For Many Small-Business Owners, a Necessary Shift to Digital Payments

on Jul14
by | Comments Off on For Many Small-Business Owners, a Necessary Shift to Digital Payments |

“Making It Work” is a series about small-business owners striving to endure hard times.


When Egypt Otis opened her business, Comma Bookstore and Social Hub, three years ago in Flint, Mich., the pandemic was full blown. But her neighbors welcomed the literature and art she sold in her store that celebrated people of color, as well as the community programs she hosted.

Despite the warm reception, Ms. Otis quickly found that she had a sales problem: Her customers wanted to pay with their cellphones.

“I realized that people were hardly keeping a wallet or a physical card, which limited my ability to sell and make money,” Ms. Otis said. So she upgraded her transactions platform to include tap-and-go purchases on mobile devices. “People are not carrying cash,” she said. “It’s becoming obsolete.”

Even so, customer demand prompted her to return to cash sales, which Ms. Romero said are holding steady at about 11 percent of her overall revenue. She said she would go cashless if the share dipped below 10 percent.



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