A quick reference tool to help lessen the stress in finding the best credit card processing solution for your business

One mission-critical part of establishing a new business is opening a business bank account, which of course, enables a new venture to take payments. In the process of opening that account, many new business owners choose the path of least resistance and agree to use a payment processing service that is easily available, but not necessarily that offers the most competitive payment processing rates and fees, or products and services aligned with the needs of the business.  

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New Business Owners, Are You Having Fun Yet?

May 28, 2018

A quick reference tool to help lessen the stress in finding the best credit card processing solution for your business

One mission-critical part of establishing a new business is opening a business bank account, which of course, enables a new venture to take payments. In the process of opening that account, many new business owners choose the path of least resistance and agree to use a payment processing service that is easily available, but not necessarily that offers the most competitive payment processing rates and fees, or products and services aligned with the needs of the business.

Naturally, collecting payments is a vital part of any business, and new business owners should make sure they are meeting the needs and expectations of their customers. Accepting credit cards is a common expectation of many consumers; fortunately, the benefits of taking credit cards are pretty compelling. Taking cards can widen your customer base and also encourage impulse buying.

Do your research and comparison shopping before choosing a provider. A good place to start is to ask fellow business owners about who they use, and whether or not they recommend their processor.

Once you’ve gone through the recommendations and reviews of other business owners, it's a good idea to look at established companies that have been around for a while. Larger companies with long histories have not only stood the test of time, but can typically offer more products and services, not to mention state-of-the-art technology and lower fees, the latter thanks to their greater industry buying power.

Another important consideration is whether or not a prospective processor understands your business. It may be helpful to know whether the prospective processor has extensive experience servicing businesses that are similar to yours. If you’re a member of a business or professional association that recommends or endorses a particular payment processing provider, that relationship may provide benefits--in the form of lower rates, for example--that might not otherwise be available to you.

Rates and fees

Naturally, rates and fees are another important consideration--the single most important consideration for some business owners. Discuss the details of the rates and fees before choosing a prospective provider. Beware of any provider who offers ‘too good to be true’ processing rates (rates that may be valid for only a short time period, or apply only to a very narrow band of transactions). You may also encounter your share of “free” offers when you are doing your research, such as offers of a “free merchant account” or “free terminal” or “free processing.” Remember that “free” doesn't always mean free. Even if there is no charge for a product or service on your statement, it may not be truly free. The cost may have been folded into another charge, or other charges may have been bumped up a notch to make up for the so-called ‘free’ item.” Beware of these “junk fees” that include charges such as file fee, security fee, audit fee, conversion fee, over-limit fee, excessive transaction fees and bill back fees. If any of these appear in a contract, ask that they be removed or they will show up on your bill.

Customer service and support and security

One other major consideration when choosing a processor is the availability and quality of customer support. Is customer support available by phone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year? If not, that’s a red flag. Your online customers are shopping at all hours and your customer support should be standing by.

Also, is the customer support U.S.-based? You don't want to be calling overseas to a customer support center that has no familiarity with your business, clients or geography. Unpredictable things happen in business, and you want to be able to address any issues or quirky problems as quickly and seamlessly as possible.

One last thing you’ll want to think about is the overall resources of the provider. For instance, can a prospective processor provide you with products and services that offer the latest in payment processing technology? Innovations in the payments industry are going to come rapidly in the next few years; you'll soon be hearing more about innovations in biometrics and innovations at the point-of-sale for example.

By using the information in this quick reference tool, you can ensure you not only have the information to interview potential processors, you might even have fun while researching for the right processor to meet your needs.

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