You don't have to accept credit cards online... but if you sell your own products, you'll sell a lot more if you do!
One of the main advantages of buying online is convenience. Why put a road block on the home straight of the convenience highway? Because that is exactly what you do when you force a customer to go off-line, find an envelope, address it, get a stamp, write a cheque (or even worse, buy a money order) and finally have to go and post the thing.
Poor fellow! And with a credit card in his pocket all the time!
It reminds me of my local bank when they extended their opening hours until 6pm every evening. It seemed like a great idea to me until I went at around 5.30pm one day. For what exactly I forget, but I remember what it wasn't to do. It wasn't to make a deposit – and that, I was informed, was all that could be done in the extended hours. What's the point? I can deposit at an ATM machine! Great idea, ruined through incomplete implementation.
The website of any business that doesn't accept credit card payments is just the same: A great idea, ruined through incomplete implementation.
Another big, BIG reason to offer the convenience of credit card payments online is that people buy on impulse. Not all the time in every situation, granted. But in most. And certainly enough to make it very important to you.
I'm sure you've heard (said, or thought) something like this more than once before, "I had to get it, it's got this... and can ..."
People like to think that we buy according to factual information, what the item costs, what it can do, etc., but in reality that's seldom the case. Purchases are generally based on our emotions, we use facts to justify the purchase to ourselves (and others!).
In addition, potential customers like the purchase protection safety net provided by credit card companies and for that reason are more likely to buy from you if they can use their credit card, compared to if they have to use a personal check or money order. Don't underestimate how many purchases are made with reassuring thoughts of, "I can always get my money back anyway," in the back of the mind.
Picture this scenario: I've read your great copy, you've successfully roused my emotions, I'm excited about your product ... I want to buy!
If all I need to do to get the object of my desire immediately winging it's way to me is type my credit card number and a few other details, I'll do it! But alas, you don't offer online ordering. Nevermind, I've made a note of the details and I'll sort it out later.
Unfortunately for you, later on my enthusiasm has begun to fade a little. I've started to cool down. I'm getting less and less excited the longer I'm away from your copy.
That evening I happen to mention it to my wife. She raises an innocent objection – you're not around to answer it. It crosses my mind that she could be right, and remembering her words about not being able to reverse the charge with a check, I decide to look at other alternatives first ...
You've lost a sale you had in the bag!
This is just one of hundreds of other possible scenarios that can lead to you loosing the sale you would have got, if only your website accepted credit card payments.