A reliable credit card processing partner is integral to your business operations. Secure credit card processing helps ensure you have the capacity to accept credit cards and mobile payments for your business. However, with so many different options out there for partners, with a wide variety of terminals, fees, and integration capabilities, and the growing fear of data breaches, it’s important to make sure you’re selecting the right credit card processing partner for your business.
Here are a few tips to help:
Consider the Specific Needs of Your Business
The first step is to understand the different options that are available, and how they work to effectively address different needs within each industry. Answering a few key questions can help.
1. Where will you be processing payments?
Do you mostly accept payments within a brick-and-mortar store? Perhaps you run an omnichannel business and handle a large amount of online transactions. Or, you may have a pop-up shop and need the ability to use a wireless terminal. Look for a credit card processing partner that will be able to deliver a solution that can process payments where you do business.
2. How will your customers be paying?
Who are your customers and how do they like to pay? Most customers expect to use an EMV chip reader when they pay with their card. Some younger or tech-savvy customers prefer to keep everything on their phones, and utilize mobile wallet services like Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and more. Do you offer gift cards? If so, your processor must be able to take these as well.
3. What kind of devices will you be processing on?
What technology are you using? Do you use a tablet for most of your business? Or are your business processes carried out on a point of sale (POS) terminal? If you value mobility, you may use a mobile phone. Whichever technology you use, it is critical to make sure the credit card processing partner you choose can integrate with your existing technology.
Take the Time to Research and Understand Fee Structures
Fee structures are a critical component to choosing a credit card processing partner. Small businesses should take extra caution when it comes to fees, because any hidden or unexpected costs are more difficult to absorb.
You may see many partners offering “free” services, but take heed: nothing is ever completely free. You may not be expected to pay up-front for things like terminals, accounts, credit card processing, or anything else that is advertised as “free,” but look closely at the small print. What are you giving up to use this “free” service? Many use this particular brand of subterfuge to hide costs elsewhere in the agreement. Make sure you question these claims, and that you understand exactly how you are paying for your “free” service.
Even if you aren’t offered freebies, it’s smart to get into the practice of looking closely and pricing and making sure you receive a full disclosure of any fees and agreement terms.
Inquire About Fraud Prevention and Security Tools
Fraud is a serious issue that can pose serious consequences on any business. So much so that 60% of small businesses permanently close their doors within six months of a credit card breach. Make sure your credit card processing partner can help protect your business and maintain PCI compliance.
Look for a partner that takes security seriously, and has a long-standing record of success to back it up. Ask them what safeguards are in place to ensure data isn’t accessible or usable to hackers. Things like EMV chip card acceptance, end-to-end encryption and tokenization can help protect card data.
It can be difficult and time-consuming to thoroughly research and vet your credit card processing partners before selecting one, and if you have no idea where to start, you can be easily overwhelmed. The right processor is essential to making sure you can process transactions and keep your business running smoothly and profitably. Heartland supports fast, simple, and secure transactions, offering full disclosure for fees and agreement terms. If you are interested in seeing how Heartland can help you achieve faster payments and greater security, contact us today.