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Finding the right payment processing provider is a bit like preparing for a Black Friday sale. It takes due diligence and the right knowledge to look past flashy offers. A great provider doesn’t just charge you for a service, they act as a partner who helps determine the best ways to streamline payments and help you grow your business.

Here are some credit card processing tips to keep in mind as you look out for your ideal processing partner.

#1 Weigh convenience against cost

All-in-one services like Quickbooks seem great, but they come with a price tag. Quickbooks is designed to work only with other Inuit software and Intuit’s merchant services charge premium rates. Inuit also expects users to pay tiered rates for their services and doesn’t offer interchange plus pricing. Many card processors offer integrated plugins for Quickbooks, but they have a varied success rate and may require extra steps. If you are considering using Intuit/Quickbooks software to process payments, ask yourself if convenience is worth the cost.

#2 Look for competitive interchange rates

Before small businesses became popular, it was hard to get competitive interchange pass-through processing rates unless they had a high sales volume. Luckily, times have changed. Look around carefully for competitive interchange rates as you shop for a processor. You can even get free, instant credit card processing quotes to determine your own eligibility.

#3 Take PCI DSS guidelines seriously

PCI DSS (payment card industry data security standard) are guidelines set by credit card brands to make sure that merchants are safeguarding customers’ banking information. Because your business is liable for losses of cardholder data, lack of PCI compliance can result in huge fines if the information is leaked or stolen. Know your PCI standards and make sure both you and your processor remain compliant.

#4 Don’t confuse “low rate” with “best deal”

Remember our Black Friday example? The lowest rates do not always mean the best deal for your business. Low rates and interchange pass-through pricing is great, but that’s only part of the best processing solution. Get a credit card processor that can help your business get and keep low interchange charges with interchange optimization. The feature alone will save you in the long-term and is well worth a small markup.

#5 Avoid ignorant sales reps

A good sales representative should be able to help set up your merchant account with the right sales volume, ticket declarations, and lowest interchange rates. But work with an ignorant sales representative and you could endanger your business. Many credit card processors only teach sales representatives the bare minimum about merchant accounts and processing, which can result in miscommunications and serious errors. Look out for smaller independent sales organizations (ISO) with knowledgeable sales teams.

#6 Watch those chargebacks

“The best defense is a good offense” when it comes to keeping on top of your chargebacks. Every business should create a thorough chargeback prevention plan to maintain an acceptable level of chargeback ratio, or the percentage of chargebacks relative to total transactions. A high chargeback ratio (1% or more) can may mean a canceled merchant account and withheld funds. Cardholders can sometimes issue a chargeback up to six months after a purchase, so keep customers’ order information, sales receipts, and delivery confirmations handy as evidence.

#7 Stay on top of interchange updates

Visa, MasterCard, and Discover update interchange twice each calendar year. These updates can include adjustments to rates, fees, and guidelines. Don’t assume that interchange “updates” means higher fees and tightened guidelines. Instead, keep up with any changes in case they offer better options.

#8 Understand your statements

Statements can be confusing, but it’s important to understand them so you can evaluate your processor’s rates and fees. Processors also often post important changes on the first page of your processing statement. If you’re not sure how to read your statements, contact your sales representative and ask for help.

These credit card processing tips will help keep you informed as you search for a processing partner for your business. But you don’t have to look far!

PayArc provides payment processing solutions to all types and sizes of merchants. We know the challenges of managing a business and provide our merchants with the latest technology and payment options so they can focus on growing their businesses. Our Payment Processing solution offers the tools you need to accept payments online and lower your risk of fraud with some of the lowest rates in the industry. Contact us today about our different online payment products.