Choosing a Credit Card Processor

When considering a point of sale system for a small business, entrepreneurs naturally lump in questions about choosing a credit card processor. After all, the two items are linked together.

And while many merchants will likely go with a processor because they have heard of the company before, many experts say that the details of the card program are vitally important. Signing up for a bad deal could lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of fees with no way out.

Here are some other tips and questions to think about when choosing a credit card processor:

Ask about a cancellation fee.
The companies won’t advertise it up front but you should know if there’s a cancellation fee. Sometimes, you can get a lower transaction rate if you commit to a year or longer but ask up front about the fees if you do decide to cancel mid-way through the contract. After all, things change, business may not be as brisk as you thought it would be and you may need to pull the plug.

What is the customer support like?
The last thing you need is to find yourself unable to process payments late at night with no support to help you out. The networks go down from time to time and it can be extremely nerve-wracking when they do. After all, you have no way of taking transactions. It looks bad to customers and you may need help pushing the transactions through. Make sure the company offers live, in-person support during your hours of operation.

What fees will I be charged per transaction?
This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Different companies have different policies on fees and you’ll want a breakdown of everything that’s included and how the fees are calculated. Some may want to charge a monthly fee. Others will be strictly handling fees on a per transaction basis and it may be different depending on the card, the way the transaction is entered and other factors. Again, ask for the full list of fees associated with transactions.

How long is the setup time?

Since transactions are so routine in the United States, it may seem like it’s easy to get credit card processing set up quickly. Not always. The processor may need some amount of time to get your account set up and then to ship out the equipment. It probably goes without saying but make sure you test everything before you serve the first customers.

Have a question about integrating credit card processing with your point of sale system? Contact us today and we’ll get all of your questions answered.

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