There are several factors small business owners should take into account before deciding on a host company for your credit card processing needs. Before making a final commitment, consider individual company ratings, the application process, required monthly fees, transaction fees, features, fraud protections, accepted credit cards and technical support.

When it comes to ratings, you should be asking yourself what the average approval rating is, along with ratings for the monthly cost, start up cost, customer service and set up time. If you’re strapped for time, consider the application process – does the company offer a digital application and if so how efficient is their turnaround time?

Most small business owners find their greatest frustration in cost. Though a startup cost is often clearly listed, there is (as in other areas of business) the possibility for hidden or associated costs such as gateway fees, statement fees and monthly minimum requirements. Speak with a customer service representative to get the full picture on fees and take a moment to inquire whether there are any perks or discounts that might be applicable.

And finally you should consider how quickly an account gets cleared, whether the company offers eChecks, shopping cart options or recurring billing. These four factors are arguably most crucial to a successful business. If your business doesn’t have this need in the present, consider building a network that allows room for such adaptations down the road; it might be a little more expensive but it’s worth it to have one payment solution that you’re able to adapt and grow with rather than wasting your time a few months or years down the road by going through the whole process all over again. While individual preferences and business type will dictate which factors are most important to you, you should consider and weigh the pros and cons of each system while making a decision.

Online Credit Card Processing Case Study: Processing Point

A leading merchant service credit card processing provider, Processing Point is ideal for small businesses with modest online card processing needs and for those who need this service for internet sales, mail/telephone orders and automatic recurring payments. Processing Point also gears their services toward chiropractics and pool services, which brings to light the importance of determining whether your company of choice can cater to your industry needs. Packages for Processing Point start at $79.95 a month and cap at $179.95 per month.

Most packages also limit the number of employees at seven; they also encourage business growth by offering a gift and loyalty service that allows customers to purchase more and share your business services/products with others. Gift cards help spread word of mouth from trusted sources and allow for greater brand awareness of your valuable small business. Processing Point offers card design/production, gift card programs and loyalty card programs for as little as $24.95 a month.

Processing Point also caters to your small business’s payroll needs by offering tax filings, direct deposits and a dedicated account representative to handle your case. While this service is not offered by most vendors, it certainly does bring to light the importance of evaluating the competition when deciding on a credit card payment or portable card machines solutions. Perhaps tax services aren’t high on your list of priorities and services…until it is mentioned to you. As a small business owner, you have enough on your plate. If you can kill two birds with one stone by combining your online credit card processing solution with a vendor that eliminates the cost of an accountant, you then have that much more free time to further excel in your business by doing what you do best.
Credit Card Processing: Evaluate the Competition
Because you won’t know what else you might need until it’s presented to you, take a moment to evaluate the competition and see what features various merchants have to offer. Here’s a brief list of other leading credit card processing vendors:

Your choice will come down to trust and convenience. Before finalizing any one option, take the time to really read up on your narrowed down choices and talk to your business peers to gauge their impression of the various options. See what they have to say and learn what their experience has been. The best way to do this is run a Google search with the company name followed by “complaints,” providing you with a clear idea of what ratings and peer reviews have to say; you can also check out the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints were filed against a merchant. Whichever choice you decide upon will inevitably be a reflection on you and your company to your valued customers. So make sure it’s the right one for your business.