For as long as there have been entrepreneurs there has been someone lurking in the background murmuring: To make money you have to spend money.
A better way to turn that phrase so it truly gets its meaning across is: To make money you have to invest money back into your business. Because that is what wise merchant spending is doing when they spend on their business a short-term cash outflow for long-term profitability.
If youre a traditional retailer you can find a store in the run-down part of town with a leaky roof at a great price. But you probably wont get a lot of business because people arent in the area very often and those who do come in wont enjoy the experience. Thats why youd spend a little more for rent to be in a great location with lots of consumer traffic and a store people feel comfortable in.
And the same is true if your store just happens to be on the Internet. You still have to invest wisely to make sure your business is attractive to its customers. This is why it is important to take a look at the cost of adding credit card processing service that goes well beyond the bottom-line price.
You have to think more about what you may not be getting for the price some companies will charge.
And now is a good time to make an important point credit card processing companies, just like you as a business professional, exist to be profitable. You are going to have to spend some money. The trick will be to spend it wisely.
There are fees tied to having merchant services. For example, the gateway fee is going to be charged by all companies. The gateway refers to the payment gateway, which essentially is the secure path by which sensitive cardholder information is sent back and forth during the transaction. While this is a cornerstone of your processing needs and you want to make sure your customers can trust using their cards on your site the established companies will price this around $15-20 per month.
However, there are some companies out there that will charge up to four times that amount! Does that mean their gateway is four times better? Four times more secure? A great rule of thumb is that when you see such a disparity in price you need to ask why. And if you dont get a clear answer, ask again. If youre still not getting clarity, move on.
Another fee to consider carefully is the monthly minimum, or what you will be charged no matter how many cards you process in a given month. If you expect to pump a significant volume of transactions every month, seek a reasonable fee.
But lets say you sell antique porcelain dolls that were crafted in France during the late 1800s, well, the odds are your transactions every 30 days may be in the single digits. In this case seek a lower fee.
The aim of this exercise is not finding the rock-bottom price. Instead the savvy e-business owner needs to look at what their business needs from a merchant services perspective, and then find a company that can meet (if not exceed) those needs in a cost-effective fashion. The discounters usually cant win a competition when it comes to service after the sale.
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