How to Make the Right Call on Merchant Services

There is no denying that credit-card processing has become an effective e-commerce business-building tool. Studies have shown that having the ability to accept credit cards as payment off of your Web site will increase sales and profits, plus drive additional and repeat business.

So you might think that any company that offers merchant services will do the trick, but like the old Gershwin song says, that “ain’t necessarily so.” Different companies bring different levels of service, offerings and prices to the table. 

And this is why it will pay for the wise e-store owner to take a step back from the process and do some homework. The time spent doing some research will make it more likely that the decision on a card processing partner will bring the maximum return on investment.

It’s likely that the sheer number of merchant account providers will make you feel you’re trying to find a grain of sugar buried on a beach, but there are ways to pare that crowd down to a manageable size.

First, you should never have to pay to apply for credit card processing services. Likewise, any credible company will not put a charge – some call them junk fees – for things like software, setup and technical support.

So if you’re looking at dozens of companies to begin with, and you filter out all of the rascals that try and inject those junk fees into the process, you’re now looking at a much smaller group of vendors.

Next in the weeding-out process is checking references. And this means going beyond that glowing reviews companies have on their Web site. Make sure you can have conversations with those customers. Check on those things that they may not have been as happy with. Ask them what they would change for the better if they could. Ask what they wish they’d known before they signed up.

Once again you’re going to find that after you complete this step, that the number of vendors still in the mix is much less. And as you weed out the companies you don’t want to do business with by becoming smarter about the merchant services world, the better able you’ll be to sift through the legitimate companies.

Now is a good time to talk about the charges and fees that you can expect to pay. For example, there is the gateway fee – a charge for making sure confidential information flows safely and securely during the transaction. Some very good companies will charge around $15 for this, while other pretty good ones might ask as much as $50. Ask the higher-priced vendors why they charge so much. If you start hearing double-talk, move them to the “reject” pile.

At the end of the day what you want to find is a company that can put together a bundle of services that your business needs, in a cost-effective package. It is likely this will not be the cheapest deal out therePsychology Articles, but it will be the deal that gives your business the maximum return on investment. And how do you put a price on that?

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