BizTip#5

5 Savvy Tips to
Merchant Services

Protecting Your Profit

Many customers prefer using a card of some kind as a form of payment. Accepting credit and debit cards is an increasingly important form of transacting business. So keep a sharp eye on the details of your merchant service agreement to protect your profits and avoid losing money on sales. Here are 5 savvy tips you need to know.

1. Three Fees That Nibble Away at Your Profit

Monthly Minimums

Do you own a young business and are unsure of monthly revenues? Or perhaps you are well established but conduct credit card transactions infrequently as a courtesy to your customers. Be sure to ask if your average transactions meet the monthly minimum. If not, you may be required to pay a monthly fee. Look for a merchant service provider without a minimum transaction fee.

Annual Fees

Ask if the provider charges an annual fee in addition to setup charges and other standard fees. Tally what you might expect to pay in service charges for several months to get an average yearly cost, then include the annual fee. Determine what percentage of sales you are spending on credit card transactions. Can you afford to pay an annual fee on top of the rates and fees paid for each transaction?

Early Termination Fees

Service providers offering very low rates may hide excessive early termination fees in their contracts. Read the fine print and understand the consequences if you need to terminate your contract.

2. Equipment Caveats

Can you purchase your equipment outright instead of leasing and avoid the extra monthly expense? What happens if there's a problem? Nothing is worse than a machine malfunction during a busy season. Know how fast your equipment will be replaced or repaired and the cost involved to get you back in business.

3. Easy Access to Reports

Do you have easy access to your account information? Look for a service that offers online reports. Some merchant services let you download transaction information to accounting programs including monthly statements, daily transactions, returns and credits, etc.

4. Be Card Smart

Carefully consider the types of cards you wish to accept. If your customers routinely use Visa but rarely use American Express, limit the cards you accept to the most popular brands. Remember, the rate you pay on a specialty card could significantly lower the profit on the sale.

5. Assistance When You Need It

Does your merchant service provider offer 24/7 support? Look for a company with year-round technical support available online or by phone. Ask if live people answer the phone or if help is only available by recorded phone tree messages. "Bigger" is not always "Better" – there are several companies and banks who claim to be the biggest processor; that rarely translates into better service for you. Deal locally whenever possible!

Need Help Deciding?

Contact Payne County Bank for assistance with merchant services. We're happy to answer your questions and help you select the service that best meets the needs of your business. Call Teresa Reynolds at 547-4820 or email her at teresareynolds@paynecountybank.com

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