As a business, working with a merchant processing company is necessary for accepting credit card payments. This is a fundamental capability needed for a business to profit, but with the many merchant processing companies vying for your business's attention, it can be difficult to decide which provides the most value.
For the most part, Funerda explains, merchant services are primarily concerned with processing card payments. This has been the long standing definition, but lately it has come to encompass more than simply providing the ability to accept credit cards. Even after a card has been swiped, a merchant service provider works to communicate between banks to ensure money ends up in your business account.
What to look for when choosing a merchant processing company
If you're looking to partner with a merchant service provider for the first time, or your business is looking for a more efficient or cost-effective solution, make sure to evaluate a merchant processing company on the following criteria:
Fees & Costs
Every business owner should be aware of the upfront costs and additional fees that their merchant service provider will no doubt charge. While some pricing models are based on a monthly or yearly charge, many businesses end up paying extra fees that were hidden within their contract.
Always read over your contract twice so you're aware of all the fees. Business Insider recommends scrutinizing the pages for some of the most common fees, including:
- Batch fee
- PCI compliance fee
- Chargeback fee
- Gateway fee
- Set-up fee
- Statement fee
- Termination fee
If you do find fees that were not disclosed prior to receiving the contract, call your sales representative to ask for more details about them and possibly get them waived. These costs and fees will ultimately determine if it's a viable partnership for your business in the long run.
Interchange fees are charged on every transaction your business processes. It's paid by the merchant processor to the card-issuing bank and usually ranges from 2% – 3% of each transaction according to NerdWallet.
When a merchant offers interchange-plus pricing they provide details on how much you are paying in the processor in fees so you can keep track of expenses. Knowing this number will also allow you to compare quotes from different companies to see which is best for your financial situation and goals.
Is there a set-up fee? Is the new system compatible with the programs you already have in place? These questions will help you determine if there will be a smooth, and cost-effective transition to a new processing system. No one wants to lose out on time making sales, so preparing and understanding the set up before it occurs is crucial.
Making sure the merchant processor you partner with is transparent in their processes and contract is essential for setting up the foundation of trust and support that is needed for this undertaking. If a company is upfront with their costs and fees and works with you to understand their contract, that's a good sign that they care about the success of your business just as much as theirs.
There's bound to be some blips and confusion when implementing a new processing system. When money is involved, it's important that customer support is available at a moments notice to help resolve any problems or answer your questions straight away. This will help keep your business running smoothly and customer information safe. Look for merchant providers that offer 24/7 support from real experts.
Exectras has it all
You may be surprised to learn that one of the best merchant service providers is not actually a processing company. Exectras is a membership-based company that researches providers across the country to give members the best services, programs and pricing structures in America through our unmatched Merchant Services Program.
You can pay for merchant processing services and all you get are deposits tomorrow for processing today, but with Exectras Merchant Services Program you receive:
- Processing at true interchange cost
- Zero statement, discount, annual, batch or hidden fees
- No termination fees or set-up costs
- A free Exectras Membership, giving your business aces to Fortune 500 employee benefits
- World class business services from America's leading providers
- 24/7, 365 day customer support
With our merchant services alone, our members can save over $570 a month with a guarantee that they will be paying less than they had before with no chance of their processing fees increasing. By leveraging our network of over 800,000 businesses nationwide, we can uphold these promises to deliver the best value to our members.