, especially when consumer preferences for credit and debit cards are taken into account.

As more and more consumers look to pay with cards instead of cash, many businesses can't afford to avoid the issue any longer.