Cash is not always king. As our society steadily moves towards becoming more digitalized and reliant on technology, we are seeing less physical money exchange hands.
However, keeping up with the times is not the only reason to upgrade your small businesses payment system. Here are just some of the advantages accepting credit cards will have on your bottom line:
- Increase in overall sales
- Improve customer service
- Broaden your customer base
- Save time with fewer trips to the bank.
So if you are ready to take the plunge and provide more value to your customers, here are four of the best credit card processing solutions for small business owners.
1. Terminal Processing
A payment terminal, also known as a point of sale terminal, is a device that allows customers to make payments with their credit cards in store. It is a reliable and secure method of accepting credit and debit payments.
The main benefit of credit card terminals for small business owners is its direct link to improved customer satisfaction. With a card machine payment option, you will be able to reduce wait times with faster checkout, give your customers a secure way to pay for their purchase and more options to pay that suit their needs such as contactless payments and digital wallets.
There are also a few vendors that give small business owners a free terminal processing system on sign up. This value add helps to reduce initial setup costs and is something to look into if your budget is tight.
The downsides to accepting cards are minimal, but most of them can be avoided. While credit card fraud is still a common problem, merchants can train their staff to spot a fake debit or credit card. Another disadvantage is the unavoidable cost. However, business owners should look at it simply as a cost of doing business and realize the device will pay itself off in no time.
It’s easy to see that the cons associated with terminal processing are minimal and can be easily avoided. The benefits will not only help your business grow but drive customer loyalty and deliver a positive in-store experience.
2. Mobile Processing
Mobile credit card processing also referred to as mPOS (mobile point of sale) gives small businesses the ability to accept card payments with a phone or tablet instead of a terminal or point-of-sale (POS) system.
The main benefits of choosing a mobile credit card processor are its versatility and the low-cost factor. For small business owners that attend local farmer’s markets or trade shows, this option lets you accept credit cards wherever you are. This capability can also benefit stationary business owners who can mobilize their sales team by adding more checkout lines without purchasing additional registers.
Mobile processing companies also tend to charge fewer fees than traditional credit card processors and take the guesswork out of tipping by providing preset percentages for customers during checkout.
There are two main concerns that small business owners should consider before purchasing a mobile credit card processor is how it will negatively affect customer service and getting a robust estimate on costs.
If you choose not to add a printer with your mobile processor, it will take extra time to capture an email address to send the receipt electronically. Depending on how busy your shop is or if your customer is in a rush, this might lead to some dissatisfaction.
While mobile credit processors are less expensive than standard credit card terminals for small business owners, they do come with a bunch of small costs that add up. Before biting the bullet with a vendor be sure to inquire about the fees that will be charged per transaction, per day, per month and even year so that you can get a holistic cost estimate.
Mobile credit card processing for small business owners are ideal for merchants who are on the go and want an affordable solution. The disadvantages above can easily be avoided with some careful planning, and there are numerous ways to lower your mobile credit processing costs if you are prepared to negotiate your rates and ask the right questions.
3. POS Processing
POS credit card processing for small business owners is a reliable, affordable and flexible way to manage POS operations. It transforms an ordinary tablet into an all-in-one payment solution that can complement a range of add-on applications as well as cash drawers, scanners, printers and more.
One of the key advantages of a POS processing system is the ability for small business owners to access their sales data no matter where they are. By using a cloud-based system, you can see real-time inventory levels and customer information as you go about your day.
A POS processing system also lets merchants take advantage of a cloud-based integration and offer services that are not possible with a traditional POS platforms. Besides allowing payments to be processed anywhere on the business premises, business owners can also use this system to set up check-splitting, loyalty programs and integration with external accounting platforms.
Before you make the big switch to a POS processing system, there are a few things to consider. Firstly, it is important to remember that as your POS system is hosted in the cloud, it is only as good as your internet connection. Do your research and make sure you either choose a vendor that offers offline services or that you have a backup plan in place in case your connection goes down.
By embracing cloud computing technology like POS and setting up systems to combat possible downtime, small business owners can operate just as efficiently as bigger organizations.
4. Online Processing
It is not enough to just have a brochure, these days you have to sell online to stay relevant, and that means accepting credit cards. An online processing system lets merchants accept online payments from buyers worldwide. It is a safe, reliable and seamless way to manage payment processing while you focus on making the best possible product or service.
Online payment systems give your customers a convenient way to place an order with your business. Instead of having to drive to your storefront, an online POS lets them shop from the comfort of their own home. By offering this functionality on your website, you can easily increase sales by not giving your customer the chance to look at a competitor that does offer online sales or forgetting about visiting your store altogether.
With an online payment system, you will be dealing with sensitive information such as credit cards numbers that be stolen or altered. As a result, you need to make sure you have adequate security to protect your customer’s details as well as your company’s reputation. Before choosing a vendor, find out what systems they have in place to minimize fraud and their guarantees on data protection.
In short, an online processing system is a necessary payment option for small business owners who want to remain relevant and competitive. By ensuring your business partners with a service provider that complies with high-security standards, you can increase your revenue and take your business to a global market.
Before you decide which of the four credit card processing solutions is the best decision for your small business, make sure you weigh up all the factors and consider which service vendor will be the best fit for not just you, but for your customers as well.
Credit Card Processor Photo via Shutterstock