When starting your own business, it is important to have the infrastructure in place to support and foster growth. Whether you own a permanent retail location in a strip mall, run a food truck in the city, or sell to customers using a mobile setup at a farmer’s market, you need a comprehensive plan in place so you can get paid. Mobile credit card processing is growing in popularity as customers want to be able to use their credit and debit cards, as well as cash, when making a purchase.
In addition to managing inventory and balancing your books, your ability to accept and process payments goes a long way toward your having sustained success. While you may firmly believe that “cash is king,” you must be able to implement new payment technology so you can reach more customers than ever. This includes the ability to accept cards as payment, both in-store and online. In order to make the best decision for your business, it is important to determine the value of credit card processing and weigh it against the costs and risks.
Understanding Your Credit Card Processing Needs
Signing up for a merchant account and investing in credit card processing is a big step for small business owners. Before moving forward, you need to understand your processing needs so you can tailor a solution that is customized for your business. According to CreditCards.com, the typical cardholder has more than two bankcards, and at least one dedicated store credit card, on average. Fewer people are carrying cash, and are more likely to do business with you if you accept credit and debit cards. When deciding whether or not to begin accepting card payments, take a look at the type of business you have.
- Brick-and-Mortar Store – Depending on the size of your store, you may need to invest in multiple credit card terminals. If you only have one register, then you won’t have a need for multiple readers. However, it is also important to consider the security of your credit card reader so your business is protected against potential fraud. You can also explore readers that integrate with your preferred POS system and work on mobile devices. These can be perfect for restaurants, smaller retail locations, and service providers, such as in a salon.
- E-Commerce – If you have an e-commerce solution, in addition to your physical store, or if you only sell products online, you will need a merchant services account that allows you to connect purchases made over the Internet to your business. By nature, you will need to accept credit cards for these purchases. It is important to research your options when looking for a processing partner so that you do not have to pay outrageous fees and miss out on your hard-earned money.
- Mobile Commerce – Mobile card readers, such as those that connect to a smartphone or tablet, give you versatility. Small business owners are able to accept credit card payments wherever they are, and this added convenience leads to a better overall customer experience. Opting to invest in mobile credit card processing gives businesses more flexibility for accepting payments. It is also a necessity for businesses that rely on tradeshows and expos, because they can get conversions in the moment while they are interacting with their customers.
Realizing the need to open an account with a credit card processor, and lease or purchase card readers, is the first step. Once you identify the ways that accepting credit cards can help streamline processes and grow your revenue, it is important to do your homework on processing services and what they bring to the table.
Pros and Cons of Credit Card Processing
Small business owners may be leery when it comes to accepting credit card payments, because all they can think about is having to pay a fee for each transaction. While nobody wants to lose money, the fact is that more and more consumers are turning to plastic to make purchases. According to a 2013 study by the Federal Reserve, the number of credit card payments made in the United States increased, and the number of debit card payments increased more than any other payment method over the previous three years.
As you start out with your new business, accepting only cash makes the most sense so you can quickly reinvest it into helping the company grow. However, owners must look beyond that and accept that customer convenience is the most important part of their business. All other things equal, a customer is more likely to leave your store if you don’t accept cards and go to your competitor, instead. Although you will need to pay processing fees to accept cards, you will attract more customers and increase revenue as a result.
Another benefit that adds to the value of credit card processing is that it keeps you from having to spend time and energy going to the bank to make deposits. Instead, payments are authorized automatically, and funds are transferred directly into your account. By integrating with your existing accounting system, the processing solution that you use helps streamline other areas of your business.
The perceived negative effects of credit card processing services are easily limited, if not completely absent, when small business owners work with the right processor. One of the things that frustrates business owners is having to pay fees, either percentages or flat rates, on every purchase. There are some processors that jack up rates over time and include other hidden fees that quickly put a merchant in a bad financial position. In addition, getting paid in cash means you have money in your hands instantly, whereas it can take time to see funds in your account after payment is made with a credit card. Doing your research and signing up for services with the right processor for your needs can make these worries disappear.
Researching and Implementing Credit Card Processing
When searching for the best merchant account providers in the industry, business owners need to make sure whoever they go with helps their business get the most value out of their credit card processing. While it can be tempting to flock to a processor due to the rates being offered, it is more important to work with a partner that understands your unique needs and helps get you the customized program that achieves your goals. In addition to doing this, finding a provider that guarantees a Lifetime Rate Lock is rare, but very necessary. This allows business owners to know exactly what they will pay over the life of their account. With Interchange Plus pricing, you also get the most transparency, so you know what you are paying for and can keep costs down.
Armed with the information you have about your business and your goals, think wisely about which provider can craft a customized solution that includes processing services and equipment, such as POS systems and mobile card readers. After you’ve done your research and determined the ways that accepting credit cards for payment will improve your bottom line, it is time to work with an expert to implement this into your business.