Merchant Services To-Do List

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Merchant services open up the door for payment processing for your business, allowing you to process credit and debit card transactions. The exact service you choose depends on the volume of your business, your required features and the transaction pricing.

December 19, 2013

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A recent survey conducted by AARP indicates 74 percent of their survey respondents have at least one credit card. The amount of people using cash for retail purchases continues to fall rapidly, with only 30 percent of retail purchases receiving cash payment, according to Javelin Strategies. You’re cutting yourself off from a great deal of business if you only accept cash for your small business.

Determine Your Sales Volume

Merchant service providers come in all sizes, but the best fit for you may not be the same option every other business decides on. A big consideration when selecting a processor is exactly how big your current sales volume is, and how much you expect it to increase after adding in credit card processing. You lose out on a percentage of each credit card transaction, as this is part of the way the credit card processor makes money from your account. Some merchant service providers also charge a monthly fee and a per transaction fee, generally determined by the size of your account. For example, Intuit’s payment processing for online payments has a separate rate for a swiped card and a manually keyed card, as well as a per transaction fee and a monthly payment. It does not charge any setup fees.

Online or In-Store?

Some small businesses only require merchant accounts for an online store, many of which integrate with popular e-commerce shopping cart solutions. If you go to shows or have your own brick and mortar store, however, an in-store credit card processing unit is also required. Some low volume stores opt to go with mobile payment processing solutions that turn a smartphone or a tablet into a point of sale device. For higher volume stores, it may be more convenient to go with a traditional point of sale system that works with your merchant account. The account provider may also have equipment available for lease that is already integrated into the system.


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Security Features

When you accept credit and debit cards, you are accepting sensitive customer data. It’s essential to check into the merchant account provider’s security to mitigate the chance of a data breach. For online payments, this requires a secured shopping cart, SSL encryption and other safeguards to protect customer data. For physical point of sale solutions, you want a secured connection for credit card processing, point of sale devices that won’t be in a position to be physically tampered with and a merchant account provider who meets all compliance requirements for credit card processing.

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