How to Choose a Merchant Services Provider

Merchant services are among the most important services you’ll choose for your business. Not all merchant service providers, for instance, are a perfect fit for every business. You may need to shop around a bit to find the one that best fits your needs. Keep these things in mind when choosing a merchant service provider to help you find the best match for your business.

Ask about the Nuts and Bolts of Features and Functionality

You can’t really compare merchant service providers unless you understand the differences between them and which one best meets your business needs. That means you must understand the features and functionality the providers you’re considering offer as well as how they work to benefit your business. After all, they’re providing the service. You choose whether you want to buy it or not.

Does the Provider Offer the Full Range of Services Your Business Needs?

You must also understand the full range of services your business needs before you can find a provider that meets them. Compare the options available in the marketplace. Examine the services your business wants as well as some you’d like to have for your business in the future. Choose the provider that meets all your needs while leaving room for growth.

Banks vs. Merchant Services Providers: Pros and Cons

Using a bank is familiar to many small business owners, but it could be costing you more than you realize. It’s comfortable working with the bank you know, and you feel like you can trust them. That doesn’t mean they are the best choice for handling your merchant services needs, like payment processing.

In fact, working with a merchant services provider, like BankCard Services, offers a wide range of benefits you might not expect, including:

  • Clear statements so you understand what and how much you’re paying and to whom you are making those payments.
  • Greater transparency.
  • Lower fees.
  • Wider range of customer service options.
  • Full training for you and your staff.

With benefits like these, it’s certainly worth exploring other options for merchant services before settling on your bank simply because it’s people you know.

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Are You Required to Purchase More than You Need?

It’s important to remember that you’re the one in the driver’s seat here. Don’t work with providers that try to force you to purchase equipment and/or services your business doesn’t need or want. Look for merchant service providers that offer products that meet your needs today as well as products that will allow your business to grow and expand without forcing you to seek a new provider.

Look for a Provider with a Proven Track Record

Startups come and go. Some of them are bound for greatness while others may be doomed to fail. While it is good, in some things, to help another business grow, you can’t afford to trust something as important as merchant services to an untested vendor. There are too many risks involved both financially and for the reputation of your business when it comes to security and trust. It’s best to work with providers that have track records of excellence to build upon.

Other Questions to Consider When Choosing Merchant Service Providers

Of course, these aren’t all the questions you need answers to. Other things to consider when making this important choice include the answers to the following questions:

  • What kind of support options do they offer your business? (24×7, toll-free, email only, in person, phone support, chat, etc.)
  • What kind of rates do they offer, how easy are they to understand, and how do they relate to your business? This includes monthly fees, flat rate fees, transaction fees, etc.
  • Is equipment provided free of charge, or does it have to be purchased or leased?
  • What is the agreement structure and what are the penalties for cancelling? Are you locked into a long-term contract, or is it month-to-month?
  • Do they provide training for you and your staff? If so, how much training do they offer and what methods do they use to provide that training?
  • What kinds of reporting capabilities does the provider offer?
  • Is the provider PCI compliant? Will they be? When? What type(s) of fraud protection do they offer?
  • How does the provider respond to outages? What does that mean for your business?

The better you understand the answers to these questions, the better prepared you are when dealing with the next big question.

Do You Understand the Terms of the Contract?

Perhaps the most important requirement of all, you must understand the terms of the contract before you can choose whether a merchant services provider is the right choice for your business. If you have questions or need clarification, get it before you sign on the dotted line and get locked into a contract that doesn’t work for your business needs.

At BankCard Services, we are committed to offering outstanding products and service to businesses like yours with transparent billing practices and easy-to-understand terms. Try us today to experience the difference for yourself.

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