When a business grows, its tools should grow with it. For an enterprise business owner or manager, this is par for the course. Your business can outgrow just about everything from its warehouse and retail space to its employee headcount.
The best merchant account when you were just starting out may no longer be the best fit for your business now. Either the rate plan you originally received is no longer cost-effective, or you are stuck spending time on menial payment-related tasks. Both cost your business money in unnecessary fees and lost productivity.
If you own or operate a multi-location or multi-department business, look for the following pricing structures and features to select the best merchant account.
Before we get into nice-to-haves that will save you time, we need to focus first on your rate plan. If you began processing credit cards when you were a fledgling business, you likely were put on a Flat-rate pricing structure.
Flat pricing is straightforward. It charges one rate for all credit card transactions. The problem is, this Flat rate is high to account for all risk and reward levels that impact the Interchange — or wholesale — cost. As your business matures, grows its customer base and processes more credit card volume, it’s critical that you upgrade to Tiered or (preferably) Interchange-plus pricing.
Both of these rate plans save you money on low- and medium-risk transactions. Interchange-plus is preferable because it’s transparent. All you pay is Interchange plus a consistent provider markup. With Tiered pricing, transactions are lumped into three tiers that are unregulated, giving your provider the opportunity to make more off your account.
As your retail sales bloom, you may look to take your business online. Conversely, you may have started online to keep your overhead low and are now transitioning to retail locations. Either way, you need a Payment Gateway and a Merchant Service Provider to process your in-store and e-commerce transactions. Do more with fewer providers by opting for a streamlined, all-in-one option. This will reduce the number of support contacts you have to reach out to with questions, as well as simplify your bills so you can better understand your effective processing rate.
By obtaining a Virtual Terminal that digitally records your transactions, you can take advantage of numerous operational benefits, including the ones listed below. A Virtual Terminal can record data about your transactions, like date, time, cashier, department and location. With activity records, your enterprise business can establish accountability among staff more easily and get to the bottom of discrepancies and address questions sooner.
That said, Virtual Terminals can offer a lot of functionality that isn’t necessary for your entire office staff. If you opt to add a Virtual Terminal to your payment configuration, go with one that permits account limitations as you see fit. This can mean restricting staff members in one location to have access to just that location’s transaction records. This can reduce errors and simplify operations.
With multiple locations, collecting paper receipts from each can be challenging and error-prone. Without those receipts, you can’t accurately reconcile your batches and deposits.
Look for a Virtual Terminal that digitizes your batches, combines them across locations and departments, and allows you to see them individually. This way, you maintain long-term records and can reconcile faster.
In the same vein, you want to keep a pulse on each location and the business overall to see how it’s performing. You can save yourself time (and eliminate human error) with a Virtual Terminal that records all transaction data and automates sales reports. These can potentially show your sales over time, per location, month-over-month and even in custom time frames, depending on your provider.
With multiple locations, merchant accounts, batches, employees and more to manage, you can streamline your day-to-day monitoring by combining your accounts under one login. PayJunction allows you to do this, but it may be possible with other providers. By not having to log out and back in to see a given location or account’s performance, you can better monitor your sales and see all transaction information in real time.
If your Merchant Service Provider lacks these features or price structures, look for one that features them! You’ll save time and money by boosting your efficiency and get more out of your provider.
What enterprise business issues do you struggle with? What solutions would help? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.