Choosing the Right Merchant Account Matters
3 min readEcommerce
In business, especially E-commerce, the services you choose can make or break your company. From your webhost to your shipping methods, each service matters. A good business is like a machine and every gear and cog needs to work properly in order for it to run smoothly. That is why consideration is taken in every aspect to assure a harmonic co-existence in your business model. One of the major aspects of your business is your merchant service. When your customer’s payments, shipping fees, and your profits are handled by others, you want to be sure you made the right decision as to who has their hands in your cookie jar. That is why there are certain qualities you need to look for when deciding on your merchant account.
Choose a real merchant service:
Some believe going to their bank for a merchant account is the answer. This is not recommended. Even though your bank will offer a merchant account, banks are behind the tech times. Their technology won’t reflect the latest in e-commerce and wireless payment processing. Most banks that offer merchant accounts outsource the service to a real merchant account provider anyway. Therefore by choosing a real merchant provider and staying away from the banks, you will cut out the middle man and deal directly with your provider.
When choosing your provider, the first thing you should always check for, no matter who you are doing business with is their track record. You want to research your prospects and see what others are saying about them. Check with The Better Business Bureau and see what their rating is and if they are in good standings with the BBB. If there are more complaints than compliments, then search elsewhere.
The any reputable service will offer a satisfaction guarantee. See if the providers you are looking for promise a 100% money back guarantee. If you try their service and they don’t provide everything they promised you will want to be covered in case you cancel and go elsewhere. If they don’t guarantee your satisfaction then it usually means they have no faith in their service and that is not a company you want to be associated with.
In the event that you have questions or a technical problem, you will want to be sure you can reach them. Find out what their customer service procedures are. Find out what their current customers are saying, how they are treated and whether their customer service and technical support delivers quality results with little to no hassle. Also ask what their customer service hours are, if you can find one that has 24/7 support, that will only benefit you in case of a problem.
Some newer entrepreneurs make the mistake of choosing the service with the lowest fees. Even though savings sounds like a solid business decision, there is a range of industry standard. Research what the most popular providers are charging and calculate a proper range. If a company is low balling their fees upfront, you may find hidden fees later or their customer service won’t be up to par. For every dollar taken from fees, another department is lacking.
Also look at initial fees. There shouldn’t be any set-up fees, application fees, annual fees, or programming fees. Also beware of high cost equipment. Never pay more for any equipment than what it is worth. This is easy to see by comparing other companies and seeing what the average cost of equipment is. Also be weary of companies requiring you to sign a lease. True merchant providers understand how business works and the possibility of accounts being cancelled due to business closure. If they are requiring a lease and contractually obligating you to a term of service, look elsewhere.
Lastly you want to look at the business all around. Find out their availability, how long they have been operating, accuracy of their deposits, whether they make deposits in a timely manner, and if they have any special services that might benefit your business. Keeping accurate records is important, receiving accurate records are even more important. Don’t be afraid to grill the customer service agent with a list of questions that will help you decide if their service is right for you. After all, you plan on doing business with them for a long time given they pass your test.
No matter what type of business you are venturing into, choosing the right merchant services provider could help it run smoother. Be sure to do your research, ask questions, poll their current customers and compare them to several other companies to assure you are making a choice that benefits your business. The wrong merchant account can break your company before it has a chance to be successful.