These days, accepting credit cards is a virtual necessity for any business, however small or large it may be. Dealing with a merchant account company comes with the territory. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t regularly look over your statement to be sure you are keeping as much of your money in your pocket as possible.
When you first signed up with your payment processing company, you probably did your homework. You looked around for the vendor that best met your needs at the most competitive price. However, the best option a few years ago may no longer be what’s best for you today. That’s why it’s a good idea to periodically put your ear to the ground and get a sense of what has changed in the payment processing industry. That way, you can be in a great negotiating position when it comes time to renew your account.
Here are some helpful questions to ask any prospective payment processor you are courting:
- Including fees, what is the total rate I will be paying?
- What, if any, fees are involved with cancellation, applying and monthly service?
- Can any of these fees be waived?
- Do I need to sign a contract or can this be a pay-as-you-go or monthly arrangement?
With this information in hand, take another look at your current payment processing provider. If they continue to be competitive, no changes are necessary. However, you should seriously consider jumping ship at the first opportunity and finding a new provider if your current company isn’t keeping up with the times.
Review Your Present Contract
It’s not the most exciting reading on the planet, but going over your agreement with your merchant account provider can be enlightening. What’s more, it could save you money by showing you areas that need to be tweaked. If you are paying more than you think you should or if there are redundancies, talk to your company’s customer service representative about making modifications. You may even be able to consolidate your monthly charges into a lower fee.
Pay Attention to Monthly Statements
Once every 30 days, you receive a statement from your merchant account provider. It details what you regularly pay, as well as goes through every credit card transaction that took place in your retail establishment or online through your e-commerce site.
Taking the time to review these statements each month can seem like extra work, but someday it might pay off. After all, checking the statement enables you to catch any errors the company may have inadvertently made. In addition, it can give you a snapshot of what you are selling as well as the payments you are making to your processing company.
Adopt New Technologies
There are three innovations in recent years that could change the entire complexion of your bottom line, putting more money in your pocket every day. First, if you don’t already accept mobile transactions, you should seriously consider enhancing your business by adding this payment option. Point-of-sale equipment that is provided through your payment processing company probably already has the capability to work with customers’ smartphones. All you need to do is obtain the necessary contactless readers from your merchant company. With each passing year, an increasing number of buyers are using their digital wallet-enabled smartphones to make contactless payments. If you don’t have the technology to make these transactions possible, you could be losing out on a significant amount of business.
The second payment trend you cannot afford to ignore is upgrading your point-of-sale system to accept EMV or “chip” cards. Over two years have passed since U.S. financial institutions rolled out this more secure form of payment. Even so, many small businesses have failed to upgrade their systems. Owners often fear that the cost of updating their equipment would be too high. Combined with the hassle of training themselves and their staff, the idea of accepting chip cards just seems unfeasible. The reality, however, is quite different. The new EMV equipment is not prohibitively expensive. What’s more, merchants who fail to adopt it are now held financially liable if a fraudulent credit card transaction occurs at their retail location.
As e-commerce gains in popularity every year, you simply can no longer ignore it. Thanks to its convenience and the ability it gives customers to easily find the best deals, online shopping is rapidly overtaking brick-and-mortar retail establishments. If your merchant account provider does not have the capability to enhance your business with a payment gateway, think about finding a more forward-looking vendor. Operating an online store isn’t for everyone, but if you see it in your near future, be sure your merchant account provider has the flexibility to help you set it up.
Customers want their payment experience to be as fast, easy and secure as possible. These innovations make that happen and help ensure your customers keep coming back.
When you run a small business, every penny counts. Taking the time to review your current merchant account might not bring millions of dollars into your coffers. However, it could lead you on the road toward smart, forward-looking decisions that can help your company gain stability and grow over time.