In finding the best merchant account provider, business owners assume that the first step should be spent scanning websites, graphs and testimonials that compare merchant services, each promising low rates and quick results.
Merchant accounts cannot be compared directly how to sell merchant services because each one is completely different. Sales representatives have the authority to waive fees and alter the contract: virtually anything to get an upper hand in the competition. All these inconsistent attributes makes finding the best personalized account impossible. The real first step to finding the best provider is in the thorough knowledge of the business and its needs and what it wants to get out of the merchant account services. When this is done, finding the best merchant account provider is easier, and it has a better chance of succeeding in the future.
Maintaining Control over Merchant Accounts
Once the business owner has full control over what type of service is needed, the comparison of the providers will no longer be as overwhelming. Some basic questions include: how much (in dollars) is the expected ROI? Is the business based solely online? Is there a store where customers can physically swipe their cards?
The first step involves choosing the ones that have the most reasonable startup costs and discount rates. Depending on the company, startup costs include an application fee, a processing fee and a setup fee. The rates vary depending on the credit card processors. Discount rates, the cost that credit card processing companies charge per transaction, is typically 1.5% to 2%.
The rest of the process considers the information gathered about the needs of the business.
For instance, which credit cards would the business be using? The geographic location of the customer base should be considered. Not all companies accept major credit cards and some customers may not have access to some of them.
A contract should now be considered by the business owner. How long do they need the service? Is a contract needed at all? Again, this will all depend on the business. The availability of a contract depends on the account as well.
Customer service is also a factor. Some companies only accept calls from a certain time frame while others put a cap on hours that the business is allowed to use. Does the allowed time frame interfere with business hours? Are the employees capable of fixing the equipment in case an issue comes up? Will the provider be able to handle a high-volume business?
The credit card processing equipment, too, depends on the business. How many machines are needed? How is the business paying for them? Some companies offer leases while others sell them.
Finally, after considering the information about the business, a reputable name is one of the most important things to consider. What are people saying about the merchant services company? Do certain issues come up regularly? Before ultimately committing to a provider, the business owner should check with the Better Business Bureau to find out more about the reputation of the company.