With so many companies offering merchant services it easy to find numerous providers that are interested in only one thing - taking your money. Accepting credit cards is important for a business to be successful, however selecting the right merchant service provider is as important, if not more.
When shopping for a merchant service provider it is advisable to give yourself ample time to review and understand the account before moving forward. Rushing to get the account set up is the fastest way to lock yourself into an account and contract that is unfavorable. Make sure to read the entire agreement and ask questions on the items you are unsure about. A bad merchant service provider will be unwilling to spend the time necessary for you to feel comfortable with what you are signing up for.
Remember, you get what you pay for. The cheapest provider is usually a good indicator for a bad merchant service provider. No merchant service provider can attain wholesale pricing lower than another. That being the case, everything costs the same so the price charged should be about the same. If a provider is advertising rates significantly lower than the market rate they will make it up somewhere else. It’s simply a fact.
A bad merchant service provider will be pushy with the sale and inevitably try to lease equipment or charge a huge mark up. Never, repeat never, lease processing equipment, you end up paying upwards of 10 times the actual cost of the equipment. Check prices for equipment on the internet so you know about what the equipment should cost. If you are being charged significantly more, you have an idea that the provider is not acting in your best interest.
A good provider takes the time to help you understand what you are signing up for. The rates for the service are clearly outlined and explained. A good provider is willing to negotiate the rates so that you are comfortable with the pricing.
The merchant services industry is extremely competitive and in order to stay in business a provider must offer good service and rates. Make sure to check the age of the company you are considering. If they have been around for 10 years or more, chance are they are doing something right.
When signing up for a new merchant account for your business you have many options when it comes to the merchant account terminal you will need. This article is intended to clarify the various merchant account terminal types to help you identify the terminal that is best for your business.
Merchant account terminal types:
- Retail terminal
- Virtual terminal
- Mobile terminal
- Point of sale terminal (POS)
A retail terminal is the most common type of terminal and the type you see at most retail stores across the country. This is the terminal you will need if you have retail store front that your customer visit and hand their credit card to you for payment. There are numerous manufacturers such as Verifone, Hypercom, Nurit, and Ingenico to name a few. You will want to select a manufacturer and terminal that offers the features you are looking for. Some common items to consider:
- Do you have a phone line for the terminal to communicate on?
- Do you have an Internet connect (IP) for the communication?
- Do you need wireless capabilities?
- What is your budget for the terminal?
A virtual terminal offers the same functionality as a traditional retail terminal however the interface is typically enabled through a computer. This is the terminal you will want to select if you do not perform face-to-face transactions.
A mobile terminal is a merchant account terminal that is enabled through a smart phone. Years ago the only way you could accept credit card payments in a mobile environment was to purchase a costly wireless retail terminal. Not only was this equipment expensive, but you are also required to purchase a wireless data plan from one of the major wireless carriers which added a great deal of costs. Now, with the abundance of smart phones most credit card processors have a mobile credit card processing terminal that can be downloaded to the phone. The application will be accompanied with a small piece of inexpensive equipment that will allow you to swipe your customer’s credit card to complete the sale.
A point of sale (POS) terminal is a merchant account terminal that is integrated or a part of a larger system that is set up to manage the entire business. POS systems are usually comprised of a computer, monitor, bar code scanner, credit card swiper and has lots of functions that stretch beyond payment processing. If you have a POS system you will want to make sure that the system supports the credit card processor you select. Not all processors work with all POS systems.
Let’s face it, the Internet is as big as the industrial revolution in how it is reshaping the landscape for commerce. That being the case your business’s website is a giant extension of your brand and ability to deliver goods and services. So, are you making it easy for your customers to buy from you on your ecommerce site? We have put together a list of things you should try to avoid in the hopes of stream lining your online offerings.
1. Your website is slow
Speed is everything in this instant gratification society. If your customers have to wait around for your site to load you are going to lose them. It’s that simple.
However, site speed can be a tricky. You want to make sure you have a good hosting company that understands your business type. You also want to make sure the shopping cart you select is optimized for your site. Little site improvements can speed up the load time and will result in more conversions.
2. Your website is cumbersome
It is very important that your customers be able to buy from your site in less than 5 clicks. Research shows that conversions rates drop considerably once the 5 click threshold is breached. The lesson, condense the site and improve the flow. Customers want a clean, easy and quick check out.
3. Your credit card capture page is not intuitive
There is an industry standard for the order in which credit card information is to be entered. Do not waiver from this standard. Statics show that customers have become trained in how they enter credit card information. If the order is altered the customer is likely to make a mistake and their experience is degraded.
4. Overcharging for shipping
Some sites see shipping as a revenue generator. Others try to lower prices below the competition and make it up in shipping. Savvy consumers are factoring shipping as part of the total cost to purchase. The best thing you can do is reduce your shipping cost to as low as possible and pass those savings on to you customer.
5. Poor browser optimization
If your website is not optimized for all the different browsers that your customers are using, you are losing sales. Have you ever been to a site that was missing information or formatted incorrectly? What did you do? Did you stick around to try to navigate through to find what you were looking for? My guess is no, you simply hit the back button and when to another site. That is what you customers are doing if you’re not browser optimized.
Master Card has announced a fraud alert. If you have received a “Master Card Security Alert” via email asking you to preform a credit card test transaction, please call Master Card immediately.
Apparently the criminals are asking unsuspecting businesses to conduct a credit card test in which the details of the transaction are to be sent to an email address that is not associated with Master Card. The intent is to acquire merchant transaction information in order to complete fraudulent transactions and refunds using stolen credit card information.
You should never receive an unsolicited phone call, email, social media request or fax request from Master Card. If you are contacted by someone that claims affiliation with Master Card, please do not respond and report the inquiry to Master Card at email@example.com.