Additionally, merchant service accounts keep records of your transactions, allowing you to maintain your books more accurately without continually putting pen to paper for manual reconciliation. Not only will this make it easier for you to understand the financial health of your business, but it will also make your accountant happy come tax time.
Are Credit Card Payments Safe?
By offering credit card services, you’re ensuring the security of your customer’s financial data. Although some risk is involved with any purchase, credit card and other electronic payment forms are more secure than traditional paper checks or cash. However, with the increased use of electronic payments, such as credit and debit cards, businesses need to guard continually against potential fraud or theft.
For any business that handles or processes credit card information, they must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). The PCI DSS was created by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC), which was launched by the major credit card providers, including Mastercard, Visa, American Express, and Discover. By complying with national security standards and selecting a reputable merchant services provider, businesses can assure their customers that keeping payment information safe is a top priority.
What Type of Payment Options Should I Offer?
Understanding what payment options to offer will differ for each business. For example, if you run an online store, you may want to include Apple Pay or PayPal in your store, in addition to credit and debit cards, for one-click shopping. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, you may want to offer the ability to pay with credit cards, debit cards, and NFC contactless payments, allowing customers the flexibility when they purchase. But, before you make this decision, you need to do a bit of research first.
Before you decide what payment options to offer, you need to price setup, processing, and monthly fees. Not all vendors have the same costs. You should explore the setup costs of a new system along with the ongoing costs.
Make sure you explore the benefits you receive for your money spent before you purchase. For example, some merchant services offer more in depth customer reporting, allowing you to integrate customer payments, sales data, inventory data, and more. Moreover, some systems tie into your accounting software, such as Quickbooks, allowing you seamless integration of your financial information.
In making your decision, you should consider offering traditional magnetic stripe cards and chip cards, often called EMV cards. EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard, and Visa, the three companies that began the standard for chip cards. With all cards eventually transferring over to chip technology, this is a form of payment you’ll want to consider.
Further, depending on your customer base, you may want to offer other forms of payment, including NFCand electronic wallets such as Chase Pay or Apple Pay. With younger generations, these types of payments are popular. For example, half of Millennials prefer to pay using their smartphone than using cash. Since Millennials are responsible for over $600 million in annual spending, businesses should take catering to this generation seriously.
How do I choose a merchant services provider?
With so many merchant services providers, business owners may feel overwhelmed when choosing a processor. From banks to credit unions to independent companies providing merchant services, where do you turn to first?
When choosing a merchant services provider, here are some topics to consider:
- Consider how you’ll use the system. Do you need a counter-top checkout system for your brick-and-mortar business or an online store?
- Learn how long it takes before the system becomes operational? Additionally, determine what is involved in the setup of the equipment.
- Examine the payment options offered and the fees associated, as discussed above. Make sure you understand what you’re getting for your money. Determine if you can rent the equipment or purchase it. One over the other may make more sense for your business.
- Understand the features of the system. For example, does it integrate with your accounting system? What other features are offered that will benefit the growth of your business?
- Confirm the provider’s industry experience. Check out reviews of the company and learn more about their position in the market.
- Does the vendor offer payment options tailored to your industry? For example, payment in a restaurant differs from that in a high-end boutique. Make sure the merchant service can support your company.
- Confirm that all security measures are met, including those required by the PCI DSS. Understand how security measures are managed and updated, so that your system is current on security requirements and compliance.
- Finally, determine the contract terms. Do you get locked into a long-term contract? Are there penalties if you terminate the service early? Understanding the business relationship is just as critical as the features provided.
At North American Bancard, we can help guide you through the setup of a new merchant processing service. Our credit card processing equipment is PCI-compliant. We offer low processing fees and don’t require long-term contracts. We help make it easy to provide your customers with the online frictionless transactions that they’ve come to expect. Further, we integrate our point of sale systems with accounting software, like QuickBooks, allowing you to save both time and money while gaining valuable insight into your business.
Whether you’re looking for in-store credit card payments or online payments, we have the technology you need to accept payments in the modern world. We’ll help you tailor your payment processing to your specific business while following the PCI-compliance steps, giving you peace of mind. To set up a consultation, contact us here or give us a call at 877.840.1952.