What should I look for in a merchant account?

All merchant accounts are not the same, so this is a very good question when you are considering where to apply or reviewing and comparing offers. These are the most important issues to consider.

  • Obviously, you want your processing fees to be as low as possible. However, make sure you understand all the fees that will be applied to your account. In addition to interchange fees and assessment fees, which are not negotiable, merchant account providers may apply numerous other fees as well, for such things as customer service, terminal leasing, cancellation, etc. These fees are negotiable.
  • An issue very much related to fees is the way a merchant account provider does business. Providers that explain their fees and procedures clearly build trust, which is critically important. In the event of unexpected chargebacks, a significant change in your company’s credit standing or other serious issues, you’ll want a processer you can count on to help you work through problems with as little disruption as possible to your business.
  • Volume Caps. Some providers put a cap on the number of transactions you can process in a month. If your business grows rapidly or if it is seasonal, caps can bring your business to a grinding halt.
  • Payment Security. Protecting against credit card fraud and other forms of identity theft is a major issue for any business that accepts credit card payments. Besides ruining the reputation of your business, fraud may result in litigation and very substantial losses. Your merchant account provider must have PCI-compliant systems that include tokenization, encryption and in many cases extra layers of fraud management protection.
  • Payment Integration. Merchant account providers have various solutions for hooking up their payment processing system to your operating system. Options need to be considered carefully. If your business software is not compatible or easily integrated with the provider’s payment solution, your business won’t be able to operate efficiently.
  • The Right Hardware. For brick-and-mortar businesses, processing hardware is directly related to the buying and checkout experience. Is your wireless internet system reliable enough to support wireless terminals, or do you need wired terminals? Will the terminals support the fully touchless checkout experience that many customers demand in the pandemic environment? If your account provider has the right tools, your business will be poised for growth and high levels of customer satisfaction.
  • Stability. Your relationship with an account provider is long-term. Has the provider been in business for a long time? What kind of customer reviews has it received? Does it have a good reputation within the industry? How strong is its customer service? Strong providers build strong relationships! Take time to get to know with whom you will be working before accepting an offer, no matter how tantalizing it may appear.

We’ve been in the payment processing industry for decades, and have built longstanding relationships with the world’s top merchant account providers, including ones that specialize in high risk merchant accounts. If you need help sizing up offers or need help securing a merchant account, we will provide the insight and support you need.

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