Without having the ability to accept credit card payments and other payment options, even the best retailers can’t expect to stay in business for very long. These days, consumers have more payment options at their disposal than ever, and they expect to be able to use any of them when making purchases online and in brick-and-mortar stores.
At Abtek, we understand how confusing it can be to find a company that provides affordable, secure, effective credit card processing options and other essential services for merchants. From accepting online payments to being able to reverse chargebacks quickly and easily, there are lots of things to take into consideration.
Seven Things to Consider When Shopping for Merchant Services
- Pricing. Yes, pricing is important. No one wants to pay more than they should for their ecommerce and merchant account needs. Still, pricing shouldn’t be your one-and-only motivator when looking for a provider. POS systems providers often lure people in by advertising rock-bottom rates. All too often, though, the rates aren’t all-inclusive, and you end up getting nickel-and-dimed in the long run. Furthermore, it’s far better to pay a little more for processing that’s truly effective, reliable and secure than it is to save a few bucks and end up with something that falls far short of delivering the quality you need and deserve.
- Flexibility. If you’ve ever dealt with credit card processing companies before, you already know how important this factor is. Many providers are only set up to deal with small businesses, for instance. If your needs change, evolve and grow – which they will, with any luck – the last thing you’ll want is to have to find a new provider. In other words, the provider you choose should offer flexible, scalable solutions. You may not be interested in mobile merchant accounts now because you do the majority of your business in your store. What if that changes, though? Having to switch is a major burden, so choose a provider that offers flexible, open-ended solutions.
- Transparency. This tends to be a major issue in the industry. As mentioned previously, it’s not unusual for providers to advertise seemingly low prices only to turn around and charge all kinds of extra fees later. You shouldn’t be in the dark about a provider’s prices or capabilities, and you should know exactly what to expect when it comes to things like fees, conditions and rates.
- All-In-One Solutions. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re going to have to use different providers for different needs. There are plenty of all-in-one providers out there. Finding a single provider for everything from virtual terminals to credit card storage is perfectly doable, and it’s much more convenient to have everything delivered by a single company. Even if a provider is only lacking one service you need, you should cross it off your list and move on.
- Security. Nothing can ruin a company’s reputation like a security breach. Whether you’re mostly interested in POS systems or in online payment processing, the provider you choose should make security a top priority at every level. Don’t settle for a generic promise about security, either. Dig deeply, and ask for details. How exactly will your online payments and other services be kept safe and secure? What measures does the provider take to keep your information and your customers’ information out of the wrong hands? There should be no doubt in your mind that the provider takes security seriously.
- Reputation. In this day and age, there’s no excuse for not fully vetting a company that provides merchant services. Your first stop should be the Better Business Bureau website. Find out what the provider’s rating with the BBB is and whether any complaints have been filed in the recent past. Perform an online search to look for reviews from everyday business owners regarding the company in question. What does the general consensus seem to be?
- Specialization. Finally, pay attention to the kinds of companies that the provider has helped in the past. Ideally, choose a provider that has a proven track record for helping other companies in your industry.
As eager as you may be to find a great merchant services provider, don’t rush the process. It’s far better to take your time and make the right choice now than to backtrack and have to find yourself back at the drawing board. With these tips in mind, zeroing in on the right provider should be fairly easy.