Money is a tricky business, it seems; especially when you want to make some for yourself. When you’re running an online business, you need to make sure that the way you’re handling money not only is secure, but also makes sense. When you’re using merchant accounts to help process financial transactions, you need to be wary of what you’re signing up for so that you can make the most of their services.
A merchant account is a system through which a customer gives their financial information to the account company, they check the information and then deposit the funds into your account. By acting as a intermediary, not only can they help verify the account, but they will also help create a seamless flow of funds into your account ‘ if you watch out for these five things.
The Fees Can be High
When you’re a smaller business that doesn’t have a lot of cash flow, some merchant account companies may charge higher fees than you can handle. With each transaction, the account company is going to change a fee in order to do the processing (which is how they make money). But unless you are getting a high amount of orders each month, these fees can add up to more expenses than the profits you are taking in. Be reasonable about the transactions you expect to go through this account and then look at their rate plans.
The Security May Not Be Top Notch
Whenever financial information is being sent over the internet, there is a chance that someone is going to try to steal it. While you might have security software on your website, you need to be sure that the merchant account has their own security safeguards in place as well. Talk to them about whether they have been compliant with industry guidelines and also check to see if any complaints have been filed against them because of problems.
The Customer Service Can be Slow
If your merchant account system isn’t working, you’re not going to be able to accept payments from your customers. Even if this is only for an hour, this is disastrous for an online business. You need to be able to contact the customer service center at all times of the day and get a response quickly in order to make sure business is always working as usual.
You Might Get Locked into an Agreement
When you’re first starting out as an online business, you might not be sure if the merchant account you are choosing is the right one for you. But you need to have this system in place, so you sign up anyways. Before you sign up, you might want to check the fine print of your service agreement to see what will happen should you decide to switch to someone else. You might have to pay a high fee, which could keep you with the inferior merchant account because you just can’t afford it. Find out what you’re getting into first.
You Might Not Understand All the Fees
And then there are the merchant accounts that can charge you a number of fees that you just don’t understand. Before you sign up for any account, be sure to ask for a copy or an example of a fee schedule. If you notice any fees that don’t make sense to you, ask about them. If they are unable to give you a good reason for the fees, you might want to move onto another company. Some of the fees might be built in just to increase the profits of the merchant account company.
When you’re choosing a merchant account, it’s best to take your time and to look over all the fine print before you agree to their services.
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