Since Congress passed the Check Clearing for the 21st Century Act in 2003, the payment system within the United States has undergone a dramatic shift. Today, the use of paper checks and cash continues to decline, while credit and debit card payments are rapidly growing in popularity.

In fact, a study released by The Nielsen Report shows that credit card usage is up 48% from 2010, and debit cards are also up by 46%. Meanwhile, cash usage is down 7% overall, and paper check usage is down 34% since 2010.

In other words, plastic is on the rise, while paper payments are becoming less and less popular. As the world continues to evolve, it’s more evident that businesses need to start accepting credit cards as a form of payment.

If you’re on the fence about accepting credit cards, here are four reasons why your business should start today.

1. Accepting Credit Cards Can Boost Sales

It’s been proven repeatedly that consumers tend to spend more on purchases when using plastic than they would when paying with cash. A study by Dun & Bradstreet found that individuals spend an average of 12%-18% more when using a credit card.

Not only could accepting credit cards boost sales and have a significant increase in your bottom line, it could encourage customers to make more impulse buys.

2. Accepting Credit Cards Can Greatly Improve Cash Flow

One of the main problems for small businesses can be cash flow. Getting paid quickly and on-time is often a big issue. However, since credit card transactions are processed digitally, the funds are deposited into your business bank account much more efficiently.

Accepting credit cards means no more chasing down payments, and no more time spent waiting for checks to clear or for customers to pay their bills. That means credit cards can greatly improve your business's cash flow.

3. Accepting Credit Cards Can Lead to a Higher Level of Trust

When a customer sees the display of popular credit card logos on a business's front door or website, they often associate these with trusted financial companies. This means that they will, in turn, trust your business more for accepting these form of payment.

A cash-only business can seem sketchy to consumers these days. On the flip side, most Americans carry one or more of these well-known credit card logos in their wallet. This automatically breeds trust for the merchant and the business who accepts them.

4. Accepting Credit Cards Can Mean More Customers

In this age of technology, it’s no secret that consumers love convenience. The more convenient something is, the more likely they are to choose that option. Accepting credit cards will ensure that your customers receive fast service with the utmost convenience. They’ll be able to pay for their purchases immediately with a simple swipe of plastic.

Getting set up to accept credit cards is fast and easy. Plus, processing credit card transactions is a relatively minor business expense. So, there's no reason to wait! Take steps to get started today, and you’ll be reaping the above rewards quickly.