If you are just starting out with a small business, you may have realized you are in need of some form of payment processing. If you are currently only accepting cash or paper checks, you may notice that many potential customers will seek out other businesses who offer the more readily used credit or debit card. When you make the decision to seek out merchant services, there might be many questions you need to have answered before you are ready to commit to such an endeavor. This is understandable. Merchant services can be a great help to the growth of your business, but you want to understand before you begin.
Merchant services, in its simplest definition, is your ability as a business to accept credit and debit cards, as well as electronic checks, as payment for services and products rendered. Set up like you would a normal bank account, a credit card processing service works with your customer’s bank to get payments into your bank account. The companies who do this kind of go-between credit card processing between you and the customer is more commonly known as a merchant service provider or independent sales organization. You can also set up payment processing through the bank itself, though using a financial institution may be more expensive for you.
How will you know if you want to use your local bank or a merchant services provider? In most cases, a financial institution like your local bank will charge higher rates than those of the credit card processor. If you are a small business, and every dollar still counts, going with an outside party who can save you money might be your best bet in establishing greater options in payment like credit and debit cards offer. Also, if you are going to operate your business via the internet, being a merchant account holder gives you a more professional and trustworthy visage to potential customers.
Merchant services accounts provide you with a credit card processor who authorizes, accepts, and settles credit and debit card transactions on your behalf. Without this crucial account, you would not be able to accept real time payments through any means but cash or written check, limiting the amount of business you might otherwise bring in and keep as repeat clientele. It’s understandable that as you get started with your business, the number of things you must look into to ensure your business gets a legitimate start, can be incredibly overwhelming. However, taking the time to really looking into your options will only help guarantee you success down the road.