Have you been giving thought to starting a small business? Perhaps you already have a small business, and you're ready to elevate it to an enhanced convenience level. Regardless of which position you're in, here's some information on how merchant accounts can streamline your small business.
If you want your business to be able to process payments from credit or debit cards, you'll need a merchant account. You must have a legitimate business to have a merchant account, so you'll need to show the proper paperwork when setting it up. We live in a data-based world that is losing its reliance on paper-including paper money. Thus, acceptance of credit cards is a must for today's businesses.
Merchant Account Providers
Who will provide your merchant account? Will you choose a merchant service provider, also known as an MSP, or will you opt for a merchant bank? These banks are not quite the same as average banks. They tend to invest in small businesses with capital that is their alone. MSPs, however, are not banks in themselves. Rather, they're brokers who have contracts with banks that arrange credit card processing. MSPs are independent from banks, and can provide other services as well, including customer service and equipment sales / rental.
If you decide to work with a MSP, be sure to confirm their credentials. If they are not affiliated with a bona fide host bank, do not sign a contract with them. Be absolutely certain you're working with a MSP that is sponsored by a bank that is FDIC insured. Otherwise, you're setting yourself up for major problems.
Accepting Credit Card Payments
In order to accept credit and debit card payments, you'll need a terminal. This is an electronic device that processes payments via swiping a credit or debit card through a magnetic strip slot that transmits card data to the merchant bank or MSP by way of a telephone line or Internet. There are also new machines that utilize new technology to allow merchants to accept gift cards, and even verify available funds for check purchases. Terminals are safe, affordable ways to process electronic transactions.
If your business does not often handle credit card transactions, you may decide that you do not need a dedicated terminal to process the data. Many businesses still use manual input for credit card processing. This is when you manually enter data into a telephone (or cell phone) keypad, often in conjunction with the machine that imprints card information onto a carbon-based sales form to produce receipts.
If you have an online business that accepts debit or credit card payments, then you'll likely rely on a service that specializes in processing electronic payments for e-commerce merchants. Some MSPs offer this service; there are also many reputable, third-party companies that provide this function, as well.
Merchant accounts benefit everyone. From huge corporations to mom-and-pop shops, use of a merchant accounts allow businesses of all sizes to streamline their businesses, and operate more efficiently and profitably. This typically leads to increased customer satisfaction rates, as well as revenue jumps. It just makes good, plain sense for any type of business to accept credit and debit cards. In this day and age, why would not you?
Types of Businesses
Are you a mobile merchant? Do you need to process payments from near any location, rather than simply in one, standalone storefront? Did you know that there are payment processing solutions to meet your needs? You can actually accept credit and debit cards via your own cell phone. There are also compact, wireless terminals you can easily take with you to use for credit card processing. Pretty cool, huh?
If you're in the retail business, chances are you do most of your business in a fixed location. Your days are frequently spent interacting with customers. Yours is a face-to-face type of business. Therefore, it's necessary for you to have a credit card processing terminal that enables you to swipe cards right on your retail countertop. You'll find many exciting features in a retail merchant account, including specialized reporting packages that allow you to see detailed sales features and set progress goals.
You might have an online business. These are becoming incredibly popular. They're the wave of the future. Fortunately, there are fantastic merchant account options for you. Virtual terminals allow you to process your payments fast and accurately. There are great reporting packages available for your business, as well. Your customers will take comfort knowing all their private data is kept safe via your reputable processing company.
Some businesses operate from both online and from storefront locations. This is not a problem for merchant account providers. This makes it so easy for you to streamline your small business. Before you know it, your business will increase so much that you'll have a strong potential of moving from small business to big business.