Merchant services

What to Consider When Looking For a Merchant Account Provider

merchant account providerIt can be quite a daunting task to select a merchant account provider without the right information. So we’re going to lend you a hand in the process and give you some inside information that you’ll need in order to make a sensible, well informed decision regarding your merchant account provider necessities.

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The first useful tip we can offer you is to consider only a registered merchant account provider and avoid small non-registered agents. There is absolutely no advantage to using a non-registered agent; in fact, it’s a disadvantage.  They use bait and switch tactics to secure merchants in long-term contracts and offer rates below Canadian Interchange. This year we will see fines assessed to non-registered merchant account providers in an effort to stabilize the industry.

So now that you’re on the right track, how do you go about choosing the right merchant account provider for your business?

Do they have a satisfaction guarantee?

First, find out if they offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Be mindful that conditions will apply. You can try them out for a period of time and see whether or not they’ve provided you with everything they’ve offered. Any trustworthy merchant account provider will offer you a guarantee.

What do they offer for customer support?

Second, consider what they offer as far as customer service and what technical support options they provide to their merchants. Do they offer 24/7 customer service? Do they have a toll free number? Do they offer in field service? Do they have online training videos? Do they provide quick troubleshooting tips? These are all questions a merchant needs to ask.

Investigate the payment processing fees

Next, have a look at their payment processing fees. Determine whether or not their payment processing rates are reasonable, and not one of the lowest cost options out there. We strongly advise that you approach merchant account providers offering deceptively low rates with extreme caution. If you come across a merchant account provider that is offering drastically lower rates than the others that you’ve researched, than something is rotten in Denver.

Merchant account providers like this are sure to have hidden fees. We all know you can’t get something for nothing and if the merchant account provider is offering rates well below what the competition is offering, than there is something wrong and you will probably end up paying for it with awful customer service and hidden fees.

It isn’t uncommon for merchants to be charged an application fee, setup fee, installation fee, program fee or annual fee. However, it is important to know that these fees are often negotiable.

What type of solution is right for your business?

Point of Sale hardware (POS Terminals) can be purchased or leased. Bear in mind, the longer the lease term the more you will pay over time.  It is in our best interest to purchase your point of sale equipment outright to save on financing charges.  However, purchased or leased point of sale equipment is considered a business expense and can be “written off” at the end of the year.  Also note, that your purchased point of sale equipment is no different than your computer or other necessary business items. As a Canadian business owner Revenue Canada will allow you to write off the depreciation of your equipment. Talk to your accountant for more information.

Finally, there are a few more things to consider before you choose a merchant account provider that not only meets your technical needs but also one that has a proven track record over many years. Make sure they provide excellent customer service and reasonable payment processing fees, and offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee so you can try them out for a period of time.


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Justin Proctor

As director of sales, I run the day-to-day sales department at BNA Smart Payment. I’m responsible for recruiting, training, coaching, and retaining top sales reps and leading a customer-first sales team. I lead an awesome team of revenue-generating machines (aka salespeople) on the front lines of the sales process, move the pipeline forward, build inbound sales playbooks, and implement processes to drive revenue.

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