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Merchant Processing: 3 Tips to Know

Merchant Processing: 3 Tips to Know
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Are you just starting to research merchant processing for your business? Are you looking to improve your current setup? Either way, we’ve got the tips and tricks to take your business to the next level. Follow these three tips to master your own merchant processing:

Choose a flexible merchant processing provider.

There’s nothing worse than having little to no control over what you get from your processing. Choosing a flexible provider can do a lot for your business.

Some Merchant Service Providers lock customers into lengthy contracts with costly early-termination fees to ensure continued business. A flexible provider will offer month-to-month service, giving you the opportunity to truly test its service and how it fits your business.

The provider you choose should be able to grow with you. We recommend all-in-one Merchant Service Providers to ensure that you’ve selected a long-term provider that can scale with you. Sure, you may not need the ability to process over-the-phone payments right now, but having remote signature as a readily available tool could be helpful as demand grows.

Have plans for an online store in the future? All-in-one providers can streamline this setup with a range of shopping cart integrations while eliminating the need to sign up with a Payment Gateway.

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Opt for future-ready equipment.

The merchant processing industry is constantly changing. Owning your merchant processing means being prepared for the future. The equipment you use should be able to accept all payment methods, be customer-facing and prepared for chip-and-PIN acceptance.

Payment method options are only growing. EMV and NFC acceptance is a must for current merchant processing equipment. EMV technology was designed to replace magstripe cards so if you’re stuck with an old-school terminal that cannot process EMV, you’re putting your business at risk (more on that next). More consumers are adopting NFC payments, and why wouldn’t they? This method is convenient and results in fewer items to carry with smartphones doubling as wallets.

Customer-facing terminals will prepare your business for the next major change in the merchant processing industry: chip and PIN. Historically, PIN has proven to be more effective in fighting fraud. Combine that with EMV and the payment industry has the capacity to significantly limit fraud. Opting for a terminal that is customer-facing will prepare your business for the future and eliminate the need to pay for an upgrade to a newer terminal when technology like chip and PIN does roll out.

Process payments the right way.

It’s one thing to have the ability to process all payment methods, but it’s another to process them correctly. Knowing when to insert versus swipe versus key in a card will make you a merchant processing pro and save you money on processing fees.

For card-present transactions, EMV-chip cards should always be processed by inserting or dipping the chip into the terminal. Although most terminals will process a transaction if a chip card is swiped, this practice can result in bank-initiated chargebacks. Because these chargebacks are issued by banks on behalf on cardholders, you lose by default even if there is proof of purchase.

When presented with traditional, magstripe cards for in-person payments, you should always swipe the card and collect a signature verifying the purchase.

For card-not-present transactions, keying in the card is your only choice for both EMV and magstripe cards. When keying in, you should make use of security settings like AVS and CVV to prevent fraud along with remote signature to verify the purchase with the cardholder.

Ready to take power over your merchant processing? Master it today to reap the benefits tomorrow.

Learn how to compare merchant processing providers.


Let us know if you’ve used any of the tips above – we’d love to hear how they’ve changed your merchant processing for the better! Share your story in the comments below.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in July 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness and accuracy.

About Author
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Ursula Librizzi

Ursula is the sales and marketing operations manager for PayJunction. She oversees daily marketing tasks and liaises between the sales and marketing departments.

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