Setting Up a Credit Card Machine at Your Business
With 88 percent of Americans owning and using credit cards, accepting card payments at your business can be a great way to appeal to customers. Fewer people are carrying cash and check payments can take time to clear, hindering cash flow for many small and growing businesses.
Let’s look at the process for accepting and setting up a credit card machine at your business.
Set Up a Merchant Account
A merchant who wishes to accept credit cards must first set up a merchant account. This account is different from a back account and exists solely to accept payments from debit and credit card users.
This account serves as the agreement between the business, the merchant, and the bank on all payments. Merchant accounts usually involve a small start up fee, and comparing options will give you an idea of the different processing terms.
Many banks will allow businesses to buy or rent processing equipment. These card readers give businesses instant information on card approval at the point of sale. The changing nature of technology means there is a variety of options for business owners when it comes to credit card processing technology.
- Point-of-Sale Systems: These are the traditional credit card machines available for loan or purchase from your financial institution. These connect with your cash register or in-store system and offer the most comprehensive solution for accepting credit cards.
- Mobile Processors: Fairly new technology that attaches to the owner’s mobile phone. These typically don’t require a merchant account and can be a good choice for on-the-go businesses.
- Online Processors: If your business is primarily e-commerce, there are plenty of third-party shopping cart software options.
Do I need to accept credit cards? To answer this question, you have to carefully identify the needs of your customers. If they would be more likely to use a debit or credit card, offering it in-store could boost business and customer retention. A 2014 study found that 45% of Americans prefer to shop using debit cards and 30% prefer to use credit cards. As the amount of people carrying cash to shop dwindles year-over-year, a credit card processor could be a worthy investment.
Is credit card processing secure? Your customer’s data should be a number-one priority. Thankfully, there are strict industry standards in order to process credit cards at a business. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard oversees all business credit transactions and your business must be fully compliant to avoid any consequences.
What are the fees? Depending on who you choose for your merchant account, fees will differ. Looking around and determining what you need specifically to get started and remain profitable will be a great way to narrow down competitors and get the best account for your business. Typical fees run between 2-3%, but some are as high as 4% per transaction. However, with 69% of the millennial generation indicating they would not shop at locations that don’t accept credit or debit payments, the fee could be a worthwhile cost.
Are there any rules? The PCI Standards should be followed at all times. There are certain rules that apply to customers. For instance, your business cannot put the credit card processing fees on the customer or require a minimum purchase in order to process their credit card. Making sure you are in full compliance will stop you from losing the benefits of your merchant account.
Processing credit and debit cards at your business can be a great way to boost sales, improve cash flow and ensure trust with your customers. The process is relatively easy and there are plenty of options to keep fees low for your business.
Ready to get your credit card processing started?
If you own a business in the greater Austin area, and you need assistance installing a credit card system for your company, call Authorized Credit Card Systems. We can help you set it up in just a few days.
Contact us for more information.