Credit Card Processing Basics: How Merchant Accounts Can Help Any Business


There are some things that will never lose their appeal. Driving a convertible on a sunny summer day is always a blast. Smelling freshly baked cookies when you walk in the front door of your house will make your mouth water every time. Seeing someone you love laugh and smile will always warm your heart.

But nostalgia doesn’t always extend to every corner of our existence. Nobody out there is pining for the days of transistor tubes and 8-track players. Sometimes there are things that have to be let go, and rightfully so.

One thing that is quickly becoming a thing of the past is running a cash-only business. In today’s modern age, more and more people demand to be able to pay with their credit and debit cards. Beyond mere convenience, it oftentimes just feels safer to walk around without a wad of cash in your pocket. Nobody wants to lose their money or, at worst, get robbed. Plastic gives people peace of mind.

When consumers are out and about in this day and age, they expect to be able to use their credit and debit cards. If your business doesn’t accept them, they will just find another one that does. We all know that times are tough. Not taking advantage of credit card processing services when your competition is could spell trouble for your business.

There are all kinds of ways that credit card processing through a merchant account can help your business. For example, let’s say you run the little corner store down the block. You have been cash-only for years but you are finally sick and tired of sending people down the block to the ATM.

Sure, you could get a cash machine of your own but then you are just passing the surcharge on to your customers. They aren’t dumb. They’ll pick up on that. The truth is that getting a swipe terminal for your countertop isn’t actually that expensive. Many merchant account providers will actually throw them in for free when you sign up for your account. Just make sure there aren’t any hidden charges if you decide to change providers.

One of the nice things about these countertop swipe terminals is that they actually have some of the lowest processing fees. Your account provider knows that when people pay in person there is a far lower risk of fraud. Thus, they don’t kill you on the fees.

The traditional swipe terminals also process both debit and credit cards. The only difference is that when your customers use their debit card, the money is taken directly out of their bank account. Everything on your end is pretty much the same. After your account provider has processed the transaction, the money will be deposited into your business’s bank account in two to three business days.

Online businesses can also reap the benefits of credit and debit card processing through a merchant account. When people shop online, they expect to be able to use their credit information securely and a merchant account can ensure that this happens.

Your merchant account provider will set up a page linked to your website that will process your customers’ credit and debit card information while you don’t even have to lift a finger. You just have to worry about shipping the product once the funds have been transferred.

If your online business sells instantly transferable items such as documents, music files or videos, your merchant account provider can accommodate this as well. They will instantly approve the transaction and the files can be transferred over immediately.

Wireless processing solutions are another great advantage to a merchant account. Let’s say you run a busy electronics store where you need a lot of employees to help people answer questions. Traditionally, you would have one set of employees who would help answer people’s questions out on the floor and a separate set of employees who would check them out at the register.

With wireless credit card processing you can do these things all at once. Simply equip your salespeople or tech support staff with a wireless swipe terminal and they can check your customers out as soon as they have decided to make their purchase. Your staff and your clients will be thankful for the convenience. You can even keep track of commissions this way.

Another way wireless processing can help your business is if you make home deliveries or are selling items on the go. A pizza delivery guy can swipe his customer’s card and even add on a tip right at their doorstep. A traveling salesman can make his pitch and punch in a debit card at his client’s home. The possibilities are endless.

Whether we like it or not, credit and debit cards are only going to become a bigger part of our lives. The cash-only model worked for hundreds of years but its time has come and gone. The time to get on board with credit and debit card processing is now. Signing up for a merchant account today can and will help your business to grow and prosper in the future.