Believe it or not, like pay phones and paper-based address books, “cash only” businesses were once common. Like pay phones and address books, though, technology has helped to make these things nearly obsolete. Think about it: when was the last time you went into a successful “cash only” business…that didn’t have an ATM within a few feet of the register?
Today, if you want your business to be successful you don’t just need to accept credit and debit card payments. You need to accept mobile payments too. Of course, saying that you accept credit cards, debit cards and mobile payments is one thing. Actually processing those payments so that money ends up in your company’s bank account is quite another. Most businesses aren’t able to process these payments on their own; they hire a third party payment processor.
Here are some tips to help you make sure that you are hiring the right payment processor for your company and its needs.
How Much Does It Cost?
Every credit card processor is going to charge you some sort of fee for the use of their service. After all, they have to employ people too. The problem is that so many companies that offer this service often hide fees deep within their contracts and offers like “bundle pricing” or “tiered pricing”. To get around this, you need to choose a company that offers simplified small business credit card processing fees and plans. Look for flat fees based on transactions, flat service and interchange. Anything else is a red flag.
Make Sure You Understand the Contract
Business News Daily recently stated that there aren’t yet any laws that regulate what a sales representative can tell a potential client about what they will and will not be getting from their credit card processing company. They can promise just about anything and, as long as the truth is somewhere in the contract, they are legally protected. This means that there are a lot of “promise the moon but hide the devil in the details” companies out there. Like with every other type of contract you’ll encounter—have your attorney look over the contract offered by the processor. Make sure that there aren’t any hidden fees or nefarious terms hidden in there.
Security Is Important
It was more than six months ago but people are still talking about the breach in Target’s credit card system but they aren’t the only company that has had problems. PF Chang’s recently announced a breach in their credit card payment security. One of the hardest things about contracting through a third party is giving up total control over some of your customers’ information and being able to ensure that their information stays safe. Before you hire a processing company, ask them how they secure the transaction information they process every day. Any company worth your money is going to be able to explain to exactly what kind of information they access and how they keep that information safe. If they give you a vague answer, run away!
Mobile Payments Are Important, Too
Like credit cards, having a mobile platform and being able to accept mobile payments is important for any small business. To prevent your having to pay out even more in fees and commissions, work with a company that will manage traditional credit card processing and your mobile payment processing.
Today, people are more likely to pay with their credit card or PayPal account than they are to pay in cash. Heck, finding someone who carries cash at all is rare! This is why it is important to make sure that you’re set up to take both credit card and mobile payments if you want to get paid.