Not all credit card processors are created equal: features you need in 2017
If you want to continue ringing up sales, your business needs credit card processors that embrace new technologies and the different payment forms they accept. You wouldn't want to lose out on a sale by turning off customers wanting to use their smartphones to make a purchase. This is why not all credit card processors are created equal. As a business owner, you need a service that works for you, not against you. After all, you are paying for a processor.
Let's take a look at the features you should look for in 2017 so your business can stay ahead of the curve.
An all-in-one merchant services package
Consider how your customers buy and where you sell. In-store, online, over the phone or even mail order—one, some, or any combination could be your focus and should inform how you choose a credit card processor. For convenience, efficiency and accountability select a merchant services provider that can handle all of your payment card transactions instead of just those through a specific channel. Consumer Affairs advised companies to weigh their brick-and-mortar versus online sales and consider a card processor that handles both.
If you have a physical store, you will need either a credit card terminal or point of sale system along with a merchant account to process in-store payments, Business News Daily pointed out. However, you also need an eCommerce solution for your online transactions.
You'll want to get as much feature-functionality as you can from a single credit card processor. More connections, more opportunities for breakage and problems in general.
EMV-chip card readers
There's no way around it. Your store needs a payment processor ready to equip you with terminal or POS devices ready to read chip cards (or EMV cards and acceptance). These EMV credit and debit cards store the cardholder's financial information on a microchip (that noticeable metallic square) embedded in the card rather than on the traditional magnetic stripe on the back. EMV chip cards are designed to thwart fraudulent card presentation and help deter fraud generally. And, remember, as of October 1, 2015, liability for fraudulent charges made at physical points-of-sale shifts back in the direction of the least ready party in the transaction. That means, if your customer presents a chip card, but you don't have a device ready to read it, you're likely going to foot the bill for fraud and not the card issuing financial institution.
Mobile processing capabilities
If you're a small-business owner or entrepreneur and take your shop or restaurant on the road or out to festivals let's say, a credit card processor that features mobile payment capabilities and card readers can help. Turning your tablet or smartphone into a payment card reader gives you the power to conduct business near-and-far from the store. This allows you to accept swipe cards instead of just taking cash from customers, expanding potential revenue.
As the popularity of mobile wallets such as Android Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay grows, you will need a system and processor that can easily scan smartphones and accept these forms of payment. The major wallets are enabled by near-field communication or NFC, which allows customers to tap NFC-enabled devices and transmit payments data securely to your device. With contactless payment technology such as this gaining more ground, and often considered more secure by consumers, a merchant must have the capabilities to accept this growing form of payment. There's some good news too—most of the terminal and POS devices that enable chip card reading also include the NFC technology, making terminal upgrades are smart idea.
Credit card fraud protection
Finally, safety and security are paramount. They're top of mind for your customers and should be top of mind for your small business. Look at fraud protection and data security the same way you look at your cross-channel payment needs. How do I solve for the most challenges with the fewest solutions? Today, many credit card processors offer smart bundles of integrated fraud and data security features that are integrated with your payments processing. Ask about features such as encryption, which protects data in transit, and tokenization, which protects it at rest. Understand how they might work as part of your data security standard. And, above and beyond chip card acceptance support, know what fraud detection and prevention services are available to you, as well as programs that support your compliance with PCI-DSS standards.