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5 Steps to get started taking card payments

Shot of a female juice bar owner taking payment from customer. Female customer paying for juice with credit card.

When starting your own company, there are so many different aspects of the business to juggle. One of the most important ones is how to receive the money from your customers or clients. Deciding on the right payment solutions from the beginning will save you money and stress in the future.

Although many entrepreneurs feel apprehensive about setting up the correct payment methods for their new business, taking these five steps will make the process easy and hassle-free.

 

  1. Understand why you need to take card payments

What crosses your mind when you hear “sorry we don’t accept cards” or read a sad sign on the wall saying “cash only”? You probably think “what a missed opportunity!” And you are right. Card payments have been around for over 50 years and nowadays they are advancing faster than ever before.

Whether you run an online business or a physical store, accepting card payments will greatly benefit your company. If you manage an ecommerce website, admitting card payments is a must. However, if you are not sure that you should take cards, here are the most important pros to consider:

Boost sales and improve customer service. Accepting cards, you will get all those payments from customers who don’t carry cash in their pockets. And what is more important, you will create a positive customer experience giving them a reason to come back.

More secure. It eliminates the risk of accepting a bad check, getting robbed or losing the money.

Save time and money. Avoiding physically taking the money to the bank will save you time. And as you will be holding less cash, you will be saving money on security.

Improve your cash flow. The money will be in your bank account in a couple of days. That means you won’t be waiting for checks to clear and you won’t have other billing issues.

Inexpensive processing rates. Online payments have higher processing fees than in-person because of the need to secure a payment gateway. These fees vary depending on the chosen merchant account and it is recommended to study the options in detail. In very general terms, the average cost for online business is around 2.5% and for in-person, roughly 2%.

 

  1. Compare card payment options

Once you have made the decision to start taking card payments, it is crucial to compare the different options available and understand which one works best for you and your business.

Firstly, you will need a merchant account; and if you have an online business, you will also need a payment gateway. The merchant account will hold the funds until they are moved to your business bank account. On the other hand, the payment gateway is required to encrypt the information and process online payments securely.

 

  1. Open a bank account

If you don’t have one yet, you will need to create a business bank account. If you are operating your business under your own name, you can use your personal account. But if you have a corporate name, it is recommended to set up a specific bank account for your commercial activity.

 

  1. Choose a merchant account provider

There are many merchant account providers out there. So once you have had a look and compared the options available, it is time to set up an account with a merchant provider. To help you choose the most appropriate one, these are some questions you should have in mind:

– Is their payment processing compatible with your system?

– What fraud protection services do they offer?

– How much is their transaction fee?

– What is the minimum contract length? And the cancellation cost?

– Are there any other hidden fees?

 

  1. Get the right card machine for your business

If you are dealing with in-person payments, you will need a point-of-sale terminal. There are a number of choices and brands available. These are the most common types of credit card machines, so choose the one that best fits your business needs:

  • Standard Dial Up, which works over the phone line.
  • IP Based Terminal, which processes transactions using an Internet connection.
  • Wireless Credit Card Terminal, works over a wireless network.
  • Wireless Way Systems Terminal, a cell phone specially designed to transmit the payment information.

 

As you have seen, these five steps are very easy to follow. Whether you have an online or physical business, accepting card payments will help you consolidate your business and answer your clients’ needs. All at the same time that it boosts your benefits and helps you make the most of your commercial transactions. Thus, with this many advantages, it will only take off stress and let you concentrate on managing your company.

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