Thursday, November 4, 2010

Credit Card Processing And Merchant Account Services

3 Important Factors to Consider While Choosing Your Credit Card Processing and Merchant Account Service Provider

Accepting credit cards online is essential to your business today, as online purchases increase. It is simply no longer an option not to accept credit cards on your web site. And, if you choose the wrong credit card processing company, you might pay for this mistake dearly in the long run. Therefore, there are a few simple things you should consider before you choose your credit card processing company.

1)Do You Qualify?

-Most credit card processing companies have at least some screening process. Some are more forgiving then others. Some do check for good credit score. Some serve only to US residents, some serve International customers. Most give all the guidelines on their web site, either directly on their application form, or some other page like "Terms and Conditions" or "Frequently Asked Questions". Make sure you qualify as a customer before you apply any credit card processing company. Some companies even charge for application, so avoid the unnecessary hassle to apply for a credit card processing company that you do not qualify for.

2)What are their fees and are there any long-term contracts.

-Low fees at each transaction means lots of saving in the long term. Look for all the transaction fees, monthly or yearly subscription fees, fees for use of payment gateway or payment processor, and make sure that you are aware of all fees up-front. There should be no fine-print, ho hidden costs, and you should make your decision in an informed manner. Also, it is a good idea to check 3-5 different credit card processing companies to make sure you get the best possible deal in terms of low cost.

3) Customer service and company reliability

-The good, the bad, and the ugly is differentiated by what they do when there is a problem. Of course, it is hard to know how will a credit card company respond, when there is a real problem, before having a problem. But still, look for what they provide you for customer service. Can you call them 24/7 on a dedicated customer service line? Or do you fill a form on the web? Do they have a "guaranteed response time" (like 24 hours or one business day), when you have a question to ask or any problem to resolve? Ask for all these things, and even try them for minor questions and comments. Call the "customer service phone" and see how fast you can really talk with a live person, and how helpful he or she is. Look for positive or negative customer reviews on the Internet, making a search on Google.

It will help you if you consider these 3 simple things before you make your final decision. Better be safe than sorry.Your credit card processing company will serve you for a long time, and it is wise to make some due diligence before you commit to any single company.

Steve Kujala is in the insurance business in CA and operates numerous blogs and websites.