A common, but costly, mistake is assuming that the right Merchant Services Provider is the one with the lowest rates. Trading quality service and security features for rock-bottom pricing can come at a high expense when your business is on the line. The most accurate indicator of a top provider is not fees and rates, but whether it offers proven solutions to help your business grow. Following are six essential traits to look for in a Merchant Services Provider:
- Real-Time Reporting
- Security and Fraud Prevention
- Next-Day Funding
- Comprehensive Support
- Easy Integration
Choose a Merchant Services Provider with a simple, web-based system that generates real-time reporting. It should allow easy batch viewing so you can line up your books, and provide detailed reports with filters to view data such as varying time frames and transaction types. Real-time reporting makes accounting and reconciliation a breeze.
Make sure your provider is PCI compliant by verifying if it's a registered provider. Surprisingly, only one in 10 Merchant Services Providers that offer built-in merchant services is actually certified. Your provider is responsible for securing your customers’ card data, so working with a compliant provider will ensure you get the best security features with your merchant account. Your provider should also offer up-to-date software and equipment to protect against fraud.
A transparent Merchant Services Provider has clearly defined rates and terms so you can easily understand what you’re paying. Make sure your provider has readable merchant statements so you can avoid falling prey to unethical billing practices. Look for a provider that won’t lock you into a contract or charge you fees for setup or cancellation. Though it’s rare, it’s ideal to find a provider with that level of integrity.
Stray away from Payment Facilitators (i.e, PayPal) that cannot guarantee next-day funding, especially if you’re processing high volumes. Choose a provider that offers next-day funding to guarantee that the money goes into your account as quickly as possible. Beware: There are providers that charge a fee for next-day deposits, but they are easily avoidable.
Work with a Merchant Services Provider with integrated merchant services to ensure that you get all your questions answered in one place. Don’t get stuck on a phone tree, getting passed off to different companies, and don’t endure the frustration of trying to communicate with a robot at a support center. Ideally, your provider should offer both group and one-on-one training with a plentiful resource center at your fingertips. Choose a provider with all-in-one solutions so you get setup, training and service at one location.
Integrations bring a nice level of simplicity and solidarity to your business by reducing duplicate data entry and errors. They also provide streamlined operations. An ideal provider will have the technical ability to streamline your workflow by integrating with the software applications used to run your business.
The Lasting Impact
Don’t let the bait of “bottom-of-barrel” pricing reel you in; take the time to research your options. The Merchant Services Provider you choose to work with will have a lasting impact on your business’s efficiency and bottom line. The legwork you put in now will only benefit your business’s future growth and, not to mention, your sanity.
Is your Merchant Services Provider missing any of these essential traits? Feel like they can up the ante? Share your thoughts below!