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Accepting Credit Cards Checklist
Cash is still a popular method of exchange, but it no longer enjoys the supremacy it once did. In its place are more convenient payment options such as credit and debit cards. In fact, roughly 80 percent of U.S. consumers prefer using plastic instead of cash.
So if you don’t already accept credit cards, you’re likely leaving money on the table.
Getting started isn’t automatic, however. Below are some of the contemplation to factor in as you begin investigating credit card processing solutions.
1. Payment Security
Although credit cards are both fast and useful, they are also susceptible to abuse. Every year, criminals rack up an estimated $16 billion in fraudulent charges. By 2020, that figure could reach $35 billion.
Therefore you want a payment processor that specializes in PCI-compliant data security. Preferably, it should offer other fraud prevention tools to help safeguard your customers’ sensitive credit card data.
2. Processing Fees
All credit card transactions carry fees. They’re simply the cost of doing business. However, not every fee is mandatory. For example:
- As an online merchant, you don’t need to lease a POS terminal.
- As a brick-and-mortar retailer, you don’t really need a payment gateway.
3. Benefits & Perks
Some fees are avoidable, but others may be worth paying extra. For example:
- Payment integration can minimize time spent balancing books or updating CRM records.
- Advanced fraud protection tools can help reduce your exposure to identity theft and cybercrime.
Which Credit Card Processor Is Right for You?
Every merchant’s payment needs are unique, so it’s worth shopping around for credit card processing solutions that satisfy your business requirements. With so many options out there, making apple-to-apple comparisons can be pretty difficult.
- How do you know you’re getting the best probable deal?
- What add-ons are worth removing or including?
- How can you tell whether a processor is right for you?
To answer these questions (and many more), be sure to read the infographic by BluePay below. This resource walks you through the most important contemplations as you begin exploring your credit card payment processing options.
Click to open / Right-click for save options
ACCEPT CREDIT CARDS CHECKLIST
In order for your small business to succeed, it is crucial to realize that today’s customers aren’t buying the idea that “cash is king.” And if they were, they likely would be buying it with plastic. According to researchers, more than 80 percent of consumers list debit or credit cards as their preferred payment method. To keep them as customers, it’s essential that your business accept card payments. Consumers spend more when using credit cards anyway — enough to offset the processing fees — and they also want convenience and a fast checkout. Here’s a checklist of what you need to accept card payments.
ALL BUSINESSES MUST
- Determine where you will accept payments: in-store, online, via mobile device, or some combination of these
- Choose how to accept payments: use a credit card processing company, a third-party marketplace, or establish a merchant account with a bank
- Follow these guidelines in selecting how to accept payments:
- Compare fees, services, terms
- Get recommendations
- Ask what hardware (chip card reader, printer, etc.) and EMV-compatible equipment is included
- Ask if mobile processing is included
- Determine if the software used to run your business has a payment processing module to integrate payments into the system
- Ask how and when customer service is available
- Ask about extra benefits (electronic check acceptance, cash advances to your business, etc.)
- Negotiate a fair deal
- When applying for a merchant account, be sure to provide enough information for the card processing company to underwrite your business
- Compile evidence that you are a good risk
- Estimate volume of card sales and average transaction size
- Include the business legal/tax filing name and I.D. to ensure quick deposits to your business checking account
- Provide proof that your business is a legitimate business. You can do this by providing an advertisement of your business, in addition to the Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS.
- Select hardware (swipers, chip card readers, terminals) or software that will integrate with your system and account procedures
- Research and understand PIC compliance (mandatory security requirements to prevent breaches)
- Be aware that without EMV (chip card) technology, your business is liable for fraudulent transactions
- Make customers aware that you accept card payments (put credit card logos on door, invoices, website)
FOR ONLINE PAYMENTS
- Compare costs specific to taking online payments (transactions typically cost more because of higher risk)
- Select payment gateway software or Hosted Payment Form (equivalent to a retail terminal for an online business) where shopper enters card information
- Add shopping cart software that integrates with payment gateway and processor
FOR MOBILE PAYMENTS
- Select a credit card processing company, software, or app enabling mobile checkout, or a wireless terminal with chip card capabilities
- Alternatively, select a virtual terminal with either a card swiper or ability to key in card info
FOR IN-STORE PAYMENTS
- Determine hardware needs (complete point-of-sale system, traditional card swiper, chip card reader, printer, mobile device, PIN pad, etc.)
- Check all hardware/software for compatibility with store computer system
- Consider software with extras (inventory management, accounting features, etc.)
Brought to you by BluePay
CREDIT CARD PROCESSING FOR BUSINESS
AN AUTHORIZED OPTBLUE PROVIDER
About the Author
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm. She has more than 20 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management and marketing. Follow her on Twitter at @BluePay_CMO.