I’ve seen a lot lately about Bitcoin. To be clear, before I start… I think Bitcoin is an amazing phenomenon, amazing technology, and will probably end up being a historically significant failed first step at a truly digital currency and serve as a beginner’s blueprint for future governments (or other organisations whose primary function is the application of force).
Now… onto the nonsense.
Claim: Bitcoin could help small and large businesses save TONS of money on credit card fees!!! It’s nearly free!
The “transaction cost” of a credit card transaction is damn near zero. Do you REALLY think it takes Amex or Visa a lot of effort to say “OK subtract $US40.56 from this guy and credit $US40.56 to this guy”?
Of course not. The transaction is already digital. The currency is already digital. There is no cost. Don’t believe me… open a Venmo account and pay me $US5. I’ll send you $US5 back and it won’t cost either of us a dime.
This is digital debit/credit without the overhead of miners having to verify the work.
OK then Andy… if the transaction doesn’t cost CC companies anything, then why am I paying 1.9%+.25 to accept a credit card??
Because it ain’t about YOU, son. You see, you’ve flipped things all upside down. This is about your customer…who also happens to be American Express’s customer.
To prove this is simple: When is the last time you heard someone say “please pay me with credit card rather than cash?” Right — never.
Now… when is the last time you heard someone say “do you accept Amex?” Probably every single day if you’re a successful small business.
CC companies do ALL of these things for your customer that Bitcoin does NOT :
1. Allow your customer to pay you with debt. Note: This is extremely beneficial to you as well, as it makes your goods a multiple more affordable without YOU becoming a creditor to each customer. Think about that.
2. Provide your customer with an INSANE level of highly sophisticated fraud prevention and recovery that makes your customer more likely to purchase from little old unknown YOU.
3. Rewards your customer for using their payment method. Bitcoin bonus points that let me go to Paris next year might be in the future, but they won’t come free.
Credit cards make your customers happy. THAT is why they win, and you pay them to participate.