A customer holds her smartphone over a credit card payment processor.

Credit Card Processing: 8 Things to Consider

Whether you're new to accepting credit cards or just researching a carrier change, it's important to be prepared so you feel good about your choice. Here are a few things you'll want to keep in mind as you go through the process.

Understand interchange

An interchange fee is attached to each transaction and is the primary cost of accepting credit cards. It is a percentage of the transaction amount and is paid by you, through your merchant processor, to your customer's issuing bank. Interchange fees are determined by the payment brands (Mastercard, Visa, etc.) and vary depending on whether it's a credit card, debit card or reward card. Different card types carry different transaction risks and therefore fees vary.

Consider how you'll process 

Which cards will you accept?  Are debit cards on your list? What about pre-paid gift cards - think referral bonuses. Will you need mobile processing? Do you plan on using a basic terminal or will you process through your practice management software?

When will you receive funds? 

The industry standard is two business days, but depending on the company you choose, it could be longer. A fast turnaround is something most business owners highly value; reputable companies will transfer your funds as quickly as possible.

Review merchant agreements

However verbose they may be, it's important to review merchant agreements to ensure you understand all the terms and conditions. Don't be afraid to ask questions! We’ve talked to hundreds of people who can't get out of bad agreements because they didn’t review them closely. 

Think twice about enticement offers

Does it sound too good to be true? Then it probably is - and this advice is extremely important when it comes to credit card processing. Unethical providers may entice you with unbelievably low offers and rates, then hit you with a sharp increase or charge additional fees after you're in the door.

Choose a trusted company

There are literally thousands of sources that will sell you credit card processing. You can buy through the internet, from banks, through ISO (Independent Sales Organizations) or directly from the processing company. Many banks and all ISOs typically sell the services offered by a processing company. Understanding which organization will actually be servicing your account and providing support is very important. Ultimately it comes down to who you trust to provide you with the best and most reliable service at a reasonable cost.

Prepare to compare

Besides interchange, there are other basic costs of processing that you’ll want to compare such as: 

If you’re comparing offers, make sure you understand all the fees as well as terms and conditions so you can make a knowledgeable decision.

  • Transaction rates
  • Compliance fees (to protect you in the event of compromise or breaches)
  • Equipment costs

Keep an eye on equipment deals and fees

Credit card processing terminals can range from $100 - $500 or more depending on the capability. Reliable terminals should be upgradeable for the latest security and software updates. Be leery of companies presenting you with free terminal offers unless the offer is from a reliable source. You should also watch out for terminal equipment leases as they may require large penalties if you decide to cancel.

When you’re ready to shop or compare processing services, we invite you to consult with one of Professional Solutions’ fully-trained, non-commissioned representatives about the benefits of processing credit cards with us.

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