Looking at your merchant services must-haves:
When it comes to considering what you need for payment processing, here are four must-have areas for your merchant services:
Businesses and consumers—we’re on-the-go more than ever. Your payments need to be on-the-go and you need to be ready to accept payments from consumers on-the-go as well. So what’s it all mean? Mobile acceptance and mobile wallets aren’t simply trends of the day. Whether it’s making sure that you can accept near field communication payments (that drive Apple Pay and others), have access to in-app payments, you need to be prepared for the emerging wallet-driven consumer. As for mobile acceptance, you need to have access to technology tools that let you sell in-store, on the road—via dongles and the like, and through internet-enabled solutions such the virtual terminal—which essentially turns any web connected device into a payment terminal.
Safety and security
You don’t need to be told how important security is. It’s a data world we’re living in. And, theft of data is a growing, ongoing emerging crime. You can help prevent fraud at the point-of-sale, through chip card (EMV) acceptance. You can help protect data on-the-go (encryption) during authorization and at-rest (tokenization) when data is stored for repeat use. Look for smart security offerings that bundle fraud and security features, often integrating them directly with payments acceptance. These help remove headaches for most small businesses and when part of a bundled, integrated service give you more peace of mind.
Merchant services that provide basic reporting is a good place to start. However, as your business grows, as you have more inventory, more locations and more staff, you’ll want more robust reporting to go along with you. Reporting that provides you with sales snapshots (by day/week/month/quarter/year and by location, employee) are ideal. Even better are reporting tools that help you track and reconcile inventory data, and allow you to reconcile payments and sales data with other back-end intelligence such as accounting. Again, more integration with back-end business and financial reporting systems that you already use is best.
Credit card acceptance, payment processing and merchant service should always do more than cost money. They should be important tools in helping you make money. Reporting that lets you know who your customers are and how they spend goes a long way in defining incentive and loyalty programs—letting you reward your customers. Gift and stored value card offerings not only become building blocks in incentive and loyalty programs, they’re valuable awareness and brand building tools for your business. Understand what offerings your merchant services provider has to help you realize more customers, more sales, and more profit.