Payment processors set up through your merchant services account are meant to help your small business make money. However, accumulating fees simply for processing payments will cause you to lose more money in the long run. Small businesses can’t afford to lose even a percentage on a payment without raising prices. Instead, a little research can go a long way toward protecting yourself from hidden fees.
Here are 6 tips to help you keep the money you make:
1. Be highly selective when choosing a payment processing company. Even companies who advertise “no fees” may have some caveat such as no fees for certain credit cards, additional fees for debit cards, etc.
2. One of the most common “hidden fees” is charging extra, as much as 20 cents per transaction, for credit cards that are entered manually versus “swiped”. When setting up a merchant account, remember part of the overall cost involves investing in hardware that can “swipe” a card. Mobile card readers may be a good investment if this fee can’t be avoided.
3. Most payment processing companies require a “monthly minimum”, usually hidden way down at the bottom of your contract in the very fine print. How much business do you expect? Can you reliably meet the minimum requirement? Remember, the minimum is counting credit/debit card transactions only – not cash or check sales.
4. Payment gateway fees refer to how sales are made, typically online or at a brick-and-mortar location. E-commerce sales may have more hidden fees for providing connection services.
5. Almost all processors will have an extra fee for paper statements as opposed to receiving your statement via e-mail. On that same token, they may offer small discounts for setting up “auto-pay” options.
6. Some credit cards have higher fees than others. Weigh the risks and benefits of accepting all major credit cards or deciding not to accept one or two in order to avoid those fees.
Ultimately, your decision affects not just your bottom line but your customer experience as well. Some small businesses are forced to pass on fees for credit cards or require a minimum purchase in order to use a credit card. With credit and debit transactions becoming the norm, small businesses have a tough choice to make. The moral of the story here is to do your research, ask questions, and examine the contracts closely.
Contact us to learn more about global payment solutions that are simple, secure and affordable.
One useful feature you can get from a payment processing company is a mobile card reader. This is a device that sits right on top of your phone which can process credit cards securely in-person.
Many of the better ones give you a free app to go with it, and let you plug them right into a convenient area like the audio port. This feature is ideal for local businesses that do a lot of commerce in person and not at a stationary POS system within a store. A mobile card reader will be useful for brick and mortar stores that don’t want to pay extra for the more extensive credit card devices, and also for small businesses that carry product from within their own home and want to be able to process credit cards for local customers.
Multiple Payment Storage Options for Online Businesses
One excellent way to encourage repeat customers for your online business is to make it really easy for them to store payment options. Trivial inconvenience is the great killer of e-Commerce. If customers can store different credit cards and payment options with your site using a payment processing service that allows for this, then they can come back and make additional purchases with much less hassle.
Having to enter payment information over and over again is going to deter repeat business. That’s why the multiple storage feature can be useful for encouraging growth in small businesses that focus on internet transactions.
Regardless of how your small business operates, it can benefit from the right payment processing features. For more information about these features and others, please contact us at ProPay today.
I saw a blog post yesterday that reminded me of complexity and confusion surrounding the relationship between PCI DSS compliance and fraud prevention. The details of the story are less important than the central idea that the author was communicating – the notion that merchants should rely on PCI DSS compliance for the prevention of fraud. The idea behind PCI DSS is of course to reduce the amount of fraud by helping to protect payment data from unauthorized disclosure and use, but it should be noted that the standard is not a fraud prevention program. It is a data security compliance program. Understanding the difference between fraud prevention and data security will help to clarify the relationship between the PCI DSS and fraud.
Fraud is the intentional deception for personal gain. This is a broad definition that includes social engineering as well as the misuse of financial data. Fraud prevention, then, must be a very broad set of practices and procedures that are put in place to prohibit people from being able to misuse (in this case) payment card data. All of the major card brands have suggestions and best practices for preventing fraud at the merchant level. MasterCard Worldwide provides a quick reference guide to help merchants educate their staff on fraud prevention techniques. Among the suggestions is the notion that staff should be familiar with what a card is supposed to look like. Valid cards have a number of fraud prevention mechanisms, including embossed numbers and holograms. (Each of the card brands can also provide a sort of “anatomy of a card” that will keep merchants and their employees current with new card designs and security mechanisms.
Data security is a subset of fraud prevention tools. Ensuring that the data is adequately protected from unauthorized disclosure (data compromise) helps mitigate the risk of fraudulent transactions. All of the major card brands require compliance with the PCI DSS with any entity that stores, processes, or transmits cardholder data. This helps to prevent data thieves from perpetrating fraudulent transactions on a large scale. Merchants should not rely on the PCI DSS to protect them from fraud schemes. PCI DSS is designed to help companies protect payment data from thieves, not to protect merchants from fraud schemes.
ProPay is excited to announce that we received news today that our Zumogo mobile solution was selected as the winner of the 2011 ETA Techology Showcase. This is a very proud day for ProPay. As the first Social M-Payment solution in the market, Zumogo is an exciting opportunity for companies to not only accept payments from mobile phones but to directly market to potential customers. For a video of Zumogo at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival see below!
Heather Mark and Travis Allen are attending the Visa Global Security Summit this week while our EVP of Risk, Lance Rich is at the MasterCard Risk Symposium. Based on initial feedback both events are outstanding and packed with valuable information. ProPay applauds the card brands for hosting such valuable events. Below is a picture of the ProPay booth at Visa’ summit.