North American Bancard Blog

7 Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Merchant Services Partner

Posted by Jereme Sanborn on

Partnering with a payment processing provider for your business is an important decision. Merchant services partners provide any of the following:

  • Countertop and mobile credit card processing
  • EMV and NFC payment processing equipment
  • Ecommerce services
  • Analytics and reporting

Merchant services are vital for your business operations. Fees and rates will directly impact your bottom line. The ease of transactions will affect your customers. Security throughout every transaction can make or break your business. Before entrusting the merchant services of your business to any old provider, consider these seven questions first so you can make a confident decision:

1. How Will Our Rates Be Determined?

Fees and rates that are offered may be determined by your business structure or sales volume. Some merchant services providers will offer discounted rates for higher volumes, while some will offer a flat transaction fee for all sales, which can benefit small businesses.

Any merchant services provider you consider working with should clearly explain the entire pricing structure so your business doesn't end up paying more than it should in rates and fees. Inquire about monthly fees that might apply if you don't have a certain number of transactions, as well as how fees work depending on your business structure. If you're an ecommerce business, for example, you may be able to find a provider whose rate structure caters to online businesses.

2. How Will My Business Be Protected from Fraud?

There were more than 14.2 million credit card numbers exposed in 2017, according to data from Experian. Credit card fraud is the most common form of identity theft, and that should be a concern for your business. In order to protect your customers and your business finances from fraud, ask merchant services providers about the security protections they offer.

You should consider working with a partner that offers free EMV chip card technology, because having EMV terminals can alleviate fraud liability from merchants. All merchant services equipment should be PCI-compliant. Proactive security monitoring for payment processing ensures data breaches are prevented before they occur.

3. Will I Need to Purchase Equipment?

Some merchant services providers won't just sell you the transaction service — they'll also leave you hanging when it comes to equipment, so you're forced to lease or buy payment processing terminals. This can get expensive quickly. If you end up buying or leasing, the equipment can become outdated in a short time. When you want to update equipment, you may have to pay more and lose money on the old equipment you bought.

Ask about what merchant services equipment options are available to you first. You may be able to get high-quality free equipment, including countertop point of sale devices, smartphone readers and mobile tablets. Ask about upgrades for outdated equipment and what the process will be to fix broken equipment.

4. How Do We Know We Can Trust You?

There are a lot of merchant services providers competing for your business. When it comes to dealing with your and your customers' money, don't leave things to chance. A reputable provider will have a proven track record of satisfied clients.

Before you sign on the dotted line, a merchant services provider you're considering should be willing to refer you to their clients and share testimonials with you. Ask about experience in the industry and some examples of how the payment processing company has adapted to evolving standards. Look for reviews on sites like the Better Business Bureau to see other opinions about the provider.

5. How Can This Work with Our Current Processes?

Your business and team may already be used to accepting payments a certain way, but you may want an improved solution. If you are transacting online payments, you may want to stick with your digital system but complement it with something in-store. Ask the merchant services providers how their solutions will work with your operations today.

A great merchant services provider will want to help you grow your business. The one you’re considering should offer insights into how to improve your current credit card processing and how to integrate what they're offering with any legacy systems you want to keep in place.

6. What Kind of Support Is Available to Our Business?

Having a broken machine, even just for a few minutes, can result in significant lost revenue for your business. Having to call customer support, stay on hold and then talk to someone who isn't knowledgeable about your situation is frustrating and can be financially dire.

To avoid this type of situation, try to find a partner that offers 24/7/365 live support. Ecommerce businesses or businesses with irregular hours need to talk to experts exactly when they need it, including weekends and holidays.

7. What Are Our Options If We're Unhappy with the Service?

Some credit card processing companies will mandate steep cancellation fees, which can be debilitating to small businesses. Ask what your options are if you no longer want to stick with your payment processing contract. Some companies may charge a liquidated damages fee, which means whatever you were estimated to owe throughout the contract, you'll be charged.

Look for a company that offers flexible month-to-month options. As your business grows and evolves, you'll want the freedom and flexibility to partner with the merchant services provider solution that works best for you.

Have Questions? We've Got Answers

If you have questions like these, North American Bancard (NAB) is here to help. Our representatives will walk you through everything you need to know regarding the merchant services offered. If you decide to partner with us, you can count on NAB for always-on support. We want to help you grow your business.

Give us a call at (877) 840-1952, or contact us online for information.

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