Credit Card Processing for Small Business
Best credit card processing companies
What does that really mean?
Most small business owners just look at credit card processing, merchant services, as another business related expense. Far too many business owners take the path of least resistance, and use their bank’s credit card processing service. Consumers are increasing their reliance on payment services, like credit cards. We discuss some key topics surrounding credit card payment processing and what you need to know as a small business owner to accept credit cards and select the right merchant service provider.
What Is the Cheapest Credit Card Processing for Small Business?
Not enough money. Not enough time. Not enough sales. Not enough employees. The list of problems small business owners could face at any point in time seems endless. As if that’s not enough, they may encounter another obstacle — merchant service credit card processing. It’s the reason why some business owners shy away from transactions that involve anything beyond cash or checks.
However, credit card processing is not as complicated as it may seem. Besides, credit cards have become the preferred payment method among customers, with online credit card payment and mobile payments gaining steam quickly. They are not only faster and more secure, but also cheaper. Here are four ways to determine what is the cheapest credit card processing for small business:
Work with a Merchant Service Provider
It may be convenient to just let your bank take care of all your payment processing needs. After all, why look for something else if you can instead rely on a financial institution you already trust with your money? Turns out banks don’t specialize in merchant credit card processing. Instead, they often outsource it to one of the large payment processors and charge you additional fees.
There’s definitely an advantage to working with a merchant services provider, like TransNational. For example, you get a secure merchant account and generally improve your cash flow. But wouldn’t you want to have a say in who and what you pay? By selecting to work with a merchant services provider outright you get more flexibility in terms of making sure the costs and benefits match your expectations.
Go with the Interchange Plus Pricing Model
Another benefit of working with a merchant service provider is the ability to shop around for the best rate. Not all pricing structures were created equal, but you often have to cut through the clutter of obscured terms to understand that.
Traditionally, the most common pricing models are: flat, interchange plus and tiered. The easy part is that most businesses are usually placed on the latter. The hard part is figuring out if your business is among them, because tiered tends to be the most expensive structure. Interchange plus, on the other hand, is much more fair, especially because it limits surcharges and keeps margin above cost constant.
Become PCI Compliant and EMV Enabled
Security should be the top priority for small business, and it shouldn’t be limited just to spotting fake and stolen credit cards or paying attention to unusual purchasing behavior. Over the years, the industry has put certain standards into practice to prevent fraud on a much larger scale, one that can have disastrous financial consequences for small business owners.
One of them is Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard that includes a set of core requirements for handling customer’s card data. A good credit card processor will not only help your small business become PCI compliant, but will also bring up this topic first. If you have questions or are not sure whether your business is already compliant, this PCI Compliance Guide is a good place to start.
In a similar vein, Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) standard is another rule that became prevalent after the liability shift in 2015. This one deals primarily with equipment and software upgrade that allows merchants to accept chip cards securely. Although not required legally, it’s highly recommended, since your business will otherwise be responsible for any fraudulent transactions made with a chip card.
Avoid Leasing Equipment and Paying Hidden Fees
What is the cheapest credit card processing for small business? It’s the one that doesn’t make you overpay by forcing you into a lease. No matter how strongly your payment service provider may recommend it, leasing equipment is never a good idea. In fact, anyone who tries to persuade you to follow down that path doesn’t do it based on honesty and integrity, but simply wants to make extra money at your expense. Don’t get lured into promises of no startup costs or low monthly payments, and search for another merchant account service provider instead.
Credit card processing is also riddled with hidden fees that can make even the most fair pricing structure break the merchant’s bank after all the additional costs are added. You work hard for your money and deserve transparency, so always make sure your merchant services provider operates on full-disclosure basis.
What Is the Best Credit Card Processing for Small Business?
