There are more payment processing options than ever before — many of them designed for very specific niches. This is a good thing, given the sheer diversity of payment preferences — especially across age groups, business types and technologies.
Yet with so many options, it can be challenging to find the right payment processing solution for your own organization. Plus, making the wrong choice may be costly, given contracts, software or equipment, and the training costs associated with migrating to a new provider.
This is why the most important step in selecting a business payment processor involves sitting down to assess your goals. More specifically, you need to determine what types of payments you want to accept, including the "how" and "where" of these transactions.
- An online merchant should avoid providers that don’t offer e-commerce payment solutions like gateways, hosted payment forms, or integrations with shopping carts or e-commerce platforms..
- Companies that conduct business at trade shows and other off-site events should look at providers that specialize in mobile payment solutions.
- Home-based freelancers and other location-independent businesses might want to explore a virtual terminal.
These assessments should also factor in long-term needs, since your business will continue to evolve with time. You want a payment provider that offers flexible options. Equally important, that processor should be able to keep pace with changing technologies. Although credit cards and cash are popular today, the customers of tomorrow may increasingly prefer options like wearable payment technologies or crypto-currencies like Bitcoin.
Once you have a better idea of your business’s requirements, you can begin looking at other selection criteria.
1. Payment Security
It is vitally important that you pick a payment provider that offers secure data processing. If you accept credit and debit cards, this means selecting a provider that is PCI-compliant.
You should choose a processor that can safeguard your customers’ payments using the latest in data security. This means taking advantage of technologies like tokenization, point-to-point encryption and other fraud management tools.
2. Payment Processing Fees
Obviously, you want to keep all processing fees as low as possible. The more money you have to pay, the lower your profits become. Therefore, it pays to shop around for providers that offer the most attractive rates — but be careful.
Nominal processing fees are not the only way that payment providers make money. There are also hidden charges that can affect your bottom line. Don't forget about factors like:
- Fees for terminals and other leased equipment.
- Early termination penalties and charges.
- Fees for exceeding maximum monthly quotas.
- Fees for missing minimum monthly quotas.
These additional charges aren’t necessarily bad. The important thing is to be aware of them before committing to any provider. Though keep in mind that it sometimes makes sense to pay a premium if the processor can guarantee certain benefits — like data security and fraud protection.
3. Average Transaction Amounts and Frequency
Many payment providers offer tiered pricing based on transaction frequencies and amounts. You should choose a package that fits your current needs in the here and now. After all, if you miss or exceed these transaction limits, you’ll end up paying more than necessary.
Ultimately, you want a payment provider that can quickly adjust to your needs as your business continues to expand. Ideally, you should be able to switch review your pricing with a dedicated account manager on a quarterly basis to determine any cost-saving changes.
4. Setup and Maintenance Ease
Getting started with your payment provider should be as easy as possible. This includes enrollment applications, hardware and software upgrades, and training. These steps — if difficult — become “hidden” costs that should factor into your decision-making.
The same is true of maintenance. If you have to constantly troubleshoot your payment environment, you may be better off choosing a different provider. Every second spent on a buggy interface is time taken away from your core business.
5. Customer Support
If you follow the above tip, your payment environment will mostly be "set it and forget it." Though even with the best processors in the world, problems will inevitably crop up. What’s more, you want a provider that is easily reachable 24/7. Email is OK for most issues, but being able to reach a live person via phone or chat is even better.
Starting Your Payment Processing Solution Search
Remember that the switching costs associated with changing payment providers may be costly. This is why choosing the right processor is so important. You don't want to get locked into a payment system only to migrate to another provider down the road.
Shop and compare different business payment solutions so you can better understand the pros and cons of each service. You might even discover that some processors offer benefits you never knew existed.
For example, BluePay’s secure payment solutions excel when it comes to fraud prevention, ease of use, competitive pricing and customer service. However, we offer additional features that help set us apart, including:
- Payment integration that allows you to seamlessly sync incoming transactions with many of the software tools your business already uses.
- Recurring billing ensures that payments automatically come into your system without having to constantly send invoices or reminders.
- Partnership opportunities that include co-branding campaigns, exclusive training webinars and revenue-sharing programs.
- Merchant-specific support, whether you run a charitynonprofit, e-commerce business, restaurant or brick-and-mortar retail store.
To discover how BluePay’s secure payment solutions can help your business succeed, schedule a free consultation with us today.