Article Contributed by Jessica Sanders
While there are a number of important aspects you’ll need to get in order as a new or current small business owner, one of the most important, though seemingly trivial, is credit card processing. You’ll need to choose the right merchant, work with the right vendors and make the process customer friendly.
There are 6 key components to keep in mind when considering how you’ll handle your credit card processing; from vendor to customer satisfaction.
1. Merchant Fees
Most companies will charge a fee per transaction – it’s a standard process that every business will have to budget into their overall finances. However, some charge a lower fee than others, and that will give you flexibility in credit payments. Look for a merchant that charges 2 – 2.5% or less. This will be ideal for you as it gives you more freedom to accept a variety of payments.
2. Funds Submission
If your customer makes a payment on Monday, they don’t want to wait a week to see the funds taken from their account. Often times, customers don’t are oblivious of this step, leading to over spending on their part. When that happens, your customers may blame you, at which time you turn to your merchant. Be sure to find a provider that has a fast fund submission process – you’ll want to read reviews and get references.
3. Debit versus Credit
Some vendors will charge more for one or the other – usually giving precedence to debit, as funds need to be in the account for the original authorization to process. Many businesses combat this problem by offering convenience fees for customers who choose to use the least expensive method of payment.
4. Customer Experience
This is your main source of interaction with the customer, thus you want the process to be quick, easy and seamless. While the process itself should be user friendly and non-labor intensive, security is a main aspect of the process, especially online. Be sure every transaction has verification steps to allow your customers the comfort of knowing they can purchase safely with you.
5. Authorization Time
While most merchants will boast fast authorization times, 5 seconds or under, this isn’t always the case. It’s safe to assume your customers are busy, and want to get in and out. Long authorization times mean lower customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Finally, your customers are diverse – while you may have a specific audience you target to, they won’t all be paying with Visa cards, and so it’s important that you cater to their specific needs. Whether you know the main vendor used by your customers or you choose to accept all cards, convenience is critical.
Credit card processing seems like a simple task in the grand scheme of things. However, it’s a main source of interaction between your business and your customer, thus it’s important that you place a priority on getting it right. Finding the right merchant and accepting the preferred vendors of your customers will go a long way for customer satisfaction and sales.
About the Author
Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer touching on topics that range from social media to POS systems and accounting software. She is a professional blogger and web content writer for ResourceNation.com.