How to Select the Right Small Business Merchant Account Provider

small business merchant account providerAccepting credit and debit cards can boost the sales and profitability of nearly any company, but doing so economically depends on choosing the right merchant account provider for small business. Merchants should research companies carefully to find not only the best price, but also the widest range of services and security measures designed to protect customer data.

Merchant accounts for small business not only allow you to accept credit and debit cards, but it provides a number of other benefits as well, including boosting sales, profitability and credibility. Customers expect to be able to make payments with credit cards, and will routinely shift away from merchants or service providers unable to offer their desired payment options.

The importance and value of accepting credit cards makes choosing the right merchant account for small business a critical success factor. With competition intense in the payment processing sector, many inexperienced merchant account providers for small business are trying to tempt potential clients with bargain-basement offers that hide expensive fees in the small print, a reduced range or quality of service, or, in the worst examples, both.

Instead of chasing low prices when selecting merchant accounts, small business owners should consider the benefits of aligning their business with an established industry leader that understands the payment processing needs of online and physical merchants, as well as service providers of all sizes.

For example, you’ll want to work with an experienced small business merchant payment processing provider who can offer your business the flexibility of accepting payments via dedicated point-of-sale terminals, wireless terminals, payment gateways, or mobile handsets. As your business needs change, you’ll be glad your merchant business services provider has the experience and flexibility to adapt as well.

Similarly, as you research your options, look beyond what appears to be a low price and carefully examine hidden fees that can influence your costs considerably. Consider your sales volume as well as your most common types of traffic. If most of your sales involve card-not-present transactions, for instance, investigate how that affects your pricing and service levels.

In addition, check with other merchants—either in your industry or city, or through online forums—to get a sense of how various processors are perceived in the marketplace. Someone who’s locked into an undesirable relationship with an ineffective processor is usually quite willing to help other merchants avoid the same mistake, and checking out word-of-mouth recommendations can help you avoid a lot of headaches down the road with your merchant account.

Small business owners also need to make sure their payment processor is constantly exploring the latest security practices and is fully compliant with requirements such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Ask questions about the security of the networks and channels that will be used to exchange data, and about the procedures used to help protect your company’s (and your customers’) confidential data from fraud or hackers.

Securing your customers’ personal and payment information is a critical factor that your company can’t afford to get wrong. The direct costs, embarrassment and lost sales associated with having to disclose a data breach can be devastating to a merchant, which makes checking out the security procedures used by your small business merchant account payment processor critical.

The importance of accepting credit and debit cards at your small business cannot be stressed enough, nor can the value of researching your small business merchant account payment processor carefully to make sure you select a one with the experience, fee structure and security procedures to meet your needs effectively. Contact us today to explore your options for a merchant account for small business.