Pick the right merchant services provider for your business in retail! It can be tough to know which factors are important to consider when you’re just getting started with credit card processing. After 20 years in the industry, we think we’ve got it figured out–read our advice!
Note: This article assumes a basic knowledge of merchant services. If you would like to learn more about credit card processing fees and how credit card processing works, please read those articles before you proceed.
1. Compare Pricing Models
Many business owners–when they are just getting started with merchant services–make the mistake of comparing rates and choosing the lowest available option rather than comparing pricing models. Although a low rate may sound great, a higher rate from a merchant services provider with a better pricing model might be what’s best for your retail business.
The best pricing model for your retail business depends on a couple of different factors. For starters, certain pricing models work better for different businesses based on their transaction volume. Next, some pricing models in the credit card processing industry are inherently less transparent and honest than others, advertising low rates but hiding fees.
For most retail businesses, a pass-through, interchange-plus pricing model is the best fit. This is the most honest and transparent pricing model in the industry and it works well for most transaction volumes. For a complete discussion of the top 4 pricing models in the industry, please read our comprehensive article available at the link.
2. Assess Your Technology Needs
When considering merchant services, it is important to verify that the merchant services provider has all of the technology you need to accept payments at your retail business. An efficient and effective POS system is a must. Take a look at some of the features merchant services providers offer and determine how robust you would like your POS system to be.
Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems
No matter what industry you are in, retail or otherwise, you need a POS system that doesn’t freeze, blink, or shut down entirely. Inefficient or uncooperative POS systems create long lines for your customers, stress among your staff members, and decrease the number of sales you can make in a day. Choose a merchant services provider who offers a modern POS system as well as customer analytics, which is a must for making informed decisions for your business. In addition, pick a merchant service provider who offers an online application if you have an online store.
In your research for an efficient and effective POS system for your retail business, consider whether or not you would like to accept mobile payments. Mobile payment allows you to accept purchases made by your customers using their smartphone. It is predicted that the transaction volume of mobile payment could reach over $500 billion by 2020, positioning retail businesses who accept mobile payments on the leading edge of payment technology. Make sure your merchant services provider offers the ability to accept mobile payments with their POS system.
Customer loyalty programs can reap dividends for retail businesses. Their primary benefits include customer retention, advocacy, and referrals! If you would like to implement a loyalty program at your retail business, ensure the POS system your merchant services provider offers can integrate with whichever program you would like to offer.
3. Research Customer Service – Very Important!
Merchant services providers who are out-of-state can be notorious for poor customer service, leaving retail business owners to navigate endless phone trees and stay on hold for hours before the call is finally dropped. This can be a huge issue for money on hold in the retail industry where there are not a lot of reserve funds. Check the reviews of the merchant services providers you are considering. Perhaps try calling their support line to see if you can get through!
At Cornerstone, we believe that local merchant services providers are the best for customer service because they are held accountable to their clients by having a visitable, brick-and-mortar location in their area.
Pricing models, technology offerings, and customer service are all important to consider when selecting a merchant services provider. To learn more about what a good merchant services provider can do for you, read the article. At Cornerstone, we are so confident that we are the best merchant services provider for you, that we’re betting free coffee and pizza on your business! Learn more at the link.