Opening a business is a major undertaking regardless of industry. Whether it’s your first business or your one-hundred-and-first, it’s a big deal. That’s why it’s important you remember to dot your i’s and cross your t’s before launching your business to the public—especially when it comes to your credit card processing.
If you own a small business in this day and age, you will need a way to process payments in person and online. Depending on your business and industry, one payment option might be more beneficial for you. For example, if you’re looking to launch a completely online business, you won’t have any need for a physical payment terminal. However, there are some things every businessowner should know about securing credit card processing for your small business.
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Credit Card Processing for Your Business
To secure credit card processing for your small business, you will need to find the right payment merchant services provider who will sign you up for a merchant account. Once you have this vital payment tool, you will be connected to a processor and the agreements of your service can be written up according to your business needs.
One issue new businesses often run into when finding a processor is their perceived risk. Big banks are likely unwilling or unable to give merchant accounts to first-time businessowners because they are considered “high risk.” Beyond being a new businessowner, there are other reasons services are denied, including bad credit, high chargeback ratio, or business type.
Despite the fact that it may be difficult to find a payment processor who can accommodate your business needs, there are plenty of processors with high-risk merchant services available. In fact, these providers may be easier to work with since they see similar cases on a more regular basis.
Finding the Right Processor for You
You’ll want to find a payment processor who has a good relationship with banks that support your industry and are comfortable with your business model.
A payment processor that offers or specializes in high-risk merchant services will have different features than a tier-one bank. These features, like chargeback mitigation and fraud protection, can help protect your business and accommodate your customers’ unique needs.
Partnering with a payment processor you trust will be essential to maximize your business opportunities and find a solution that works for you. For example, the right processor can get you set up with a virtual terminal. A virtual terminal is an online tool that processes credit cards online. This will allow you to take payments in person, online, and over the phone. The flexibility of the different payment options will be invaluable to your business because you’ll be able to reach a larger customer base and expand your income streams.
Steps to Bolster Your Business After Securing Your Merchant Account
It might take some time to compare all of the available merchant services providers available to you, as each will have different rates and unique features. After you’ve found the right payment processor for you, here are some steps you can take to make sure your expanded capabilities will drive your business’s growth.
Step 1: Utilize features unique to your payment processor
Processing online payments opens your business up to a whole new side of fraud risk, so you’ll want to be prepared. Features like chargeback mitigation and fraud protection can help your business meet its individual needs.
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Step 2: Optimize your website to support a payment gateway and increased volume
Once you’re able to take payments online, you’ll be able to serve a much larger number of customers and can begin to expand your infrastructure to suit their needs. You’ll want to make sure your website can support this increase in traffic and capacity.
Step 3: Keep abreast of state regulations
Depending on the industry your business belongs to, there may be specific qualifications you must aware of to conduct business. Each state has its own set of regulations businesses must comply with, so make sure you are up to date with the laws in your area. Utilize official resources to ensure your business is following protocol.
Step 4: Employ best practices for your industry
Each industry comes with its own best practices and specific measures to take. However, there are many general best practices you should be aware of before proceeding.
For example, record keeping is a highly overlooked practice for new business owners. However, it’s vital to keep all your records in order to minimize fraud, miscommunication, etc. This can be done by keeping your finances, workflow, and customer data organized and secure. The right financial services software can help you do this all in one place.
For small businesses, securing credit card processing is instrumental in maximizing your business opportunity. It’s also crucial to keeping you and your customers’ data secure. Without the right payment processor, your business could be at risk for fraud, data breaches, or interrupted service due to an unauthorized merchant account.
Whether you’re starting a retail business or turning to the internet, every business needs the ability to process credit cards and payments. Find the right merchant services provider for you and take the first step toward maximizing your business’s potential.
Allison Eilhardt is a writer based in Los Angeles, CA. She has been writing professionally for over five years, covering topics ranging from charities and social events to intricate finance spotlights. Allison is currently the Director of Content at PaymentCloud, a merchant services provider that offers hard-to-place solutions for business owners across the nation.