These days every penny you spend in your business is important to your bottom line. Accepting credit cards is especially important for on-line or direct response marketers.
Why This Is Important
While many people don’t think of credit card processing as a part of the over-all marketing effort for their business, the right processor can not only save you money, but make the marketing process move more smoothly.
Businesses who are involved in direct response advertising or who sell products by the Internet of telephone often pay more for credit card services because they are considered “high risk.” And it can be a hassle to make everything work seamlessly on the Web site. Saving just a few cents per transaction can add up to big money each year.
Selecting a Credit Card Processor / Merchant Services Provider
You’ll want to ask lots of questions when you interview a Credit Card Processor or Merchant Provider — such as:
How soon can I get my money? – Next day receipt is possible in some cases, but you have to ask for it – and it may cost a bit more. When processing MasterCard, Visa or Discover you usually cane have the money deposited into your account within a few days. American Express can take four days before money is funded into your account. Generally the Credit Card Process has no control over when American Express pays.
What are the fees? – There is usually a monthly fee and a per-transaction fee , plus a percentage of each sale. There may also be a daily-fee or other charges. Be sure to review all charges — and compare “apples to apples.” You may also have a “set up fee” or other fee to open an account. Again, compare several sources before you pay a large fee up front.
What is the length of the contract? – Make sure you have a way to get out of the contract in case the provider does not live up to their agreement. Many companies will tell you they can do things such as next day funding, but they fall short in the delivery of those promises.
Merchant Service Providers
When reviewing your options for accepting credit cards, be sure to look at your bank first. They will know you and may be able to offer discounts since you already have an account.
Here are additional companies worth your review:
Advantage /Disadvantages of Accepting Credit Cards
It’s almost impossible to conduct businesses — either at a physical location or on-line. So most business have to accept credit cards. It makes it easy for your customers to transact businesses, and business can have their money quickly.
There are reasons to be cautious in accepting credit cards. In some cases, you can have some financial exposure. If a credit card is stolen, you may not know that for period of time. The Merchant Service Provider will deduct that transaction from you bank — and if you don’t have sufficient funds in your bank, you could have insufficient fund charges from your bank.
Also, the owner of a credit card can always dispute the transaction. If the customer thinks the product is faulty, the wrong color, or just about any reason, they can reverse the charge. That puts your business in the position of making it right. Generally, the credit card company takes the side of the consumer and you must “prove you are innocent.”
Common Scams Involving Credit Card Orders
It seems like every day criminals are looking for ways to separate business owners from their hard earned cash.
If you are operating an on-line store, you may be exposed to more risk than if your customer is in front of you at a retail store.
Here are some tips for reviewing on-line orders
- Review carefully orders that come in by e-mail or in a form that uses grammar that is not normal — such as “kindly advise”
- If you sell to business – you should be suspicious if the customer is using a gmail , hotmail or other free e mail account. An e-mail from an actual company is always better.
- If someone wants to send a “courier” or other third-party to pick up the order, that could be a “red flag.”