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Merchant account considerations

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Finding the right merchant account service for your business can be difficult. With so many merchant account services available today, sorting through all of the options can be a real challenge for many small businesses. Fortunately, there is a way to sort through all of the companies by looking at these key factors.

Price/Fee Structure

One of the most important aspects of a merchant account service is its fee structure. In general, most companies will charge either a flat rate per transaction, or a percentage of every transaction. Some services will charge a monthly flat rate, however, and cap the number or amount of the transactions that can be processed.

Customer Service

Look carefully at how a company treats its customers. New businesses may need a lot of customer support to deal with new equipment and software. If your business will need a lot of support, it may be worth it to find a merchant account provider that charges a little more but has great customer service.

Unique Features

All merchant services are not the same, and a lot of them offer some unique benefits to their customers. Some offer free web hosting so that your customers can make purchases through an online store. Others offer software that allows you to keep sales records for years and/or offer customers a receipt for their purchase. Also look for promotional offers for free or discounted rates and/or equipment rentals.

Point of Sale Equipment (or mobile payment equipment)

In order to process a credit card, a business will need a way to read the number. Some services allow a business owner or store employee to type the card number in manually, but this can be time consuming and hurt sales in a high volume business. A lot of services offer card readers that can be attached to a computer or phone line. Commonly called swipe machines, these devices read card information and will transmit the data via phone line or internet to the merchant service provider.

Some card services will also offer mobile reading devices. These pieces of equipment attach to a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet, allowing a business to process credit cards from anywhere.

Customer Ratings

Finally, take some time to read customer reviews of a variety of different merchant account services. It’s important to know how other businesses have been treated by the company that you are considering for your credit card processing.

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