If you’re new to running a small business, you can’t be faulted for thinking that there isn’t all that much to learn about credit card processing and point-of-sale systems. After all, it’s easy to think that this is nothing more than the way you accept your customers’ payments. But once you learn how to make the most of your credit card reader system, you will see just how much it can enhance your bottom line.
Know the Rules
Whether you sign a contract or not, your payment processing company will still mandate you follow certain protocols. For instance, they will probably require that you provide additional information for online or telephone transactions where the card is not present. To reduce the chances of fraud and chargebacks, be sure that all of your equipment and security systems are up to date.
Be Clear and Transparent
Many product returns and chargebacks do not occur due to fraud; they are simply the result of misunderstandings. While you can never totally eliminate the possibility of confusion, you can keep it to a minimum by creating an environment of clarity and simplicity in your store and when it comes to your return policy.
Make it as easy as possible for customers to know which cards you accept and what procedures they should follow if they need to return a product, including any time limits. When issues arise, deal with them quickly and directly. Procrastination is never helpful when you own a business, particularly when it comes to dealing with customers or the IRS.
Protect Yourself from Fraud by Knowing the Warning Signs
Small businesses are the targets of criminal activity and data breaches because their owners often do not have sophisticated security systems in place to monitor customer purchase activity. Even though you don’t have a million-dollar system in place, you can protect yourself by contacting your customer if you notice any of the following:
• Ordering large quantities of the same item in different colors or sizes
• Customer uses multiple cards to pay for items
• Multiple orders on the same card shipped to various addresses
• Incorrect expiration date or security code
• Customer has a hard time providing personal data when you contact them by phone
• Rush shipping on large orders
Perhaps the best way you can make the most of your credit card system is to take the time to keep meticulous records. This attention to detail will not just be crucial when tax time comes around; it can also function as a vital safety net should you ever be involved in a credit card fraud situation. What’s more, thorough records can help you to see what is and is not selling and can help you predict what inventory you should order in the future. When you combine an organized back office with a credit card system that is economical and used to its maximum potential, you have a strong infrastructure on which to build your growing business.