If your business isn’t accepting credit card payments then you are missing out! How many people do you think will actually send you a check in the mail in order to pay for your services?
So few, that its laughable if you are running your business this way!
To be competitive you need to be able to accept all forms of payment online. Some small businesses choose to use 3rd party payers like Google pay or Paypal as their merchant provider. And while those services are wildly popular, there can be problems with them such as:
- Holding your payments for long periods of time – with no notice to you. I had a friend that Paypal held his payments for almost a month! It was a misunderstanding and they found in his favor and released his funds. But he had to scramble for a while to find an alternative service. And of course he had sold product and needed to fulfill it. Telling clients Paypal wouldn’t release his money was really cutting it with people.
- Dispute process usually goes against the merchant. If you are selling a digital product this can be especially frustrating. You have delivered the product. The client has it. They decide they want their money back for whatever reason. They don’t seem to require a very good one. And now your product is out there, probably being used by them, but you aren’t getting paid for it!
That’s where having a good merchant service provider become essential. A good service provider gets to know you and your potential clients. They will be there to act as an intermediary if the client request a refund. Thus, if you don’t accept credit card payments, you could be losing a large percentage of potential customers. The question is, how do you accept credit card payments?
Opening a Merchant Account
The first step to be able to accept credit cards as payment is to apply for a merchant account.
Banks and merchant account companies offer credit card payment systems for both small and large businesses. However, before you sign up for their service, do your research well and check the exact terms and conditions of your chosen merchant account provider.
When comparing merchant account service providers don’t forget to check the pricing. How much would it cost you per card transaction? How much would be the set-up charge? What kind of support does the company provide to their customers?
What about the reputation and track record of the company? What do present clients have to say about their service? These are important questions to consider when choosing a merchant account company.
Does My Business Qualify?
Of course, your business’s financial standing would be reviewed. Banks or merchant account companies would be interested to learn exactly how much you earn from your sales each month. If your business has a stable history of sales and income, you should have no problem getting approved for a merchant account.
Another factor that would affect your lender’s decision would be the status of your business credit history. Have you already established a business credit? Usually, a business needs to be at least 2 years in operations to get approved for a merchant account. In 2 years, you should have already established a solid business credit history as well.
Needless to say, if you have a problem with your business credit, it would be difficult to get an approval. To be sure, check your business credit report at least 6 months in advance and do the necessary steps to improve your rating before applying for a merchant account.
On the other hand, having a good to excellent business credit history would surely win you a quick approval. If you can prove that your business has been running smoothly for a considerable period of time, and that you have a good business partnership with your suppliers, achieving a merchant status wouldn’t be difficult at all.
Accepting Credit Card Payments
Once approved, you’re now ready to accept credit card payments. See to it that you clearly understand how the processing of credit card payments work. Your merchant account provider should give you all the assistance and support you need to make sure that unnecessary problems would be avoided.
As the owner, you should also be aware on how you can protect your business from the risk of identity theft and credit card fraud. Before accepting credit card payments, you should be completely prepared in handling your incoming credit card transactions.
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About the Author:
Melanie James has spent the last 14 years working with businesses to implement quick, effective and inexpensive changes to their businesses to increase productivity and their bottom line.