Merchant services

5 Key Questions To Ask When Looking For A Merchant Services Provider

merchant services providerFinding the right merchant services provider for your business can be a difficult task. A number of merchant services providers use telemarketing campaigns to inundate merchants with numerous calls regarding lowest rates, low rental fees and multiple promises that more than likely will never be upheld. This not only is frustrating, but it is confusing as well.

Starting a business? Download "The merchant services survival handbook" to  learn how to process payments.When it comes down to choosing the right merchant services provider, how do you begin to sort through the noise and figure out which merchant services provider is right for you?

Carefully considering a new plan can save significant amounts of money and prevent frustration in the future. It is ideal to have a merchant services provider whose programs are straightforward and make you feel comfortable. This will allow you to spend more time focusing on your business, which is where your focus should be.

There are many things to consider when selecting a new merchant services provider or renewing an existing contract. Here are a few questions you might ask when starting out to help differentiate those merchant services providers that are here to make you more successful, or just here to get you in a contract.

1. Industry Specific

If not, you may not receive the services or assistance that you will need or want throughout the life of the contract. Your business may be too large for an Independent Sales Organization (ISO), which focuses on small merchants. However, your business may be too small to work with the major processors, as you may not have the pull necessary to get attention when an issue arises. It is important to find a merchant services provider that fits your business needs, and understand what a business of your size requires.

Mid level Business

-       Process between $1 million and $75 million in annual credit card transactions

-        Are typically independently owned

-       Operate within the top 20% of their specific market

-       Have greater financial knowledge (a professional financial manager on staff).

2. Customer Service And Technical Support

The merchant services industry is competitive. As a result, we have noticed that there has been a loss of customer support and less focus on customer service in the industry. Technical troubles can translate into loss of business. Focusing on the customer support that you require and customer service that you will receive can be the biggest differentiator.

If you are not receiving the type of customer service and customer support that you feel you deserve, it is time for you to look elsewhere for a new merchant services provider.

3. Fee Structure

It can be exhausting to see monthly statements and have no idea how to understand the fee breakdown. In today’s retail and business environment, it is absolutely necessary to accept credit cards. Those who do not will have an obsolete business model within 2 years.

Find a merchant services provider who you can trust, and that is willing to go through monthly statement breakdowns with you in order to understand how you are being charged. In such a competitive industry, there are many deceptive advertised rates. Most “too good to be true” rates are exactly that: too good to be true. Be savvy. Do your research.

4. Contract Length

Contracts are typically three years, often with steep penalties imposed for breaking the contract early. To avoid being locked into a bad contract, research the company, be absolutely clear about the fees you will have to pay and the support you will receive from the merchant services provider.

Also, some merchant services providers do provide year-to-year contracts, even short-term contracts for extenuating circumstances. Don't be afraid to ask.

5. Security

With new Chip & Pin requirements, liability for fraudulent use of credit cards shifts from the financial institution to the retailers. Be sure that the merchant services provider can accommodate Chip & Pin requirements as well as the information that you need as a merchant to know your responsibilities when accepting credit and debit cards at your place of business.

Hopefully you can take these 5 quick tips and translate them into a great relationship with your merchant services provider.


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Matt Moore

As the President and Co-Founder of BNA Smart Payment Systems, Matt is responsible for the company’s strategic direction, daily operations, and growth. Entrepreneurial by nature, he brings a wealth of sales and marketing experience earned from over 36 years in business. He has developed, implemented, and directed international sales and marketing strategies, established strategic alliances with international companies, and demonstrated leadership in the electronic payments market. Prior to BNA, Matthew served at the senior levels of major EFT/POS companies, helping them increase sales and optimize customer service. Matt is also a father of three, a fitness enthusiast who does power lifting and CrossFit, and he enjoys weekends at the cottage.

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