Any business owner or merchant would always look at their return on investment or ROI as their main measure of success, and one of the fool-proof ways to secure their ROIs is to make sure that money keeps pouring into the business from all directions.
This is exactly the reason payment processors are very vital to a business’ success. Not only do they allow merchants to accept debit and credit card transactions, they also accept other modes of payment like direct bank transfers, eChecks, and mobile wallets. It is therefore even more important that you start investing on a payment processor that will serve all your needs and grow with your business and its evolving needs.
There are also 2 main ways of getting set up with a payment processor: (1) you can either establish a direct relationship with an acquiring bank, which will set up both your merchant account and the link to a payment processor, or (2) work with a third-party company called a Merchant Services Provider or MSP.
In choosing which payment processor to work with, however, it is not always the lowest bidder that is the best choice. You have to consider your own needs, what the bidders offer, and what the entire pricing plan is inclusive of.
When choosing a payment processor, here are the top 7 things you must always consider:
- Your payment processor must offer multiple options. This may seem like a no-brainer, but you will be surprised by the number of merchants who overlook this simply because they assumed any payment processor will offer all possible payment options. While some customers may already be happy with a merchant that accepts their cards as payments, there are others who still do not want to use their credit cards online or prefer a specific payment option for large purchases such as direct bank transfers, eChecks, and mobile wallets. If you can’t serve their needs the first chance they are ready to pay, then you’re out of luck in making sure they’ll ever come back. This is where a payment processor that opens options for these kinds of customers come into play.
- The payment processor must help you become PCI-compliant. There is no way to circumvent this major rule. If you have a business, whether it is on financial services or not, you have to be PCI-compliant. It is an industry standard regulated by the Federal Trade Commission or FTC that indicates how you secure your customers’ credit card data. Suffice to say, your payment processor must be PCI-compliant, but it must not just end there. There are some companies that may not help you meet these compliance requirements so always conduct that research on that payment processing company before you go all-in.
- Look for those hidden fees, if there are any. In the same manner that you wanted to earn profit to grow your business, so does payment processing companies. This is understandable and completely acceptable as long as you both agree on what fees you are paying and what you are getting in return. This is why payment processing companies that offer the lowest price upfront may not be the best choice---there might be some fees that you will be paying that they have not shared with you yet. After all, there are different fees for different kinds of credit cards and other payment options, and you must always consider this when looking at these attractive, low-priced plans.
- Consider how the payment processor handles your account. In the past, a payment processor can freeze your account and disallow your access to it for weeks if there is a sudden need to investigate possible fraudulent activity. However, if the payment processor has a well structured risk department and your MSP or Acquiring Bank has a built in training, clearing any holds on your merchant account should not be an issue that lasts for weeks. It is important to make sure to ask your MSP or Acquiring Bank regarding these types of risk holds and what are the internal procedures to handle such an event.
- A payment processor must have a system that’s easily integrated. Let’s say you finally found the best offer out of all those bidders, finally sealed the deal, and---oh, snap; it’s not compatible with other software you already built into your system. Worse, it may not be as user-friendly to you or your customers. This is another issue you should not need to deal with, so keep this in mind when choosing who to partner with.
- Choose a payment processor that takes security very seriously. When dealing with payments, securing cardholder information is a priority to ensure their loyalty and to avoid chargebacks due to fraud. It is important that a payment processor prioritizes data protection and security by utilizing fraud-protection tools into its platform. Most importantly, dealing with possible fraudulent activity related to payments must not be something you must do alone.
- A payment processor should not shy away from serving you. As a merchant and client, getting what you need from your payment processor may already be enough. Choose a payment processor that also looks at those little things to help you---like guiding you in the technicalities of setting up their platform. If the system suddenly creates an error, someone from your MSP or Acquiring Bank must be readily available to also assist you---and not everyone can offer that.
Taking all these seven factors into consideration when making a choice could be a handful, but you will end up with the choice if you follow them by heart. After all, there is no payment processor that will solve every company’s problems and meet its priorities, so never settle for a payment processor that has served your main competitors although this could be a good reference or benchmark when choosing yours.
If you’re still looking for the best payment processor to build your future business empire, Agapay can offer you the best value for your investment and address your specific needs. Get hold of our pricing plans and practical offers; contact us at 800 644 3909 or reach us here.