Payment processing

How to Find the Right Credit Card Processing Provider

Many credit card processing providers often offer similar services, so when deciding between one over another, it’s often like comparing apples to apples.

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If you’re a small business owner and plan to accept debit and credit card transactions, whether it’s in-person, over the phone, or online, you’ll need a processing provider that can satisfy your company’s unique needs. Although you will have to cover some upfront costs and ongoing fees, the ability to accept almost any form of card payment, in addition to cash, will boost your day-to-day sales and increase the potential profits of your business. In addition, being open to almost any payment method will also help expand your growing customer base, as consumers will know they can trust shopping with your business.

As such, choosing the right merchant provider is ultimately key to the success and longevity of your business. So, how do you find the right credit card processing provider?

Assess the Fees and Costs

Depending on your chosen merchant service provider, you may be subject to a variety of fees and costs in the day-to-day processing of payments for your business. Some of the main credit card processing fees include:

  • Interchange fees: these fees are the costliest in that every transaction you process comes with a small charge;
  • Monthly fees: these fees vary from monthly statements to minimum processing collection per month; and
  • Startup and termination fees: you may be charged a fee simply for applying to set up a particular service within your business and for premature termination of your contract.

Depending on your credit card processing provider, there actually may be quite a few credit card processing fees, so it’s important to understand all the fees and service terms. A reputable company will be able to answer any questions or concerns, but if they can’t provide you with a detailed explanation of what you’re paying for, then it might be time to move on to the next processing provider.

What Cards Will You Take?

It’s common knowledge that a reliable payment processor can help grow your business, and a large part of the finding of a reliable service comes down to keeping up to date with current methods of card payment.

If you’re in the retail business, accepting all major credit and debit cards may seem like a no-brainer, so you will never have to turn away any customers. On the other hand, the interchange fees vary per credit card, so it may actually be in your best interest to stay away from certain card types. In addition, you might also want a system that accepts prepaid gift cards, depending on the type of business you operate.

Are You Tap-Enabled?

Near-field communication (NFC) technology has become almost universal among card users, and the ease and convenience of “tap” technology are unmatched. That said, merchant services and card payments solutions need to evolve to match new advancements in payment options. This includes newer digital wallet systems such as Apple Pay and Android Pay.

Excellent Customer Support

Hiring a payment processor that provides 24/7 customer support and direct help from an account representative is a good way to protect yourself against any technical snags that may arise. If this kind of service isn’t included in their basic plans, it might actually be worth paying a little more in fees to avoid unreliable, confusing service for your business.

Ultimately, there are many credit card processing providers available and a variety of factors to consider before choosing one that fits your organization’s unique needs. The right merchant service can help your business grow, but conversely, an inefficient system can and will hurt your business. That’s why it’s important to find the right credit card processing provider for you and truly make an informed decision.


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Lisa Gibson

Lisa is the Credit Manager of BNA Smart Payment Systems and has over 18 years of experience in diverse roles of credit and credit risk management. She graduated from the financial program at Boreal College and is an expert in personal loans and line of credit, mortgage underwriting, private label commercial credit cards, small business loans, and merchant account underwriting. Lisa is also an avid railfan and HO scale train modeler, and enjoys curling.

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