Accepting Credit Cards is a Competitive Necessity for Today's Small Business
The consumer world is drastically different today, with immediate needs met instantly by retailers. Payment is no exception and businesses need to recognize that customers want goods and services fast. Because of this, accepting credit card payments is necessary in consumer purchase transactions for all businesses, large and small. The quick swipe, or dip, of a credit card or tap of a phone and having it processed immediately is crucial for making customers happy and keeping the payment process smooth.
The more efficient the payment processing the more invisible it becomes, allowing customers to focus on their positive experience. The moment accepting credit card payments becomes cumbersome, slow, and an overall hassle—customers notice and complaints or dissatisfaction ensues. Your merchant account provider should make sure your small business receives the service and efficiency it needs to stay competitive with consumers in today's business environment.
Today's small businesses also have more options than ever for accepted payments. Accepting credit card payments today includes everything from EMV chip card acceptance, to online payments and even alternative forms of payment including mobile wallet-driven transactions.
So what should your small business be looking for when it comes to accepting credit cards? Here are a few tips:
Customer Support for Your Business
Commerce is happening everywhere and it never stops. You should expect service that matches that reality. So whether it's issues with hardware or software, understand what your merchant account and credit card processing providers offer you for payment processing customer support. 24/7/365 is best, but understand what and who are available to you as you process payments in today's busy world. Understanding what support you can expect should include knowing how to communicate, where to communicate and with whom to communicate. It's also helpful to know if self-service portals are available.
Latest in Accepting Credit Cards and Other Payments
Accepting credit cards now means being ready to accept EMV chip cards at the point-of-sale. You need to understand what EMV-ready terminals are available to you and to learn more about how chip card acceptance differs from traditional swipe acceptance. While chip card acceptance might seem necessary for only the biggest of businesses, the fraud liability shift, effective October 1, 2015, affects all business accepting cards—even the smallest. If you're not ready to accept chip cards in-store, you're leaving yourself exposed to liability in fraudulent transactions that are made at your business which could very well end up costing you not only money, but your reputation as well.
Incidentally, many of today's EMV-ready terminals also are enabled with near-field communication (NFC) technology. This technology allows wallets within smartphones, such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay, to communicate with terminals in-store for payment authorization. And while the option for consumers to use contact-less payments has not changed everyday card transaction, more and more consumers are looking to mobile device driven options when it comes to your acceptance of credit card payments.
Ensure Card Payment Security
There are no bigger threats in the world of payments than data breaches and stolen card data. When a data breach occurs, the financial and reputational costs, especially for small businesses, can be staggering. The use of stolen card data used fraudulently online or within fraudulently manufactured cards creates even further cost across the payments system. Nothing is guaranteed but there are many smart steps you can take to secure your business and your customers. When you consider accepting credit card payments, know what's available to you from a fraud and security perspective. Understand how it works and how it protects. Many providers today offer bundled solutions, especially designed for smaller businesses, that make everything more secure and easier to manage. For example, point-to-point encryption protects card data as it's being transmitted for approval, EMV acceptance helps thwart the presentation of fraudulent or lost-and-stolen chip cards, and PCI compliance and breach assistance services can help you become and stay compliant or help you out in the unfortunate case of a breach.