When a business gets its start, one of the most important things it must implement is credit card processing. The ability to process payments from credit and debit cards is crucial. According to a Javelin Strategy report, the total purchase volumes of card products have surpassed cash at point of sale systems. Because businesses need to offer card processing, there are things that owners should know before they sign up with any card processing company.
Understanding the language
When a business owner first talks to a card payment processing company, they're going to hear a lot of acronyms and industry jargon. It's important to understand language. Doing some research beforehand can be helpful, but also make a point to ask the representative if something is unclear. A business owner should never sign up with any company unless they fully understand how everything works and what it's going to cost. The last thing a fledgling business wants is to be locked into a contract with a payment processing company featuring fees that are crippling to the business.
When you're starting out, it can be hard to find a credit card processing company because many have a requirement that businesses needs to bring in a certain amount of revenue, according to Business News Daily. While this most likely won't be an issue once you establish yourself, it can be an early hurdle. Fortunately, there are companies out there that will provide you with their services regardless of revenue – it's simply a matter of doing some digging.
Fees, security and technology
Credit card processing fees can add up. Marco Carbajo, a guest blogger for the U.S. Small Business Association, suggested finding the card processor with the lowest fees and not worrying about the speed of the processor or its features. While this can be economical, it's important to note a number of changes have been recently made to credit and debit card processing technology. While most new card processors will incorporate this technology, the omission of some voluntary upgrades, such as EMV technology, could leave business owners susceptible to paying the cost of fraud, should it occur.
First, make sure you're in compliance with all requirements, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Then you need to think about EMV. This technology allows you to process cards that have the new EMV chip in them for security purposes. It is a voluntary technology, meaning businesses don't have to comply with it, but if they choose not to they are more susceptible to paying the cost of fraud starting October 1, 2015.
Card payment processing companies will most likely try to sell you on other features and faster processing speeds. While these things can be nice, they aren't necessary and will ultimately raise your costs. According to Carbajo, turnkey payment processing solutions are great, but you'll likely be paying somewhere around 3 percent or more per transaction to use the service. Other options might not be as easy to set up or use, but they will save you money.
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