The five Ws of small business credit card processing:
An express guide with clear answers to common questions
If you are navigating the world of small business credit card processing for the first time, you’ve already demonstrated several key indicators of success. You’re smart and know that accepting credit and debit cards is essential for any successful business. You’re resourceful so you do your homework. You’re savvy and take the time to understand all your options.
Before accepting credit cards you’ll want to understand the basics of modern payments. Thankfully you’re following in the footsteps of business heroes who all asked the same essential questions:
- Why should a small business accept credit cards?
- Where do your customers want to pay you?
- What equipment do I need to accept credit cards?
- Who should I contact to learn more?
- When should I get started?
WHY should a small business accept credit cards?
Your business will make more money. Customers spend more when they use credit cards, they make purchases more frequently, and they make more impulse purchases versus those with cash. More customers, more repeat customers, and customers spending more money mean more sales for your growing business. That’s smart!
You’re official. When you accept payment from the world’s leading financial brands such as Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, you show the world that your business is legitimate. When you set up your business to process credit cards, you’ve brought your business into the economic mainstream. This increases trust with potential customers and gives them confidence that your business is official.
Your small business will run more efficiently. Credit card processing offers an official record of transactions, making business accounting and tax preparation easier. Modern payment acceptance methods mean less cash that needs to be counted, stored, and transported. Credit card processing is often the fastest route to make your funds accessible in order to pay employees, vendors, and other bills.
The world of card processing offers countless benefits and opens limitless possibilities for your growing business. As someone just getting their business off the ground, you probably aren’t thinking about merchant financing, gift and prepaid cards, data analytics, or loyalty programs, much less international expansion. But all these doors and more will be waiting for you when your business is running on all cylinders.
WHERE do your customers want to pay you?
That may sound like a silly question. “My customers want to pay me at my store!” When you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that answering this “simple” question actually requires a lot of thought, one that offers a roadmap to how your business is likely to unfold.
Consumers demand options. Credit card processing providers have responded with more and more ways to pay. The good news is that this means an expanded footprint for your cash register. The flipside is that your options are more complicated compared to ten or even five years ago. Let’s take a look:
Accept credit cards in-store. You may want a simple credit card terminal or fully-integrated POS system. Mobile payments and EMV technology are on the rise and show that your business is committed to the future. But what if you want to free up your staff from sitting behind a fixed checkout area?
Accept credit cards on the go. Trade show? Street fair? Pop-up event? Mobility is now, with secure options to accept mobile payments anywhere available such as dongles that attach to your mobile phone or tablet.
Accept credit cards online. eMarketer estimates that global eCommerce sales topped a remarkable $2.3 trillion in 2017, a 24% increase over the previous year. With no slowdown in growth on the horizon, eCommerce IS commerce. If you want your fair slice of that massive and growing pie, you’ll need to set up credit card acceptance online as part of your eCommerce operation.
And that’s just the beginning. There are virtual terminals to accept credit card payments via mail order and telephone orders, recurring billing to enable subscription business models and otherwise better support your routine customers, and dramatic innovations in ACH (eCheck) transfers that offer potentially dramatic cost savings with ever-increasing processing speed.
WHAT equipment do I need to accept credit cards?
If you are operating a physical store location, you’ll want to explore options on point-of-sale (POS) terminals and integrated point-of-sale systems. Small retail business may find that a standalone terminal is all you need. Some terminals are now as small as a deck of playing cards! But if you run a larger retail operation, or a restaurant, an integrated POS may be your best bet. POS system are more and more sophisticated, acting as platforms for all sorts of apps to help you run your business.
The options don’t stop there. There are software solutions that turn any smartphone or tablet into a credit card processing terminal. Whichever terminal you pick, make sure it has EMV chip card in order to keep your customer’s data secure and to minimize your liability for fraud. You likely don’t need to purchase a hardware device until you have chosen a payment processing provider. But you’ll want to have an idea about what you need when you start searching and comparing credit card processing services.
WHO should I contact to learn more?
Current business owners can be a great resource to learn what works in the real world of credit card processing. Ask business owners about their experiences with payment processing and other merchant services providers. What works, and what doesn’t? Ask them about their experiences with credit card and payment processing companies, prices, software, and hardware. Your business is unique, but you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Learn from real-life experts.
Ask your business’s merchant bank or your POS dealer who they prefer to partner with for payments. And don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. Interchange rates? PCI-DSS? Tokenization? If all this terminology sounds Greek to you, turn to experts in credit card processing for help. Continue your research, ask lots of questions, and start a list of potential credit card processing providers.
Once you have a short list of credit card processor options, put your picks to the test with a payment processor comparison checklist. This simple checklist helps you narrow down the aspects of payment processing that are most important to your business.
Vantiv, now Worldpay, is one such option. Worldpay is the world’s newest global payments leader and the leading servicer of U.S. merchants. At Worldpay we’re thrilled to be able to offer our experience and capabilities to businesses of every size. We offer the individualized attention that every hero deserves, and we look forward to learning about the hero story of your business.
WHEN should I get started?
There is no time like the present! If you need more information, or have all your questions answered and are ready to get started, contact Vantiv, now Worldpay. If you know what your business needs, we have a customizable solution for every situation. Once you’ve made your decision, getting set up for small business credit card processing is fast and easy.
Whether you ultimately choose us or another processing solution, we want you to make informed decisions and to select the right equipment, services, and support for your business. Contact us today.
Small business owners stand as the heroes of our communities. Their successes are testaments that dreams still come true. Whether you are still in the planning stages, your doors are already open, or you’re somewhere in between, you’re well on your way to realizing your own dreams. Congratulations! Your light will inspire the business leaders of future generations.