While it wasn’t too long ago that everyone paid with cash or personal check, credit cards are now the easiest way to make a purchase. Many people even prefer to use them over any other payment method. As a business owner, it’s important that you work with a merchant service provider so that you can accept credit cards.
Unfortunately for some businesses, accepting credit cards is not easy. In order to start taking credit card payments, you will need a merchant account. A cbd merchant account is provided to you by your credit card processor so that you can deposit funds from cleared transactions and pay the various fees and charges that you incur.
What to Look For in a Merchant Service Provider
Why You Need a Merchant Service Provider
High Risk merchant account services also include associated products and services that you’ll need in order to accept credit cards, like credit card terminals, mobile credit card readers, POS systems, and more.
Finding the right merchant service provider can be difficult. You don’t want to get stuck in the trap of opting for a provider with the lowest processing rates. Far from saving you money, this can actually end up costing you more in the long run if your credit card payments fail or are compromised.
It’s also important to note that not all merchant account providers offer the same services. While you will still be able to process credit card transactions, you may not get certain features with all providers.
The lack of features of a non-full service account can result in many problems, from frozen accounts to poor customer service. To avoid problems down the line, here’s what you should look for in a merchant service provider. Learn more about High Risk gateways.
Hardware That Meets Your Needs
Depending on the type of business you run, you’ll need equipment to process your sales. Even if you operate purely in the eCommerce space, you’ll still need some hardware, even if you’re just working with your own laptop.
For brick-and-mortar businesses, your hardware will need to be more extensive. You’ll need equipment that can read your customers’ credit card information and then send it to your processor for approval.
There are tons of options for reading credit cards, including the traditional wired credit card terminal and wireless terminals and mobile processing systems that combine smartphones with a basic card reader.
Wired credit card terminals are the most commonly used in retail settings because they offer a number of benefits. They are regarded as the most reliable option since you won’t have to worry about your wireless internet connection going down and leaving you unable to process cards and complete a sale. Wired terminals are also better at supporting new features like EMV credit cards and contactless payments.
Luckily, wired terminals are incredibly affordable, and you can buy them outright instead of leasing them from a merchant account provider, which can save you tons of money.
The Right Software
Tracking your sales is a necessity. Your merchant account should be able to track and store your account data digitally. Cloud-based systems make this possible, and data is available anywhere from any internet-enabled device. Both brick and mortar and eCommerce businesses need the appropriate software to take advantage of these time-saving capabilities.
If your business has a physical location and you don’t make sales online, then your needs will be simple. You’ll want to consider a virtual terminal, which is a software program or web service that lets you process credit cards on your computer with a USB card swiper. While it’s not the most mobile solution available, it still allows you to process card transactions and access sales data.
For online sales, you’ll need a payment gateway as a part of your merchant account. These gateways allow customers to enter their credit card information remotely; they essentially connect customers to the merchant account provider that processes each transaction. Most providers will provide you with a payment gateway as part of their services.
An online shopping cart allows customers of eCommerce businesses to select items and finish checking out. These shopping carts integrate into the website.
Merchant accounts can be expensive if you choose the wrong one. In addition to processing rates that you’ll pay for each transaction, your account provider will charge you other fees, including monthly and annual fees for maintaining your account. For a new business, these fees can quickly become expensive.
You’ll never find a free merchant account, however. Merchant account providers must make a profit to stay in business, just like you. They have to charge reasonable fees. When you’re looking for a merchant account provider, check for a fee structure that’s both reasonable and transparent.
Fees on par with the industry average may not necessarily be considered reasonable, and you may still find tons of additional fees. A reasonable fee is one where the provider offers tons of value-added services in exchange for their fee.
The fees should be laid out for you and completely transparent. Your merchant account provider should fully disclose these fees before you sign any legally binding agreements.
Fair Processing Rates
The processing rate is the percentage of a transaction that you pay the merchant services provider in exchange for them facilitating the transaction. These rates can be difficult to understand.
Fees must be paid to the credit card association and the bank that issued the card as well, which are all a part of the processing fee you are charged by your merchant account provider.
Quality Customer Support
Your merchant service provider should provide your business with quality support long after you’ve signed the contract. Online payments are not a perfect process. If something goes wrong – and it most likely will – it’s important that your merchant account provider is available to help you when you need it most.
For minor issues, you should have options available to serve yourself, including extensive FAQs and maybe even forums where other businesses can answer each other’s questions. These can be incredibly valuable during non-business hours.
You should also ensure that they offer support via telephone and email. They may also provide chat through their website, which means they can be available for you any time of day.