Have you ever been faced with a situation in which you needed to trust the opinion of the company providing a service when you weren’t entirely sure about the price? For instance, mechanics quoting repairs, electricians estimating jobs and contractors appraising a price to build your new home? Obtaining a merchant account for your small business is similar to these scenarios; the credit card industry is complex, and many vendors use information to their advantage against unsuspecting customers. However, there are ways that you can successfully choose the best merchant account for your small business while protecting yourself and your company.
Find a Good Fit
It is often in your best interest to do your research. Sometimes, merchants may make hasty decisions based on the often misleading advertising fees. Even if you have previous payment experience, there are many unknowns that could cause issues for your business in the future.
In order for your business to accept credit cards, you will need to find a payment gateway and a merchant account. The account, separate from a bank account, requires an underwriting process to grant you approval. The payment gateway is the system that communicates payments to the financial provider of the credit card you accept. You may also need remote credit card storage, recurring billing and other solutions for Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance. Whether or not your company needs these services is up to you; check for bundles or package deals depending on your needs.
Get the Truth
Once you have a small list of providers, you must take a look at the price. Do your best to get the truth; press vendors to inform you of all of the fees associated with the account including chargebacks, minimums and annual fees, rates for international, business and rewards cards and PCI compliance.
Make sure you get a complete list of each fee they charge and when you will be charged so that there are no surprises down the road. You should avoid choosing a vendor based solely on price; oftentimes, those who offer the cheapest rates will not provide adequate services. While price should be a factor in helping you to make a decision, you should not choose a merchant provider based on cost alone.
Look for Customer Service
Many small business owners look for exceptional customer service if they know they will be working with a provider in the long run. Getting your money on time and being able to accept payments is a vital part of your business; you will want to work with a vendor that provides human support from people who care about your situation and who can help you throughout the various situations in which you may find yourself. There is a wide range of customer service capabilities between providers ranging from impossible to contact, to unhelpful and unknowledgeable call centers. If possible, contact former or current customers of the providers to obtain firsthand, valid information.
When researching customer service potential, make sure a human answers the phone, they respond to emails in a reasonable amount of time and that the representatives on the front line are capable of handling your concerns.
By researching your options, making sure you have all of the relevant details and ensuring that the provider is devoted to you and your business, you can help to narrow down your options for choosing a merchant account.
Hi, I’m Blair Thomas and I 10+ years of experience in the electronic payments industry managing several successful agent offices and registered ISO’s. I work hard during the day and harder at night as a singer/songwriter signed to David Faustino’s label “Old Scratch Records”. I have written songs and published songs for Fred Durst, Comedy Central and a variety of films. You can keep up with me on Google+