If you plan to launch an online store in the coming months or years, you’ll be joining a sector that has been booming recently and showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, the e-commerce industry is predicted to generate over $490 billion in U.S. sales alone by next year.
If you want to maximize revenue for your new store, it is important to find a quality merchant services provider that can transact credit and debit card payments (and any other types of payments you choose to accept) swiftly and securely every time. Making the decision can be rather daunting though, with so many providers on the market. If you’re keen to find the best fit for your needs today, read on for three of the key factors you need to consider.
The first thing that most people look at when finding a merchant services company is price. However, it is important to be aware that different firms structure their costs in different ways. As such, you need to carefully look at the choices to determine what fit will be best for your needs.
Many payment providers set up their fees to be variable, calculated based on the number of transactions per period (usually monthly). Others have set monthly payment plans that don’t change, no matter how many purchases are processed. Alternatively, some companies also have flat rates based on particular sales volumes transacted each period.
When comparing options you’ll also notice that some merchant services firms charge a startup fee for creating accounts and configuring their system with your point-of-sale system. In addition, there can be fees charged by some providers if you cancel a contract within a certain period, or if you want to have access to customer support. There can also be extra charges for moving funds into your bank account, or for processing transactions through payment methods such as PayPal or certain credit card types (e.g. American Express or Diners Club).
Before you sign on the dotted line with a payment processor, make sure you ask each firm about the process involved in receiving your funds. Some companies can give you access to money within a day or two, while others may not allow you to move your balance into your bank account until a week or more has passed. Longer turnaround times can significantly affect your cashflow, particularly when you build up to large numbers of sales per day, so is an important factor to keep in mind.
Another key element to consider when weighing up your payment processing options is service. That is, what customer support does each company provide if you sign up with them? While of course you will always hope that things run smoothly with your payment transactions and that you never have to contact a customer service rep for assistance, the fact is that issues do happen.
As a result, it’s necessary to select a merchant services firm that will make it easy for you to get help whenever and however you need it, within a timely manner. You don’t want, after all, to miss out on sales revenue for hours or days because of a problem that you’re not in control of. As well, you don’t want to frustrate potential or current customers if they try to buy from you and can’t finalize their transactions.
As you compare providers then, search for those who have comprehensive support available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is best to choose a firm that provides customer service via multiple methods, so that you can choose the best option for you at the time. For example, companies with optimal support will be available via email, phone, online live chats, and social media.
Lastly, in this digital age hackers are continually finding new ways to get access to websites and systems. As such, when you operate an online store, you need to ensure that all of your customers’ personal and financial data, such as credit card information, emails and addresses, is kept safe at all times. It is vital, then, to locate a payment processing provider that takes security very seriously.
Firms which provide the highest level of security, will boast numerous security protocols. These include support for top-level SSL certificates, CVV2 verification, data encryption, and hard-to-hack, complex encryption algorithms. In addition, top firms will secure all the billing addresses provided by customers during transactions; and have very tight restrictions on how data is sent and stored online.