You have spent the past hour assisting a customer with putting together the perfect suit for an important interview. Everything on the suit matches perfectly, from the tie and handkerchief down the socks and cufflinks. Now, finally, the moment of truth has arrived. You ring everything up, and then it happens. “Excuse me, but can you process tap credit card payments? It’s the only card I have on me today.” And, just like that, an hour of painstaking attention to detail is gone in a flash. There’s got to be a better way to accept credit cards for small business.
Business owners have all been, at one time or another, in a state of confusion around just what is the best way to accept credit cards for small business. As technology continues to evolve, adding virtual wallets and tap cards to the mix, the choices are seemingly endless. Card usage will continue to grow, and with some businesses going cashless, it is imperative that you are able to process tomorrow’s payment choices today to stay ahead of the curve.
It is well known that processing fees may take a bite out of the bottom line, which serves to create artificial limitations for some business owners. This is an outdated theory, however, especially when the science shows that people using credit cards spend more than cash or debit card customers. You know that you must accept credit card payments for small business to retain your competitive foothold, but what should that look like?
Deciding Between Merchant Accounts vs. Payment Service Providers (PSPs)
The first decision you will need to make is in determining the basics around how cards will be processed, and ultimately how you get paid. The old standby has been to use merchant accounts for credit card transactions. This is a simple approach and operates as a form of bank account. Approved credit card purchases are placed into this account, eventually ending up in your business account.
These typically come with contracts, which can be detrimental. For example, have you ever seen a sign in a café saying they do not process card transactions unless purchases exceed a certain amount? This is a telltale sign of a merchant contract at work. Contract terms in this scenario, once set, are very difficult to change or exit while being laden with various fees, potentially leaving you in a detrimental state as the volume of your transactions increase. Also, many merchant account providers do not include the equipment as part of the contract, forcing you to locate your own equipment to purchase, or to lease from your merchant account provider for additional expense.
A far more modern and flexible approach is the payment service provider (PSP) model. These solutions provide innovative, all-in-one payment processing, and have been a hit with small business owners in recent years. This solution offers more clarity and scalability. With a PSP in place, you can accept card payments without the hassle of opening a merchant account. PSP-enabled solutions can be integrated into a modern POS platform, giving you the power and ease of having one system in place running your operations. The overall lack of fees, combined with flexible contract terms, gives you an edge and helps you to maintain flexibility in an always-changing business climate.
Knowing Your Next-Gen Credit Card Payment Options
You will realize a wide range of cost and operational efficiencies when you select the correct credit card payment processor for your business. However, this will be in vain if you misalign your payment processor with credit card payment options that your customers have no intention of using, or are simply too far out of date to be relevant. Understanding the options you should offer is dependent on multiple factors, including the ability to accept mobile payments in store or internet payments in an omni-channel scenario.
At a glance, accepting payments in a physical location has not changed all that much in the past 30 years, save for the greater presence of chip and EMV readers. The customer presents a payment option, the transaction is processed, and everyone goes about their day. But, is that really the case? The answer here is simple: absolutely not. As the lines continue to blur between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar, you must be ready to accept credit cards while living in both the physical and virtual business world.
Store credit card terminals must now be able to take chip-enabled cards and handle the growing popularity of tap to pay cards and smart wallets. If you are operating with an omni-channel model, you want to be able to accept secure transactions from the same payment options as you offer in store. This must include processing mobile payments and returns via a virtual terminal. Virtual terminals allow for improved flexibility, as your staff can accept credit cards for small business and process transactions from anywhere in the store. Restaurants gain valuable production time back from wait staff when meals can be paid for at the booth.
Maximizing Customer Convenience in Food Service
Foodservice business owners are always on the hunt for improvements that can boost sometimes razor-thin profit margins. The types of payments accepted, as well as the flexibility of the POS solution used, contribute to just how efficient the transactions are for the business. From fine dining restaurants to the café, to growing bars and breweries, QSRs, and food trucks, each can see boosts to the bottom line when the right card processing capabilities are in place.
Apps allow food truck operators and food delivery drivers the ability to accept credit cards for small business while on the road, sending all details about the transaction to the same system that in-house orders are stored. This keeps transaction balancing and inventory management activities consistently accurate. Sit down restaurants can take orders and payments at the table, and QSRs can establish ordering and payment kiosks to free up staff to do what they do best: service the customer.
Modernizing is the Best Way to Accept Credit Cards for Small Business
Modernizing the way you handle payments is a critical element in achieving success in today’s business world. As technology evolves, you must keep pace with payment processing trends and accurately match this to customer expectations. This empowers them to frequent your business in a way that best suits their needs without the worry or hassle of having to use a non-optimal payment method. Leveraging modern POs technology, when integrated with the best credit card processing scenario for your operation, gives you the additional benefit of optimized operations through omni-channel or endless aisle scenarios.
Even if you do not present an endless aisle to your customers today, statistics indicate that you will be five years from now. With 32% of consumers now making endless aisle purchases, you will need to be ready for the inevitable. This means accepting payments from mobile devices. This could also mean getting rid of the front counter, as sales associates greet customers in the aisle and process transactions on a tablet or smartphone device right there in the aisle. It will mean allowing customers to pay for an item while on the train, so they just need to walk in, scan a QR code, and receive their product.
Making these choices is complex, especially considering all of the product and functionality options on the market today. Staying on top of contracts, maintenance, and equipment all can have a negative impact on your time and your sanity. Engaging an experienced third party can make all the difference in the world, and will ensure that you are making the right choices when deciding to accept credit cards for small business success.
Seeking the best way to accept credit cards for small business success can be a complicated process, and talech is here to help. Our solutions are customizable to fit any business need or budget and will help you focus on the bigger picture while we focus on keeping your credit card processing secure and running in a best-practice state for your business and your customers. Contact us today to get started on the path towards credit card processing freedom.
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