For the owner of an online business, every decision about that business is a major one if it affects how customers will be able to connect.
There should be no decisions arrived at capriciously because every choice made is going to have a bearing on profitability. Is the domain name easy to recall? Is the hosting service reliable? Will it keep the site up and running? Are your suppliers dependable? Will they allow you to keep the things in stock that you need to? Will they react quickly when you need them to?
And then there is the question of credit card processing. Are you going to have it? Do you need it? If so, which company do you go with?
While all decisions have their place in the success of the business, the one having to do with merchant services can be the most complex. Not only are you signing with a company that will be interacting with your customers, you are going to be entrusting the credit card information of those same people.
Perhaps the best way to approach a decision like this is to think about how you would handle something of this magnitude in the real world. For example, when you go to buy a new car very few people walk on to the first dealership lot they see, point at a vehicle and say: Ill take that one. How much?
Most of us think about what we want, do a lot of Internet research, ask a lot of questions and gather as much information as we can before we ever set foot on a car lot. Then we talk to a handful of dealers to make sure we are getting the best price. It takes some time but at the end of the process we feel better about our decision.
So when you start thinking about the decision to add a merchant services partner, first consider that more than 80 percent of everything bought online is paid for using a credit card. And that number is forecast to rise in the next five years, so clearly the trend is going in that direction.
And think about your own online shopping habits. When you order something do you prefer to pay by credit card? If so, dont your customers deserve the same consideration?
At this point if you are sold on the idea that you need credit card processing you need to think about what sort of company you want to go with. No doubt you will be tempted by those offering discounts and low rates but think about this. Most of the time to trim rates something else usually has to be trimmed and the quickest place to do that is the service component.
What you should strive for instead is finding a handful of companies with proven track records of great service, safety and security that will offer you a competitive rate. That way you get the best of both worlds and will be more likely to get a return on your investment.
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