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Finding the Best Merchant Account Provider for Your Needs

Prejean is the Business and Finance Blog covering topics such as Business, Finance, Insurance, Investing and Home Based Business

If you’re setting up a small business, it’s no easy task to decide on a merchant account provider. After all, there are many facets to consider when reviewing providers and if you do find that the company you sign up with does not offer everything that you require, your business could greatly suffer due to this oversight.

How do you go about this task? What do you look for when there are so many companies offering what appear to be a very similar baseline service?

Check out some online review websites and by doing so, you’ll be in a far better position to make a wise decision as to which supplier is the best choice for you.

The most important factors you should look for when reading the best merchant account reviews include the following:

Transaction Fees

There are a number of differing pricing methods that merchant account providers offer such as a flat rate pricing structure, two-tier rates, as well as four-tiered rates. Though many account providers offer a very low cost rate which can start from as little as 0.35% just for example, this applies to the merchant’s price for offline debit as opposed to the credit rate or non-qualified and mid-qualified rates.

It’s true that a tiered pricing structure can suit the merchant better or it can make things easier to comprehend when it comes to reading the statement. Nevertheless, it’s advisable to request interchange pricing as this will mean that the Total Effective Rate (TER) is lower upon calculating your fees at month end.

The Products and Services

Does the card processing company have a capacity to accept all forms of credit cards including: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, Diners Club, HAS, and EBT accounts?

Do they utilize equipment that is fully up-to-date with compliance regulations and is the cost of the equipment reasonable?

Does the company provide free reprogramming for stand-alone or POS terminals?

Is there a diversity of services for payments which does not merely include credit cards but also pin debit, gateway services, check services, mobile options, shopping cart/ shopping cart integration, e-statements, gift and loyalty card programs, tablet POS, cash advance programs, as well as business loans?

Security and EMV

Security breaches occur on a regular basis and thus it’s crucial that your credit card processor offers the very latest PCI Data Security Standard in addition to other standards that serve to improve payment data security.

Once you’ve signed up to a processor, get the company representative to help you with PCI compliancy straight away so as to avoid any potential for security breach.

You may not yet have heard of EMV. EMV is a credit card chip technology which is rapidly emerging. It enhances fraud and security protection and is almost impossible to duplicate. The technology is already being rolled out by credit card issuers and merchants must therefore have terminals that are EMV compliant.

Do note that liability for credit card security will shift over to the merchant from the processor in October, 2015. Thus, having an EMV chip conformant terminal by then is thoroughly advisable.

Terms of the Contract

Does the service provider cater to a month to month contract with no cancellation fees? It’s advisable to avoid a long term contract as technology is constantly changing.

Technical Support and Customer Service

Should your business not be in a position to accept customers’ credit card payments, it’s more than likely that your business is losing money. Good technical support will help you to set up your terminal or POS electronically, and they will solve issues that may arise during power outages, error messages on the terminal, correct settings, as well as integrating your gateway, POS, mobile devices, and e-commerce website.

Customer service reps must be knowledgeable, prompt, and always courteous. Does the merchant provider offer customer service on a 24/7 basis? If you have an issue and you call the company, is there a lengthy waiting period before receiving a reply?

Testimonials, Recommendations, and Complaints

Are the merchant’s endorsements verifiable? Are they truly reflective of a typical customer’s experience? When it comes to company recommendations, it’s advisable to check out the Better Business Bureau for a trustworthy indication of what’s really what.

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