Guest Post by David Rodwell
Every decision you make for your business has consequences. Even something as seemingly simple as choosing which company will process credit card transactions for you can have significant repercussions. If you’re not careful and thorough, you could wind up paying hundreds or thousands of dollars more each year in credit card processing fees than what’s necessary.
Let’s take a look at the process of choosing the right credit card processor for your business type:
1. Look at all of the options. For many businesses, it’s simply easy to go with the big company. PayPal, for example, offers credit card processing options that can do the job for many businesses.
Yet, PayPal isn’t always the right answer. For example, if you’re looking for mobile payment options you might consider Square. If you’re looking for a payment processor whose rates are compatible with your business model, you might consider Stripe or another one of the startups trying to compete in the marketplace.
2. Understand your transaction profile. There are three factors that will go into determining your transaction profile, and that will affect your rates and fees:
• How you accept credit card payments
• How many credit card payments you accept in a month
• The amount of your credit card payments
When you’re looking for a credit card processor, you need to have a good picture of how your business operates. Do you accept credit card payments online as well as in a store? Do you only accept telephone credit card payments? Rates can vary greatly based on the transaction method.
The same goes for the volume of credit card payments you submit in a month. A business that does a dozen credit card payments in a month has a vastly different profile (and different rates) than a company that does several hundred credit card transactions in a month.
The average amount of a credit card transaction matters, too. If your transactions are mostly under $10, you’ll have different rates than if your transactions are mostly in the hundreds of dollars.
3. Watch out for detrimental business practices. Spend even a little bit of time doing some consumer research and you’ll discover that those large companies don’t always enjoy a solid reputation. For example, one of the largest and well-known online payment processing companies has a reputation for freezing accounts, and keeping companies from collecting their money for months at a time. For most small businesses, this can be a huge problem. For some, it will shut the doors entirely.
Find out how the company approaches customer service. This isn’t just about convenience, or not wanting to spend time on hold; it’s about getting access to your money, and keeping your business’ cash flowing like it should.
Your small business will rise or fall based on a thousand little decisions like this one. Take the time necessary to find a credit card processor that really fits your business type, that has the options you need, and that enjoys a decent reputation in the marketplace.David Rodwell is a seasoned writer in business and personal finance, taking a particular interest in payment processing. He became interested in payment processing technology after observing how quickly debit transactions caught on and is now intrigued by the rapidly evolving mobile processing world. You can find more of his articles on payment news and technology located at CreditCardProcessing.net