Your company deserves better than what the majority of the payments industry has to offer: hidden fees, tiered pricing, and restrictive contracts. Luckily for you, selecting a processor can be broken down into three simple steps: picking your point-of-sales system, deciding on a gateway (if needed), and choosing a processor that works with those two choices.
If you’ve ever had to choose a payment processor, you know how painful it can be. It is a time-consuming and frustrating task due mostly to the lack of transparency in the industry as a whole. And if you’ve picked one before, you no doubt are hesitant to go through the process again.All things considered, it may seem easier to just stay in a bad contract than to try and break it and start the process all over again. However, if there are processing companies out there that will save your business considerable amounts of money, isn’t it worth the switch? Your company deserves better than what the majority of the payments industry has to offer: hidden fees, tiered pricing, and restrictive contracts. Luckily for you, selecting a processor can be broken down into three simple steps: picking your point-of-sales system, deciding on a gateway (if needed), and choosing a processor that works with those two choices.
As a business owner, you want to prioritize the experience of your customer above all else. Your point-of-sale system will have a huge effect on the impression a customer has of your business, but it’s also a big part of choosing a payment processor. If you can pick a POS that gives your customers the best possible experience, it will effectively reduce the number of processors you’ll have to consider.If you’ve got a POS system that you love already in place, that’s great. But if not, you may want to consider a switch before selecting your processor. Switching your point-of-sale system may require retraining employees and buying new hardware, but if you are serious about saving money on payment processing, it’s a necessary step. Your choice of POS will determine what kind of processing opportunities will be available down the line, so choose wisely.Luckily, POS systems are often industry specific. The first step in choosing your new system is to research what kind is going to work best for you -- if you’re a clothing boutique, look for a retail POS; if you’re a restaurant, look for a dining POS. One vital fact to remember is that there is no such thing as a universal POS (regardless of what some salespeople might tell you). Your business is unique, so look for a system that fits what you need.Once you’ve settled on a POS, it will not only make all your other payment processing choices easier, but it also saves you time by narrowing down options for both hardware and gateways.
Once you know your POS system, you can decide whether your business needs a processing gateway. Basically, a gateway links your POS system to a payment processor. It acts as a messenger that takes card information that your POS has acquired through a card swipe and passes it on to the processor to complete the transaction. Gateways also act as an extra layer of security for a transaction. Gateways encrypt customer’s personal information, like their names and credit card account numbers, to keep them safe while their money is being transferred after a transaction.One thing you should know: many processors integrate directly into POS systems. If this is the case for you, don’t waste time looking for a gateway solution. Direct integrations are easier (and usually cheaper) for merchants to manage, so follow that path if direct integrations are available.If you’re in need of a gateway, you should first find which gateways work in tandem with your POS. Your POS provider should have an integrated gateways list readily available for you. After you’ve acquired that list, take some time to look into pricing. The majority of gateways have their pricing advertised right on their front page, so it really doesn’t take too much time. When it comes down to it, your decision will really depend on the price that each gateway offers. Once you’ve found your gateway, you are one step closer to switching your payment processor. All there is left to do is choose the processor itself.
The good news is you are just one step away from completing your switch. The bad news? This is the hardest part. While the POS you chose greatly narrowed down your options for gateways, some gateways can connect with upwards of 100 different processors. It is not realistic to look into every single option, but you’ll want to get a feel for as many as possible. Luckily for you, your choice of processor won’t really have much of an effect on your customers, so you are free to make the choice that’s most advantageous for you as a business. Don’t fall for marketing tactics that claim one processor is vastly superior to another; processing is a commodity and differentiation between brands is incredibly difficult to achieve. Make your choice based on price and the terms of the contract you’re offered. Find processor reviews, pick the five or so that have highest ratings, and request quotes from each. Use your existing monthly statements as a negotiating tool; most processors will happily undercut your current rates with their first bid. Then, take your new bid to the next processor and see if they’ll beat that. When you’ve reached a rate that you feel comfortable with, initiate the switch.This whole process might seem like a lot of work, but completing each of these steps in order will make the ordeal much easier (and quicker) than it would be otherwise. In fact, you can switch processors over the course of a single day if you’re well prepared. Taking the time to find an effective, low-cost processor will not only save your business money, but it will enable you to invest more into growing and bettering your business for your customers.