If you are a new business owner researching credit card processing, you have probably been bombarded by an overload of advertising and marketing pieces from merchant service providers asking for your business. You may be wondering, “What does a merchant service provider even do?” Merchant Service Providers (MSPs) have three primary functions that assist businesses with credit card processing–the processing itself, credit card data security, and customer service.
What Is a Merchant Service Provider?
A Merchant Service Provider (MSP), also known as a credit card processing company, is an entity that enables businesses to accept credit cards, debit cards, and other forms of electronic payment, providing all of the hardware, software, and services necessary to do so. They are a third-party company, acting as a liaison between a business, their customer, and the credit card companies to ensure payments are processed in compliance with industry standards. Whenever issues arise with merchant accounts, POS systems, or payment gateways, MSPs take the call.
A Merchant Service Provider (MSP), also known as a credit card processing company, is an entity that enables businesses to accept credit cards, debit cards, and other forms of electronic payment, providing all of the hardware, software, and services necessary to do so.
What Does a Merchant Service Provider Do?
There are three primary functions of a Merchant Service Provider–credit card processing, security, and customer service.
Provide Your Business with the Ability to Accept Payments
Merchant Service Providers assist businesses with credit card processing and all of the hardware and software that it entails.
- Merchant Accounts – MSPs provide businesses with merchant accounts so that they can accept credit and debit card payments. They are responsible for depositing funds from credit and debit card sales into business bank accounts. Learn more about this process in our blog, How Does Credit Card Processing Work?
- POS Systems – MSPs equip businesses with point-of-sale systems including credit card terminals, computer displays, and desktop or tablet-based software that allow for inventory management and the sales monitoring. They can also provide mobile POS systems that include a card reader and app for a smartphone or tablet.
- Payment Gateways – MSPs provide online businesses with secure payment gateways, software for their website so that they can accept payments over the internet.
Ensure You Are PCI Compliant
Merchant Service Providers protect customer information, thereby keeping the businesses they work for compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). They secure data at every touch-point, including payment gateways, POS systems, and merchant accounts. If you are a new business owner and just now learning about the PCI DSS, you can learn more at pcisecuritystandards.org.
Troubleshoot Payment Processing Issues
Sometimes merchant accounts freeze, POS systems malfunction, or payment gateways error out. Merchant Service Providers have customer service agents who respond quickly to emergency calls, coming onsite if needed to fix the issue. If you have a POS system that glitches frequently, it may be time to Upgrade Your POS System.
If you are interested in accepting payments at your business, Merchant Service Providers can get you setup, secure, and provide continuing customer service. For businesses located in Alaska, Cornerstone Credit Services offers in-state support for faster setup time and response. Learn more about why Cornerstone is the preferred Merchant Service Provider for Alaskan businesses!