A Small Business' Plight In Whether Or Not We Should Accept Credit Cards

If you plan on reading this to help you make a decision whether or not your small business should accept credit cards, read no further, because we don’t know either. This blog post is to express our indecision whether or not the All-American Fencing Academy, as a small business, should accept credit cards.

Let's face it, I hate it when I go to a business that doesn't accept credit cards. I feel so inconvenienced. I mean, c'mon, how hard is it to take credit cards? It will only benefit you! But, as a small business owner, I'm still struggling with the "will it benefit me", as I am such a strong penny pincher. Yet still, the All-American Fencing Academy does not accept credit or debit cards as a form of payment.

Ok, first a little background about the All-American Fencing Academy if you aren't already familiar with us (Why would you be?) or if you haven't been following our accolades on Idea Café's blog. The All-American Fencing Academy provides instruction and training for the Olympic sport of fencing. We have beginner classes, intermediate classes and a regular membership.

In terms of income, the majority of our income comes from new class registrations or continuing memberships, and they all pretty much during the first week of the month, then we a get a few stragglers during the next coming weeks. Basically, we're not an impulse buy type of business. Our customers know they're going to be paying $70 during the first week of the month, and for the most part, they are prepared when they come in during the first week of the month. Sometimes they forget to bring a checkbook, and they pay us when we see them next week. All is good.

Our payment types include check, money, and occasionally, we get a money order, and those have worked for us for the past 2 years. It just involves a little side trip to the bank at least once a week or every other week to deposit money. It's not so bad unless you hit it right around lunch time when everyone in the world likes to bank.

Do our customers ask if we can take credit cards? Rarely. Has it ever come up before? Maybe once. Would customers use their credit card if they could, probably. It just makes it too easy for them.

So what's the problem? We're not cheerleading or karate, the All-American Fencing Academy doesn't have mobs of people beating down our door to learn fencing. Our customers are accustomed to paying by cash or check, and we find it difficult to see our parts of our income flitter away just because we don't want to drive to the bank...and most likely, we'd have to drive the bank anyway for the few that do pay with cash or check.

Yes, I know it's a minimal amount. But those extra few dollars can purchase new tips for our weapons.

Then we looked into SquareUp.com. I use an Android phone (an HTC Hero to be specific...Sprint and HTC, you can send me my check later). SquareUp.com provides a free card reader attachment for your Android phone and processes credit/debit cards transactions. Fee based, of course. It seems too easy for us.

Maybe we'll sign up for it (if I can find the space on my phone, I might have to uninstall Fruit Ninja). In the rare occasion that we sell t-shirts, we might use it. Or in the rare occasion that a person wants to pay with a credit/debit card for a tournament, it might come in handy. Nonetheless, for now, the All-American Fencing Academy will strictly be just cash or check. If we do get the option for using a credit/debit card, we probably won’t advertise it.

The last option which we haven’t thoroughly looked into is for regular members being able to sign up for monthly debits from their bank accounts for their regular membership (does anyone hear Tom Cruise from Jerry McGuire yelling “Show me the money!” yet?). Again, it does create an ease for us in collecting monthly membership fees, but again, it hasn’t been a problem collecting fees.

The other thing to keep in mind is that no other North Carolina fencing schools currently offer these options for their members. They all trudge through the bank lines with their handful of checks and $20 dollar bills just like the All-American Fencing Academy.

So there we are…no further than where I was when I began writing this blog post. I would love to hear from any other business that have decided not to use credit/debit card services. And if you can cite your sources correctly…extra credit.

About the author

Gerhard Guevarra is the owner of All-American Fencing Academy. With his impressive enthusiasm for teaching and training new and competitive fencers, he instantly grabbed the hearts of our regulars and won the 9th Idea Cafe Small Business Grant.


Gerhard, As you said, you are


As you said, you are not a Karate studio but I managed one for about 5 years with similar concerns about credit cards. Thought you might be interested in my experience.

I started talking with a friends husband who works for a credit card company who explained that people tend to spend more when they can use their credit card. About 15% do be more precise.

The bottom line is that once we decided to move forward we sold more equipment than ever before, upgraded a lot of memberships, doubled our class sizes and I was able to increase the income of the store by 150% in one year.

This guy was very helpful and did everything he said he would do e.g. cost plus pricing, no monthly minimums, no wireless or Internet fees, etc. You can email him if you like at [email protected]. Tell him Sandy from Ernie Reyes put you in touch.

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