I walked into a sporting goods store not too long ago and ended up talking to the owner about the credit card processing service he was using. The story that he began to tell me was typical. He didn’t trust processors in general, and he even had an experience where a merchant service provider unlawfully withdrew funds from his checking account.Aside from having funds withdrew from his account, his experience with and feelings toward merchant service providers was typical. He felt as though he was being overcharged no matter which provider he used, he felt that he didn’t know enough about the industry to get a good merchant account and he didn’t know who to ask to get honest, straightforward information on the subject.When I asked which company he currently uses to handle the credit card processing for his business, he said that he uses his bank because they’re the least of all evils. I chuckled and asked if he was interested in seeing if I could recommend a processor that would be less expensive than his bank.I could see his attitude change toward me as soon as I asked the question. He looked at me with suspicion and said that at least five people per week come into his shop to pitch the next latest and greatest credit card processing service all of them promising to save him a ton of money.From that point on, I was no longer a friendly customer with whom he was having a conversation. I was just another person trying to sell evil credit card processing services even though I wasn’t selling anything.I backed off and explained that I didn’t sell processing services but that I knew quite a bit about the industry and I was willing to show him how to find the best merchant account for his business. With that he was still reluctant to carry on the conversation so I smiled, grabbed the bag containing my purchase and left the store.The gentlemen from the sporting goods store in an unfortunate yet typical example of how many business people look at credit card processing and merchant service providers. The ability to accept credit cards comes with many benefits, but they’re almost always overshadowed by the negative stereotypes that the industry has created for itself.I’m not implying that many of these stereotypes aren’t well deserved, what I’m saying is that buying into them will only hurt your bottom line. Competition in the credit card processing industry is what will help to keep your rates low. You don’t need to take the time to speak with every salesperson that approaches you to pitch their services, but you should allow them the chance to save you money.Remove the identifiable information (business name, merchant id number, etc.) from your processing statements each month and then make a few photocopies. Keep these copies at the sales counter. Whenever someone comes into your store selling processing services, hand them a copy of your statement and tell them to give you a call when they’ve got a comprehensive comparison of what they’re offering versus your current service.The interaction will take about five seconds of your time, and it may end up saving you hundreds of dollars. There’s no reason not to do it! I understand that merchant accounts can be a headache, but it’s a vital part of business, and you might as well pay the least amount of money for the ability to accept credit cards.
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This article to help businesses get a cheap merchant account and more helpful information such as that on interchange plus is available at MerchantCouncil.
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