Payment Processing from a Business Owner’s Perspective


Managing a business of any size is a full-time job. Even after you have gotten your company off the ground, there is always more to do. Keeping up with the competition requires constant diligence, and oftentimes you may have to scrap an old strategy and regroup for a new one.

One thing no business can afford to do is turn away potential customers. In this day and age, people use all sorts of forms of payment, and if you can’t accept their chosen transaction type, they will most likely take their business elsewhere.

For years, many establishments could get away with only accepting cash. But those days are long gone. Many business owners may be intimidated with making the change to accepting multiple forms of payment, but with a merchant services account, it is easier than ever.

A merchant account provider can help you process debit and credit cards, guarantee checks, accept online payments, and even set up gift and loyalty card programs. Here are a few ways a merchant services account can help your business prosper.

Credit and Debit Card Processing

The most common way for businesses with a physical location to process credit and debit cards is through something called a retail swipe terminal. This terminal is simply a machine that you swipe the customer’s card through. The information is then transferred directly to your merchant account provider. The funds go through a series of complex transactions, all handled by your provider, before they are deposited in your checking account within a few business days.

Different providers offer different styles of retail swipe terminals. Some require a signature and others instantly approve the card. Some let your customers key in their PIN numbers on a screen and others have buttons. Talk to your account provider about what style is right for your business.

If you have a business that takes you on the road, these traditional swipe terminals aren’t going to work. Touring bands, delivery drivers, and vendors that travel to different locations can accept debit and credit cards through a wireless terminal.

With a wireless terminal, you can still physically swipe a credit card from just about anywhere. Even if you are outside of a coverage area, many wireless terminals allow you to save that information and then send it when you get back to within the signal range.

Make sure you read the fine print before signing on with any merchant services account. In some cases they will offer “free” swipe terminals in exchange for signing a long-term contract. However, if you decide to switch providers, they will then charge an exorbitant fee for the terminal. Know what you are getting yourself into before you sign anything.

Check Acceptance

Any business can accept checks without a merchant account provider, but they also come with a world of hassles. They take a few days to process, turn into a stack of paperwork, and you always have to worry about finding out the customer had insufficient funds in his account.

All of those worries disappear when you sign up for a check acceptance program through a merchant account provider. They can guarantee every check that comes through your door so you never have to worry about them “bouncing” ever again. Not only that, but they will expedite the processing time and digitize your records, cutting down on paperwork. Sure, you don’t have to use a merchant services account to process your checks, but you will be glad you did.

Online Payments

If you sell products or services through your website, it is essential that you can handle online credit card payments. The majority of all transactions made over the Internet are paid for via debit or credit cards.

But some business owners may worry about the security of accepting payment through the Internet. This is understandable, as there are certainly those out there who troll the web for vulnerable sites.

When you sign up for a merchant services account, however, you will be equipped with fraud detection software and full PCI-compliance. This way, you and your customers can feel confident that every transaction will be perfectly safe and secure.

Gift Cards and Loyalty Programs

When someone comes into your business and has a lovely experience, they may want to share that experience with their family and friends. Gift cards are a terrific way to allow them to do that. These purchases essentially serve as a cash advance to your business. Not only that, but many cards go unredeemed or under-redeemed. That adds up to free money for you.

Loyalty programs keep your best customers coming back again and again. You and your merchant account provider will work together to set up a plan that will give your customers incentives to do their business exclusively with you.

These are just a few of the many ways that a merchant services account can help for businesses of all sizes to grow and prosper. Don’t ever face the possibility of having to refuse payment again. Accept all transaction types with ease by teaming up with a merchant account provider.