If you are planning to own and operate a business that sells products or services, you’ll need to accept credit card payments. With nearly all of online transactions and a good percentage of in-person transactions using credit cards, this is an essential part of business. But you also don’t want to go with the first credit card processor you find; there are a variety of companies offering credit card processing for your business, each of which should be researched thoroughly before making your final decision. The following is a list of the most important factors to consider when choosing a credit card processor.
Credit Card Terms
The credit card terms are an extremely important factor when deciding which credit card processor to go with. Pay close attention to the terms, including fees such as termination and transaction fees, deposit time frames, setup and programming fees, monthly fees, and application fees. Read through the terms diligently of each credit card processor you’re considering before making a decision. You will find that the terms vary greatly between credit card processors. The deposit time frame is also important because the time limit can vary greatly.
Rates and Fees
Rates and fees will be clearly listed under your credit card terms, and should be specific for every type of transaction. You may have a monthly fee, processing fee for each transaction, application fee, and other rates that are important to your business. Your merchant processing agreement will have a detailed list of rates and fees, if it doesn’t, ask the credit card processor for a complete list of fees and compare it to other processors before deciding which company to go with. You may also get discounted rates based on your business transactions, such as your expected dollar amount per sale, how many credit card transactions will be processed, and your credit rating.
Types of Credit Card Processors
You have a wide variety of credit card processors to choose from including International credit card processors, different banking institutions, credit card brokers, and popular credit card companies. Your business model will determine what type of processor you go with.
- International – If your business or you as an individual have a poor credit rating, history of bankruptcy, or a large amount of debt, you may decide to go with an International credit card processor. While it is easier to be approved for this type of merchant account, it also includes additional risks and disadvantages since the regulations are different from US companies.
- Banking Institutions – Most popular banks offer their own credit card merchant accounts, which is an option if you like your bank and want to connect your checking and business accounts with your credit card processing account. However, just because it is a bank you go to for checking purposes, doesn’t mean it will be the best option for you.
- Credit Card Brokers – Credit card brokers that are registered are more pricey but is another option if you want to go this direction. The broker doesn’t actually process the credit card transactions, but they will set up a credit card processing account with other companies that do the credit card processing.
- Credit Card Companies – Popular and established credit card processing companies, such as Visa and MasterCard, are often the preferred choice for businesses. It may be harder to be approved for this type of processor, but it can be beneficial to have an established company to work with.
With the recent technological advances, online reporting is an important factor to consider when choosing a credit card processor. Choose a processor that is up to date on current technologies and offers reporting online. This makes it easier for you to track transactions, as well as fees and rates on a continued basis.
There will be times when you need t get a hold of the credit card processor’s customer service department, so this is another important factor to consider. Be sure the company has customer service available 24/7 and that the support team is friendly, courteous and helpful.
Choosing your credit card processor shouldn’t be a quick decision; research the company and base your decision on all of the factors rather than going with the first place you find. All of these factors are important when choosing a reputable credit card processor.