Ways to Reduce the Costs
We have all been to stores, gas stations, and other businesses that have posted signs or other incentives discouraging credit card use. While this is usually not an acceptable thing for a company to do (it is almost always a violation of the merchant services contract), it is a sign of a problem every business faces – credit card processing is not cheap, although it certainly is necessary. However, there are ways to reduce costs and keep your operations in the black!
Get a PIN Pad
One great way to save money on processing is to get a PIN pad so that your customers can use their debit cards as debit cards, rather than as credit cards. When one is swiped through a reader and entered as credit, you will pay a significantly higher transaction rate than you would pay for a debit card. Lots and lots of people pay this way, instead of with cash, and making a PIN pad available to them could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year, depending on your sales volume.
Update Your Equipment
In addition to adding a PIN pad, another valuable way to save money is by replacing outdated card swipe machines. Higher-tech, better-security machines can sometimes net you a discount with your merchant bank. What's more, using a wireless machine instead of a dial-up will allow you to cancel the dedicated phone line used for processing, and using a thermal printer instead of a traditional one will save you on ink cartridges.
Cancel Your Merchant Club Membership
This membership is often added to merchant service contracts automatically, and many business owners do not realize that they can cancel it at any time. Usually, it adds about $9.95 a month to your service charges, and you most likely aren't getting anything in return for your $100+ each year. Call your bank and ask for these “dues” to be removed from your bill right away.
Make sure to keep all of your signed customer receipts, and train your employees to always verify that the signature on the paper matches the signature on the card. If you are processing transactions online, make sure to demand the CVV2 code and use an address verification system to make sure everything matches up. The more chargebacks you have, the more fees you will incur and the more difficult time you will have finding other merchant service providers to work with your company.
Be PCI Compliant
The Payment Card Industry has well-established guidelines for accepting credit card payments, storing customer data, and more. Speak with your merchant service provider and review your own practices to make sure your business is compliant. If not, you can face hefty fines and surcharges from which small corporations are not exempt.
And of course, remind yourself that your merchant account – and your ability to process transactions – usually increases sales by a huge margin. You may have to pay for this service, but it is one you can't afford to decline!