Your small business will need more than just a Point of Sale or POS machine in order to process credit cards; you have to have a service that handles the credit card processing. Once you’ve determined who is going to process your credit cards, you can accept credit cards over the internet, use a swipe function on some cell phones, or the credit card processor may give you a machine as part of a promotion, or they may offer to rent or sell you a credit card processing machine.
Finding the Right Credit Card Processing Company for Your Business
There are big differences in what Credit card processing companies charge for monthly fees, transaction fees, and statement fees. Some of the fees are flat, per charge or per month rates, and some of the fees are a percentage of the sale.
You need to compare not only the fees of the credit card processing providers, but what cards they accept, and what type of service they provide. Your business may not be open 24 hours, but if you have questions or problems, you may want to contact the processing company after your business hours.
Then you need to access where and how you will be taking the credit card numbers from customers. If you have a physical store front or presence, and an online store, then you need to make sure the credit card processing company offers merchant accounts that give you the flexibility to do both. You may even want to use your cell phone to process a credit card if you ever go out to client’s homes or businesses.
One problem in finding the right credit card processor is that banks will often refuse to offer merchant accounts to the small business without having a third party handle the transactions.
Besides having different fees, these processing companies can also have slightly different rules governing the use and handling of credit card transactions. There are other steps involved if you have online credit card purchases. You shopping cart will have to interface with an online gateway system. So the shopping card you have or choose has to work with the online gateway system of the credit card processing company that you select.
Applying for a Merchant Account
To get an account with a credit card processing company you will have to apply. You may have to accept an in person visit to your primary place of business, whether that is your home, a retail store, restaurant, or any other type of business location. This representative of the credit card processing company may take a picture of your office to prove you are located at the address you have given them. Some companies will allow you to send them this picture instead of taking it in person.
Other things you may need to provide include:
- A copy of your business license or the DBA (doing business as) certificate
- Profit and loss statements
- A copy of your previous years’ tax return
All processing companies require both deposit and withdrawal access to your bank account once you are approved. This will allow them to make the deposits of all transactions and if there is a chargeback, it will allow them to withdraw the funds.
There are portable machines, wired machines, dedicated machines and dial up machines. There are apps and physical options you can add to your cell phone to process credit cards. You need to figure out when and where you will want to process credit card transactions. Then a quick look at processing offers will show that there are many companies that offer a free Terminal, free set up, discounted or free applications fees, and other options that include online reporting of the day’s transactions.
Finding the right credit card machine or terminal, means you have to first find the right credit card processing company to meet your business needs. There are many options available and understanding your business requirements will help you make the best choice. The credit card processing companies vary greatly in their rules, the fees, and their offered services. Besides comparing the pricing, the terminals or credit card processing machines, and the services, you should also look for reviews on the processing company to see what others say about the service they provide.
Once you have picked a processing company, you can see what type of machines they provide, if they offer any free or through a promotional discount. Some companies will allow you to purchase your own machine, but then they will not service the machine. The credit card terminal will go hand in hand with choosing a processing company.