Choosing the right payment processor for your business—while seemingly straight forward—can actually be a confusing and challenging process. If you’re not aware of all the variables involved, it can even be a costly one in ways that have nothing to do with how much you’re paying for the service.
In modern businesses, the payment processor is responsible for some of the most important aspects of the financial health of any organization that relies on credit or debit cards for a portion of customer payments. As such, selecting the right payment processor for your business is vital and shouldn’t be based solely on credit card processing rates.
“Although everyone believes it’s all about the rates, the reality is it’s just like everything else – you get what you pay for,” said Linda Borek, President and CEO of NTC Texas. “No one buys a car, a dress, a house, a crib, or any type of product or service strictly based on the lowest cost.”
One article even called low credit card processing rates the “fool’s gold” of the payment card industry, because what seems like the best deal rarely delivers the outcomes business owners are expecting.
According to Borek, a good payment processor does a lot more than simply process payments. They build relationships with their customers, provide secure services, and help clients overcome payment issues or problems quickly. As Borek said: “Cheap credit card processing feels great until there is a problem.”
The following are criteria—the important ones beyond credit card processing rates—that every business owner should consider when selecting a dependable payment processor.
- Reliability – Can you trust this processor? Check reviews and talk to other customers who have used this processor to make sure you can trust them to have your best interests at heart. If you don’t trust them 100 percent, keep looking.
- Security – What is the company’s track record in security, and what security services do they offer? In a world where hacks are almost commonplace, you want a payment processor who can keep your customers’ card information safe.
- Responsiveness – How quickly will they help you resolve an issue? And don’t just take their word for it. Make sure you check their Best Business Bureau record, and don’t be afraid to ask around for feedback from other business owners.
- Knowledgeability – How knowledgeable do the sales representatives seem over the phone? Can they answer your hard questions? If they’re struggling to thoroughly explain their rates or processing equipment/technology, they may not be able to deliver on your expectations.
- Customization – Is the company tech savvy and can they meet your business’s specific needs? A system that won’t mesh well with your business software and sales needs, or a lack of customizable solutions may prevent your business from running efficiently—costing you money and time.
- Omni Commerce – Do they have terminals, mobile payment, POS systems, and/or cloud-based software solutions? As your business grows, your needs will grow too. Can this processing company offer your business the wide variety of processing options it will need to adjust and adapt to customer expectations?
- Customer Service – Does the company offer 24/7/365 customer service and contact hours? If not, you’re probably not getting the deal you think you are.
Your business is your passion, your investment, and your livelihood. Don’t trust it to a payment processor based solely on low credit card processing rates—especially if they can’t deliver on everything else that’s important. In the long run, low rates are no substitute for great service. Since contracts and costly equipment are often mixed in with any payment processor decision, make sure you’re getting what you really need before you sign on the dotted line. Choose wisely.
About the Author – Ashley Choate is a native of Jacksonville, FL where she lives with her son, dog, and three cats. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Jacksonville University with a BA in English and holds an MAED in Adult Education and Training. She lives for reading and writing, learning and teaching, and figuring out the day-to-day traumas and joys of mommyhood. .
Top Photo Courtesy of Max Pixel.