Starting your own business can be one of the most fulfilling and rewarding decisions in your life. Unfortunately it’s rarely easy, since the path to success is filled with unforeseen circumstances. So how do you figure out what is the best credit card processing for small business? There are many ways to interpret “best,” but the one that’s most important is best value. At TransNational Payments, we understand that each owner pours their heart and soul into their small business, so here’s the value that you should look for:
Lower Cost of Doing Business
It’s no secret that cost of doing business can run high very quickly. From keeping the lights on to paying your employees, some costs just come with the territory. Of course, you can try to cut your expenses by moving to a smaller office or reducing the size of your team. But what if we told you that you could invest in something that will offset these costs by helping generate greater profits and revenue? That something is called merchant service credit card processing.
Cash may still be king, but credit cards have firmly established themselves as the real power behind the throne. Many customers carry little cash with them, opting instead for the convenience of credit cards and even newer technology like mobile payments. If you want to attract new customers while meeting all the latest payment security standards at an affordable price, see how TransNational Payments can fulfill your merchant services needs.
According to the 2016 Small Business Credit Survey, a significant number of small business owners encounter financial challenges and have to use personal finances to fill the gap. While relying on your own savings may work temporarily, it only puts a bandage on the wound. To sustain the financial health permanently, you need to tap into the power of credit card processing for small business.
Payment gateway and virtual terminal — these two can significantly improve your revenue stream.
Faster Cash Flow
Sometimes it’s not the lack of funds but how soon they can be accessed that causes financial distress. In fact, it’s the number one issue reported by nearly a quarter of the business owners. Here’s where payment gateway comes back into the spotlight, this time because of its recurring payments feature.
Recurring payments are especially useful if your clients return for a repeat service or purchase your product on a certain schedule, for example on a monthly subscription. To ensure you experience no delays in cash flow, online payment gateway lets your business store customer data so you can seamlessly process payments without having to enter the same information each time.
Better Employee Retention
Our final tip for deciding what is the best credit card processing for small business is to think about people that will be working with it every day. Often companies become so focused on achieving customer satisfaction that it starts to cost them their employees’ happiness. Unlike equipment or software, quality talent can’t simply be purchased — it takes effort to find. Small businesses, especially those that are in their toughest early stages of growth can particularly struggle with retention. So how in the world can credit card processing for small business help you with that?
We briefly mentioned mobile credit card processing earlier, and here is where they really shine. The rise of smartphones and tablets has made mobile synonymous with convenient, and mobile payments don’t just use this concept — they build upon it.
Whether you run a moving, landscaping, pest control, plumbing or one of many other small businesses where majority of work is completed outside of the office, your employees would appreciate the simplicity and efficiency of mobile payment processing. Instead of generating invoices for clients and waiting for payments to come in days or weeks later, they will be able to process transaction faster and get paid sooner, leading to a greater job satisfaction.
Small Business Credit Card Processing Options
The ever-evolving payments industry offers plenty of small business credit card processing options. Whether you want to accept payments at one location, run transactions on-the-go or streamline cash flow from your online store, there’s a solution that can help you do that. See which one is right for your business needs:
A point of sale system (POS system) is a heavy hitter of payment processing that includes important features like inventory tracking, employee management, reports and analytics, cash drawer access and receipt printing.
Most POS systems have traditionally been not as portable as other solutions on this list, which is why they are commonly found at more permanent retail locations, like large supermarkets. However, the rise of mobile devices has paved the way to mobile POS (mPOS) systems that blend together the benefits of functionality and portability. In addition, many POS systems are tailored to specific industries, like this iPad-based one designed for bars and restaurants.
Credit Card Terminal
While credit card terminals are capable of processing credit and debit cards in the same fashion as POS systems, they require additional devices to do more, like printing a receipt. It’s a popular option for those who just want to accept credit cards without the need for additional features. Plus, it can be easily connected with a POS system, making it one of the most attractive small business credit card processing options.
If you choose to go with this option for your credit card processing, make sure your terminal is EMV-enabled. It will allow you to comply with the liability shift and help protect your business from potential fraud and chargebacks moving forward.
