1. Integrity and Accountability
Many providers claim one thing but do another. Be sure that your provider takes pride in what they do and follows through on all promises. A great provider must be upright, honest, and sincere. Every business owner should look at a provider that holds its self accountable.
Who supports and endorses the processor? What kind of relationships do they have? What types of businesses do they work with? Are they a member of the Better Business Bureau? You want a reputable company doing your processing, not just an independent agent that may not be able to help you tomorrow.
3. Service and Support
Check to see what kind of customer service you'll be receiving. Is it outsourced overseas, or will you be talking to someone in-house? Is it 24/7/365 or only during business hours? In what time zone? What is the hold time to speak with someone on the phone? Do they provide a personal relationship manager?
One of the most important questions to ask when looking into taking credit cards as payment, "When do I get my money?" That depends upon your service provider, but in most cases, within two business days. A great merchant services provider will have the ability to offer next day funding.
Do not deal with a company that is full of gimmicks in order to get your business. You want an upfront, honest company. Approach the "free" merchant accounts warily. Don't believe them. We all know that nothing is free. In most cases, anything advertised as free turns out to be more expensive in the end.
6. Turn-Key Solutions
Does the processor have the best solution for your specific business needs? If you are an internet-based business, be sure the processor has a good e-commerce solution for you. For retail and restaurant businesses, be sure the processor has good point-of-sale solutions. You want something that is user-friendly for both you and your customers and that can be set up with little effort on your end.
This is one of the most important aspects in choosing your provider. With today’s technology, it has become easier and easier for hackers to access cardholder data. You do not want to lose your customers' trust nor do you want to be subject to fines associated with non-compliance. Be sure that your processors processing solutions are PCI/DSS compliant: https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/.
Is there a set-up fee? Will the process be seamless and easy on you as the business owner? How long will it take to get set up? Who will be helping you through this process?
9. Discount Rate
This is the most important fee of all. It is the percentage charged for each transaction. Be sure you know all rates and fees that will be charged to you. Many companies advertise one thing and provide another. What will the fee be if you hand-key a transaction as opposed to swiping a card? Be sure you understand your rates before filling out an application.
Did you receive the rates, equipment/software, and service you were promised? Was the transition seamless and easy? How long did it take? Choose a company that will follow-through on its promises and exceed your expectations. Avoid set-up fees and be sure there will be someone to help guide you through the process.
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