What to Consider When Choosing a Credit Card Processor

When you’re assembling a desk for your new business, the directions tell you exactly where to start: ‘Step 1: Place tab A into slot B and tighten fastener.’ But setting up a new merchant account for credit card processing doesn’t come with simple instructions, which is probably how you got to this article.  In addition to being confusing, choosing a credit card processing company can become very costly if you don’t look at all your options and choose wisely. Once you get that new desk assembled, sit down and make a list of your company’s credit card processing needs by asking yourself some important questions.

Will customers be swiping their cards at your terminal? Having access to the actual credit card is the quickest way to process your sale, and the easiest way to handle receipts. If you’ll be swiping credit cards, you then have to decide whether you’re going to rent or purchase a credit card processing terminal. Will you have more than one physical location, or sales associate, that requires a terminal? What costs will that incur?

If you’re an on-line merchant you have a whole other set of credit card processing needs. For example, will you have auto-recurring billings? Yes… well then, you’ll need specific security measures in place to store credit card numbers.

Your volume of business affects your merchant account costs. Do you run a high volume business, say a medium priced restaurant with an average bill of $10.00 to $15.00? Or do you sell high-priced items with less frequency? These numbers impact your transaction fees.

Do you run a seasonal business? If so, you may think you’ll save money by terminating your processing service during your down months. But contract and cancellation fees can negate any savings you might gain by not having to pay recurring service fees.

Whatever your business, if you want to accept credit cards, you have to establish a merchant account with a processing company. Because there aren’t any easy-to-read instructions for setting up your merchant account, why not take a cue from the directions for that desk you were putting together for your new office? Even before construction step number 1: Put Tab A into Slot B and tighten fastener, the directions instruct you to account for all the pieces in the package.  Well, opening a merchant account for your company is no different. Before you dive into the murky waters of credit card processing, make sure you consider all your needs so you’ll be better prepared to put together the right merchant processing solution for your business.