Payment processing

How to Find the Right Merchant Payment Processing Solution for Your Business

Transactions are a fundamental part of being in business. After all, you made the sale—now you need to get paid for it. That means you need to be able to process payments, and that means you need a merchant payment processing solution.

Starting a business? Download "The merchant services survival handbook" to  learn how to process payments.

You also know that your business is unique. No one is more aware of that fact than you are, which means you have a lot to consider when you select a payment processing solution for your business. You need to find the right solution. Following these tips will help you find the perfect fit.

Assess Your Needs

Different types of businesses have different needs when it comes to selecting a merchant payment processing solution. For example, the owner of an online shop does business in a different way than a restaurateur, and both of these businesses are different from the delivery service that needs to take payment at each delivery stop. They all need different solutions.

The first step in finding the right merchant payment processing solution is assessing your business needs. Do most of your sales happen in your physical store location, or do most of your customers pay online? If you sell in the field, you may want to consider a solution that provides virtual terminals. If your sales come through multiple channels, you will need to consider a solution that provides comprehensive service for all.


How flexible is your merchant payment processing solution? Some services do not provide much in the way of options, which limits business. For example, if your merchant payment processing solution allows you to accept only one major credit card, you are losing sales from customers who might make purchases, if only they could pay in a different way. This is especially true of online shoppers, who appreciate the ability to pay via a variety of different methods, in different currencies, and at different times, depending on their needs.

Your solution may offer you the options of doing transactions online, at the point of sale, and via mobile, with multiple methods of payment. It may also offer options for paying up front or delaying payment, say, until after delivery.


Security makes most people think of online shopping almost instantly. If you do most of your sales in a brick-and-mortar store, you may think your transactions are safe—which is not true.

All merchants, regardless of where they do business, need security. Better security protects both your business and your customers, so secure transactions are a must. Any merchant payment processing solution worth its salt will offer some form of security, but some solutions will offer enhanced security.


Price is always an important consideration when you select a merchant payment processing solution for your business. However, there are other important factors to consider, so you should not simply look at the price tag attached to any given solution. Rather, think about the value you are being offered. A solution may seem to have a great price, but it may not offer as many options, or it may not have sufficient security. You must always think about your other business needs in addition to the price.

Of course, affordability is also a concern for businesses, and you should always look for a provider that can offer a schedule of fees that suits the structure of your business. For example, credit card payment processing fees include both a transaction fee and a percentage of transaction fee; depending on how you do sales, you may wish to minimize one or the other. You should also look at set-up fees, annual fees, and other fees that may be charged.


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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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