Find help accepting credit cards for small business
Move to the card economy for smarter, faster, easier payments
Is your small business ready to grow your customer base? Are you ready to get more payments from more customers? Ready to start accepting credit cards? Did you know that by 2017, less than a quarter of all POS payments will be in cash? The sooner you move to card acceptance, the sooner you will realize the benefits. Moving from a cash-based business model to a model that accepts credit and debit requires some revisions — but finding the right solution will make the move easier and more cost effective, and potentially more profitable. Here are the key factors to consider when making the big leap.
Finding a merchant account provider
The first step in accepting credit cards in a small business is to find the right merchant account services. The merchant account becomes part of the heart of your payments business. The merchant account services provider, which is often also the payment processor, manages credit payments among all of the players—you, your customer (the cardholder), and the credit card bank (the issuer). Merchant account services and similar companies come in many different shapes and sizes – which is good news for your company, because it makes it easier to find a package that fits your unique situation. Look for an account services and payment processing company that is used to working with smaller business on their first credit systems and can help provide what you need easily. Merchant accounts today can also be highly-specialized to include features that are unique to your type of business. Learn more about merchant account types and accepting credit cards.
What payment types do you want to accept? Typically you have a certain amount of customization here, including the ability to add processing for additional payments. It's worthwhile to sit down with customer data and find out just what kinds of payments you want to accept: Do you want to give customers the ability to pay with digital wallets? Does this require a separate service, or is it offered as part of a package? Do you need processing for all credit card types, or only a few? What about debit cards? You can see how these choices will affect your future sales. It's a good idea to start small unless you already have a very accurate idea of what payment options customers want.
Online or Offline
This step is closely connected to deciding your payment types: Do you want brick-and-mortar card processing, online card processing, or both? This depends not only on your current business model, but also where you want to take your business in the future. Online business is much easier to grow when you can accept a variety of credit cards as well as other payment options. As you establish your merchant accounts and shape your thinking about accepting credit cards, ask questions about the range of channels that you'll have access to.
Choosing Your Hardware
Hardware is both a very important part of the payment process and can be a significant upfront investment for small businesses. Choose the type of hardware you want carefully — and think about if you want to rent or buy. Common options include:
- POS devices: chip card readers, card readers, swipers, and PIN terminals. Today's most modern devices not only enable EMV, or chip card, payments, they may enable mobile wallet payments, such as Android or Apple Pay, that rely on near field communication. POS devices typically, however, do not include more advanced software configurations or integrations that include inventory management, order management or loyalty/CRM programs
- POS systems: a point of sale system is a more complex offering that tends to integrate payment authorization technology with your register and computer, all of which are often integrated with other back end systems that you use to run your business, such as inventory and order management.These systems often work best for businesses with a large of rapidly changing inventory and across specialty businesses that require payment integration with back-end systems. In many cases, POS systems are specifically designed for niche markets such as medical/dental practices, property management businesses, retail concerns etc.
- Mobile payment processing: moving beyond mobile wallet acceptance, mobile payment processing POS (mPOS) offers lightweight, portable card readers that can be attached to tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices. Here, the type of software is very important, typically customized based on the type of business. If you have the freedom to adopt a mobile purchase system, there are cost reduction benefits to choosing this option. mPOS systems also offer more mobility where you can serve customers in-store, on-site, in-office and on-the-run
Moving from a cash-based business model to a model that accepts credit and debit requires significant revisions — but finding the right solution will make the move easier, more cost effective, and potentially more profitable. Contact Vantiv to learn more about your options.