Merchant Accounts – How to Find a Good Provider!
For many small business owners starting out, making decisions on the financial end of things can be a daunting task. If your passion is to open a flower shop, used bookstore, or small house wares store, chances are you are a creative type of person who might find the “business” side of running your business tedious, needlessly confusing, even intimidating.
All businesses—even the smallest ones—can benefit enormously from providing debit and credit card transaction options, but to do so one needs to set up a merchant account. The process of choosing a merchant account provider can be a complicated one, with many different variables to weigh. For a small business owner without a business background, it’s hard to escape that nagging feeling that you are ill-equipped to ask the right questions when shopping for a merchant account provider—that you might get roped into a less-than-ideal plan or even be ripped off.
Armed with a few simple tips and knowing the right questions to ask prospective merchant account providers, however, you can approach the search with a higher level of confidence and find the best way to minimize your costs and find value and satisfaction in your investment.
- Communication. There is enormous range in the services offered and the fees charged among different merchant account providers. You should feel confident that they are being up-front with you about costs, including “hidden fees.” They should have a reliable, easily accessible customer and technical support line. If you obtain their customer service/technical support number you can test it by calling it at a variety of times throughout the week. Good customer service speaks volumes about the provider’s business as a whole.
- Obtain referrals. голова болит секс
This is another aspect of good communication between a provider and a potential customer. You should be able to get contact numbers of other companies using the provider. Phone them, and ask questions. What is their response time to customer service calls? Are they put on hold for long stretches when calling for customer/tech support? Are they satisfied with their rates, or have rates been raised unexpectedly? Have they been charged “hidden” fees they had not anticipated or been told about ahead of time?
- Have a well-thought-out business plan. If you’ve received a bank loan to help start your business, you will already have one prepared. A merchant account provider will also need a business profile. Having a sensible estimate of your potential costs and sales can also help a merchant account specialist assess your needs—and is especially important in determining your account limits. It is not commonly known that credit card processors will stop processing a business’ transactions if these transactions exceed the business profile: this is a safeguard against credit card fraud. Make sure your business plan takes into account projected growth, as well as potential increased sales during holiday periods. You don’t want to have credit card processing on hold for several weeks during peak season!
- Read the fine print. No matter how helpful your merchant account specialist is in explaining the terms of your agreement, it is ultimately your responsibility to carefully read your contract and understand what exactly you are being charged. Some merchant account providers will offer low introductory rates, which will be raised after a specific period. Other incentives, such as free equipment or very low basic rates, may be dangled in front of the customer. Remember: if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is! Many providers load a contract with numerous hidden fees—“administration” fees, “system access” fees, monthly maintenance fees, “warranty” fees, and so on—which may seem small on their own but can add up. Another thing to take note of: most providers charge termination costs. What is the penalty for early termination of your contract?
- Be honest in your estimates of sales and volume of business.
голова болит секс As mentioned above, your provider will use your business profile to set rates, and if your business dramatically exceeds estimates your provider may freeze your funds as a safeguard against credit card fraud. If you misrepresent your business for the sake of securing lower rates, you may be hit with severe rate increases or even dropped as a client by your provider.
It may take a little shopping around to find the merchant account provider best suited for your business, but putting in the effort is worth the satisfaction, sense of stability and peace of mind you will have when partnered with a reliable and fair provider.