Depending on the industry you operate in, your small business can benefit from the flexibility of mobile payments. This portable solution requires just a mobile device, a mobile app and a card reader. It’s used by a variety of merchants that want it all when it comes to small business credit card processing: simplicity, speed and security without sacrificing portability.
Just like a good credit card terminal, a quality mobile payment processing option should also be EMV-ready. Looking for one right now? Consider this turnkey mPOS solution from TransNational Payments.
Online Payment Processing Services
E-commerce continues to enjoy a strong growth trend. According to BigCommerce, it has already become the preferred shopping method in the U.S., where 80% of Americans with Internet access have made an online purchase in the past month. This means that your small business could be missing out by not selling online.
Small business credit card processing options include a virtual terminal required to process online payments. Not only does it let you securely run transactions from any web browser in the world, it also integrates with a virtual shopping cart. The latter allows your customers to buy an item with a click of a button or save it for another time. It also collects and securely stores their information, making future checkouts simple and convenient.
Best Credit Card Processing Companies for Small Business
What makes a company the best at what it does? Is it its size, profit, notability, longevity, product quality or employee happiness? We believe all of those are important components of success, but they can’t be achieved without trust. Trust takes time to build and it’s something that best credit card processing companies for small business all have in common.
TransNational Payments has been taking our merchants’ trust seriously for nearly two decades that we have been in business. No matter whether you decide to partner with us or another payment processor, we want you to be in the best position possible. Here are some things to keep in mind when narrowing down your list of best credit card processing companies for small business:
Merchant Service Google Reviews
There are a lot of websites that provide reviews on various credit card processors. But how do you know you are getting the most accurate insight? First of all, anyone running a business knows that people rarely go online to leave positive comments, unless their experience was truly above and beyond. This is just how it works — good service is often taken for granted, while anything that doesn’t meet common expectations results in a negative feedback.
Some payment processors, especially those that provide subpar service, try to remedy bad rep by paying review websites to showcase them in a positive light. Needless to say, you can’t expect unbiased information when pay-for-play is involved. Plus, wouldn’t you rather work with a processor who invests in helping your business, instead of simply making themselves look better?
That’s why you should look for credible sources of reviews. A great example is Google Reviews. Unlike Yelp, where virtually anyone, even a competitor, can create a page for a business, Google Reviews is integrated into Google’s search engine. Don’t sell your merchant services needs short — go with a payment processor that has at least 4.5 out of 5 stars and several hundred reviews. Check out our merchant service Google reviews.
You’ve done your research and found a few credit card processors that you truly like. What’s next? Consider the structure of the company’s sales department. Since sales staff will likely be not only your first point of contact but also your source of payment processing expertise, make sure they are part of direct sales department, rather than a third-party contractor or a freelance agent. This will help ensure that you won’t become just another number in their sales quota and then never hear from them again, but instead someone who will be supported well after the sale is complete.
Speaking of support, keep in mind that best credit card processing companies for small business operate their own customer service. While outsourced customer service should not necessarily be a deal breaker, know that you may receive limited help down the road. A payment processor that has an in-house support team shows that they understand the crucial importance of payment processing for your small business and are prepared to assist you in a timely manner.
Diverse Merchant Service Offering
Customer service is certainly an important factor that should play into your decision regarding which payment processor to work with. However, you have to pay attention to not only how they support, but also what they actually support. A broad portfolio of products and services will future-proof your business if you ever decide to venture into new ways of accepting payments, for example through a mobile device or an online store. Plus, as the payment processing industry advances, the best processors will be the ones that remain on the forefront of technology.
This may not be the first item on everyone’s list, but social responsibility is a great indicator of how well the company is run. Best credit card processing companies for small business have compelling mission and vision. Strong company culture and supportive work environment translate into happy employees. And do you know who benefits from the higher service quality of these employees? You!