Merchant services aren’t usually something a business loves. After all, it seems a scam to pay for something as integral to your business as receiving and processing customer payments. Worse, plenty of merchant account providers charge exorbitant fees without offering any valuable features or benefits. Unfortunately, many businesses fall for these providers, assuming there aren’t any better options on the market.
The truth is some merchant account providers are better than the rest. If you are on the lookout for trimming your operating expenses and improving your business’s productivity, you should look for a merchant account provider with the following amazingly advantageous features.
1. Up-to-Date Tech
Second-rate point-of-sale technology slows everything down — not only because the tech itself is slow but because modern consumers are generally more familiar with up-to-date payment systems. Customers are more likely to trust machines they have seen before, particularly those with touch screens and clear instructions, which helps transactions go smoothly.
Additionally, recent regulations require merchants to have EMV scanners to provide better data security for you and your customers, so seeing a merchant service provider offer a swipe-only terminal should be a bright red flag. Other futuristic features, like mobile payment abilities, are also noteworthy boons.
2. Mobile Payment Processing
According to a recent study, more than half of all consumers have connected a payment card with their mobile devices, and about a third of those consumers have activated Apple Pay, Android Pay, or Samsung Pay to use their devices as payment options in physical stores.
While these consumers certainly have alternative forms of payment, their early adoption of pay apps indicates their preference for the futuristic mobile payment system. Thus, merchants who aren’t mobile-payment capable might not lose customers immediately, but they do demonstrate to their customers an unwillingness to progress with payment technology.
3. Fast Payment Processing
Your business relies on the money processed by your merchant account provider, and the sooner you have it in your hand, the bigger and stronger your business can become. Yet, there are so many actions that facilitate the movement of money from the customer’s wallet to yours, and each one can cause the process to become painfully slow.
Having up-to-date technology is the first step to ensure you obtain your hard-earned cash — especially because some customers might become annoyed by slow service and leave you for a fast-POS competitor. However, your merchant account provider also should be adept at administering your payments quickly and efficiently. You might even look for one that provides a direct check system to simplify and accelerate the acceptance of written checks.
4. Feature Flexibility
Your business doesn’t have the same needs as the store next door; in fact, your business might not even need the exact same features that your competitors have. What is important is that you can obtain the features you need from your merchant services provider. Flexibility isn’t a particularly common quality amongst merchant services, but because no two businesses are exactly alike, it is important that you find one that appropriately addresses your payment concerns.
Already in 2016, there have been more than 538 data breaches in various US organizations. Cybercriminals are becoming more skilled in their ability to hack into corporate computers and less selective in their choice of targets, which means it is more important than ever that you have top-tier security on all your business’s data — especially customer information.
Your POS devices should have appropriate security measures, particularly data encryption, as payment terminals are often woefully under-protected and easy ins for smart hackers. You should also consider adding additional authentication procedures on your business’s devices to reduce the likelihood of employee error. Often, merchant account providers will bundle various security features together to make the process of becoming secure easier.
6. Reliable Customer Support
No matter how reputable your merchant service provider is, you will eventually have questions or concerns you need them to address, and when that day comes, you don’t want to realize you chose the wrong provider. Customer support is perhaps the most important feature of any business partnership you make; after all, if you can’t make contact, you might as well be going it alone.
A good way to test the customer service of potential providers is to ask questions before you sign any paperwork and to do so repeatedly for a few days before you make a decision. As long as they continue to take your calls and patiently and honestly answer you, you’ve found the right merchant services provider for you.
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