• Half (49%) of small businesses accept credit and/or debit cards as a form of payment and
half (51%) do not. Credit cards pay for about five times as many small business goods and
services as do debit cards.
• An average of one in every three (33%) dollars in sales is paid by card among those small
businesses accepting cards.
• VISA is universally accepted by small businesses that take credit and/or debit cards and
MasterCard is taken almost as frequently (98%). American Express is accepted by 60
percent and Discover by 59 percent.
• Small business owners accepting cards pay an average fee of 2.3 percent of card sales for the
right to use VISA, 2.3 percent for MasterCard, 3.2 percent for American Express, and 2.5
percent for Discover. Small business owners shop frequently to minimize the fee they pay
and often switch processors of their credit card receipts.
• Fourteen (14) percent of small businesses accepting cards give cash discounts; 29 percent
would charge a fee to card-holders on transactions paid by credit card if their contract
allowed them to do so; 13 percent have a minimum purchase on credit card sales.
• Disputes between small business owners and credit card companies or banks regarding some
aspect of accepting cards as a form of payment are uncommon. Four percent experienced
such a dispute in the last 12 months. Still, twice that number (8%) over the same time
frame incurred a “hidden penalty” for violating a portion of their contract of which they
• Virtually all small businesses (97%) have someone who reconciles their credit card receipts
with the records of the bank or credit card receipt services provider. Owner/managers (35%)
and employees (36%) are the individuals most likely to perform the reconciliation. Reconciliation
is important as 14 percent found mistakes made by the bank or services provider
in the last 12 months.
• Seventy-four (74) percent of small employers have a business credit card(s) and a nonmutually
exclusive 39 percent use a personal credit card(s) for business purposes. These
data indicate a rapid rise in the number possessing the former and a moderate decline in the
number using the latter. Seventeen (17) percent do not use cards for business purposes.
• Sixty-two (62) percent of small employers have a line of credit, a source of credit sharply
distinguished from credit available on credit cards. The use of lines has also risen rapidly
over the last five years. There is no evidence that cards are substituting for lines.
• Small business owners, as credit card consumers, in the last 12 months often experienced
abusive practices by the industry. For example, 14 percent did not receive credit for
payments until well after the payment cleared and 11 percent were charged overdraft fees
when the overdrafts were the exclusive result of bank holds.