Physical commerce: what are the ways to collect payments?

The question of choosing payment solutions is one of the main concerns for those who operate in physical commerce. This concern is even more confusing for new businesses because there are several different solutions. The choice of payment methods accepted by a physical store is not trivial. This is indeed a decision that could have serious consequences on the customer experience and therefore on turnover. To help you make the most informed decision possible, we take a closer look at the most common payment solutions available today.

Get paid by credit card

According to a study carried out in 2023, the Bank card has become the most popular means of payment in Europe. Therefore, it is essential as a merchant to offer this payment method to your customers.
The customer can make the payment themselves by entering their card code. Le payment terminal electronic (TPE). This is a device that performs the necessary checks to validate the payment and credits your bank account. Depending on the specifics of your activity, you can opt for:

  • A fixed TPE;
  • A mobile TPE;
  • A TPE equipped with a GPRS chip;
  • An integrated TPE.

Le mobile tpe for example is intended for businesses where payment is not necessarily made at the checkout (like restaurants).


First of all, payment by credit card allows for quick collection. Because of the time you save them, this method contributes to the customer satisfaction and loyalty. For your part too, you waste less time during your transactions.

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You even have the possibility collect customer payments at different locations in the business thanks in particular to mobile TPEs. This solution allows you to have different collection zones to better collect payments when it is busy.

Payment by credit card offers more security to the merchant. The risk of unpaid bills, bad checks and counterfeit notes disappears completely. Also, since the transaction is recorded via the TPE, it is impossible for you to lose money or be robbed.

Finally, you will no longer have to wait days or weeks for receive funds from sales. The sales amount is debited from the customer's account and immediately credited to yours.

The inconvenients

The bank charges an amount each time a customer pays for their purchases by credit card. When we know that the bank card is the preferred method of customers, these transaction costs can sometimes seem significant, especially for small businesses. This is precisely the reason why Many merchants require a minimum amount for credit card payments to their customers.

This practice is legal, as long as you clearly display the information in your business. The only problem is that you may lose customers. Called interbank payment commission (CIP), these transaction fees are composed of a variable part at the banks' discretion and a fixed part provided for by legislation.

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Receive cash

It is also possible to receive your payments in cash. This very old method is still very widespread today, particularly in local stores. It can indeed be very practical for customers who do not have a credit card. There are also some who are not afraid to travel around town with cash. Therefore, it is in your best interest to offer this payment method, at the risk of losing customers..

It is interesting to note that the cash payments also have advantages for the merchant. In fact, this allows you to immediately have access to the amount and therefore to have better view of your cash flow. It should also be noted that there are no transaction fees in this collection method.

However, receiving cash also has some disadvantages. To fight against terrorism and money laundering, the legislator has set a threshold for cash payment. Customers who wish to pay for their purchases in cash will not be able to purchase for more than 1000 euros.

Another disadvantage linked to payment in cash is at the level of time required for collection. Handling cash can in fact lengthen the checkout process and create queues. Unfortunately, this is a huge disservice to the company, which can lose customers. Finally, there is the risk of fraud and theft which is never too far away in this method of collection.

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Receive a bank transfer

Although it is not very widespread, the bank transfer remains an important means of collection, particularly if you sell to professionals. In general, they only pay for their purchases by bank transfer. The merchant issues an invoice with his banking information then sends it to his client so that he can pay the amount.

With the bank transfer method, you will not have to pay transaction fees. This is a considerable advantage, because the sums that pass through this means are generally significant. It should also be noted that the spending limit is higher than that of the payment methods we saw previously. If you accept this payment method, your biggest customers will not hesitate to come to your business to buy.

However, with bank transfers, companies are exposed to risks of non-payments and late payments. The observation is real on the ground and this can unfortunately have negative impacts on the company's cash flow. Finally, bank transfer requires a more complex process for your customers. In addition, the fact that you have to follow up regularly to receive your payment can damage your relationship.

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