SimplifyThis’ web based invoicing software enables clients to easily pay you online though a merchant account or Paypal. Choosing a merchant account provider can be a daunting task. Here’s what to look for.
In business you are only as good as the services you use. Whether you are deciding on a shipping method, a web host, or a distributor, your business depends on their efficiency and overall operational success. One aspect of business that is often settled upon rather than carefully chosen is the merchant account provider. Many take the first company they come across with the best price. In business this can cause immediate setup for failure. When choosing a merchant account, careful consideration should be taken in a few areas.
Choosing a Merchant Account Provider
When you are choosing your account provider you have a choice between a merchant account service and your bank. Some businesses will choose their bank out of convenience and loyalty. However, this may not be the best choice. As banks utilize merchant account services as an alternative source of income, their focus on merchant accounts is less than ideal. Most banks actually outsource their merchant accounts to real merchant account providers, which will cause you to pay more for a service you could be getting directly. These merchant account providers are the best choice as they are up to date on today’s e-commerce technology.
Just as you work towards building a great reputation in your business, your merchant account provider should do the same. Choose an account that has a great reputation for tending to their customer’s needs. Check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints or compliments. If you find there are more complaints than you feel comfortable with, move on to another company. A good standing with the BBB is a great indication of what to expect when doing business with the merchant provider.
Your satisfaction should be the most important aspect of choosing any partner in business. Research the account provider’s satisfaction guarantee. Many will offer a 90 day money back guarantee in case you are unhappy with their service. This shows their confidence in their business and services they offer. If you find a provider with no guarantee, be weary and continue your search. You will want a company that is confident enough in their operations to offer you a full refund if they fail to satisfy your needs.
Your merchant account provider needs to be reachable. During your search, take into consideration their customer service practices, rating, and availability. If you have a problem at 3am with your service, you want a company that has staff on hand to address your concerns and provide a solution. Take the time to call their customer service department to get a feel for what to expect. Searching Google for customer recommendations and reviews is also a great way to get a firsthand opinion on the type of customer service they have.
One of the most important aspects of any business service is the cost to do business with them. Whether you are a small start-up company or a large corporation, cost is always the bottom line. Choosing a merchant account provider is a way to receive credit card payments, online payments, and expand the options for your customers to pay for your products or services. It should not be the one service that sends your company into bankruptcy.
By searching several different companies, you will be able to estimate the industry standard for the services you need. While many businesses tend to choose the lowest cost service, this may be a mistake. Just as you have a cost of business, so does the merchant account providers. Those account providers that offer the same services for much less may be lacking in their customer service, reliability of service, or could be a scam all together. Choose a moderately priced service that has all of the options you are looking for.
Also look at initial fees. There shouldn’t be an application fee, setup fee, maintenance fee, or annual fee. The cost of the service is paid for by the transactions your company makes. Also avoid companies that require you to sign a lease for equipment. Merchant account providers understand the world of business and the success to failure rate. If you are forced to sign a lease and your business doesn’t succeed you will find yourself paying for unused equipment for the remainder of the lease.
The last, but not least important, is the account providers business practices. You want to choose a company that is reliable and up to date. Call the company and grill them with questions regarding how long they have been in business, accuracy of their deposits, whether the deposits are made in a timely manner and if there are any additional services that may be beneficial to your specific business. You will want to be sure you are receiving accurate records in order to keep accurate records.
Before settling on a merchant account provider, take your time to consider all the aspects of doing business with them. If one company is lacking in one department, continue your search until you find a company that meets all the needs of your business. Don’t make the mistake of settling for a provider based on price or convenience. After all, you will be doing business with them for a long time.