Evaluating Credit Card Processing Services: 7 Important Questions to Ask

Are you looking to process credit card payments at your retail or online store? Although it's possible to continue dealing with cash or checks exclusively, adding credit card payment options will open your business up to more people who would rather pay with a credit or debit card. In the present, in fact, a business without this payment option is setting itself up for failure.

So how do you select a reliable merchant account provider? Well, there are a number of important concerns to look at, and what better way to do that than asking the right questions? Here are seven of the most important questions to ask:

Do you power both online and offline transactions?

With nearly every business having an online presence today, you wouldn't want to limited yourself to a merchant account provider that does not offer credit card processing services for both modes. Switching providers can be costly, so make sure you're choosing one you can grow with into the foreseeable future.

Do you offer fraud protection services?

After the introduction of credit card liability rules in 2015, part of your responsibility as a business owner is to minimize the risk of credit card fraud. Every prospective payment processing company should be clear about the measure they have in place to safeguard sensitive financial data.

What's the length of the contract?

When starting out, it's best to avoid lengthy contract periods. This is to allow you to assess the merchant account provider's level of service before you can commit to a longer contract.
Any fees for cancellation/early termination?

Many providers will penalize you for terminating the contract prematurely. The fees are pretty much standard, but be sure to check that they don't exceed a few hundred dollars.

What other fees apply?

Apart from the standard transaction and cancellation fees, be sure you're aware of any other fees the provider will charge you. You don't want some unpleasant surprises some time after signing on the dotted line.

Is the processing service compatible with my system?

Many payment processing companies use proprietary systems that may not be compatible with your online shopping card. Ask whether the prospective provider's technology integrates well with your system before signing the contract.

Do you offer round-the-clock support?

Support is an essential part of every service business. Some merchant services offer 24/7 email support. However, you'll want to speak live to a real person when you run into problems with your credit card machine, for example.