• David Manes

Cash is king: accepting cash at your small business

There are three primary ways in which a small business can get paid: cash, credit cards and checks. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages and that is what we are here to discuss today: the pros and cons of each.

We will start with the old king of currency: cold hard cash. Dollar bills are universal symbols of wealth and prosperity, but more and more small businesses are deciding not to accept cash. We will look at the good and bad of accepting cash and hopefully have you feeling comfortable about accepting good old dollar bills as a part of your small business.

The Good: Why you should accept cash

  1. Cash payments, unlike credit cards, ensure that you receive your money immediately. There are no waiting periods and no worries about not getting paid if the credit card is bad. Once the cash is in your hands, you are compensated.

  2. There is limited risk of fraud with cash. Yes, it is possible to create fake bills, and some criminal is out there figuring out how to do it, but compared to credit card fraud, the risk is miniscule. Identity theft and credit card fraud is a booming business for criminals. Accepting cash can help you to protect yourself from these crimes.

  3. No third party fees or fees associated with credit card options. You do not have to pay someone to accept cash. Credit card usage comes with fees and third party business deals. The simplicity of accepting cash can save you money.

  4. Accepting cash involves less bookkeeping. Less stress and less hassle in counting your dollars. Add it up and you are good to go. This can save you costs when it comes to bookkeeping and accounting.

The Bad: the downside of accepting cash

  1. Lots of people only use credit cards now. If you don’t accept credit cards you will miss out on business, as people without cash will turn away.

  2. Keeping large amounts of cash at your business can create a security risk. Cash is easier to physically steal than paper or credit payments. You may have to spend extra money to protect the cash.

  3. The IRS requires you to file a Form 8300 if you receive a payment of more than $10,000 in cash. Although these payments are rare, if you are operating a business with high priced items you may prefer a credit card transaction to save yourself the hassle.

Conclusion

Cash is still an easy, simple way to accept payment for something. It can save you costs in many different ways and it helps limit your exposure to credit card fraud.  A varied approach is probably best, so keep an open mind towards cash, credit cards and checks and make your small business a success.[1]



[1] Accepting Cash Only, Managing Business Finances and Accounting, SBA.gov, Small Business Administration (2014), http://www.sba.gov/content/accepting-cash-only

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