If you own a cash-only business, then you handle all payment transactions yourself. However, if you want to accommodate the people who prefer paying with a credit or debit card, you’ll need to partner with a merchant service provider, or MSP.
MSPs handle the complexities of processing credit card payments, like dealing with banks and credit card associations and consolidating fees. So, how do you choose the right provider? This guide will discuss what to look for, what to avoid and how to factor in your business’ unique needs so you can make the best decision.
How Do You Measure Success?
Before you start comparing merchant service companies, it’s a good idea to consider your own company. Ask yourself, what qualities matter most to you in a payment processing partner? Maybe you would be willing to pay more if it meant having excellent customer service. Or, perhaps you want a processor that offers fixed rates to make your budgeting and accounting simpler.
Whatever matters most to you, you should have this in mind so you can take a more purposeful, targeted approach to choosing the right MSP. Even if a fellow business owner recommends a certain MSP they’ve worked with, that doesn’t necessarily mean that provider would be the right fit for your business — even if you have a similar-sized business in the same industry.
Determine what a successful merchant service relationship would look like to you, and keep it in mind as you consider MSPs and select one to partner with. Your ideal merchant service company is one that checks the boxes that matter most and can help you accomplish your goals for your business.
What to Look for in a Merchant Service Provider
While every business may have its own ideas of what matters most in a merchant service provider, there are some general qualities any business should look for. How you prioritize these qualities is up to you, but the ideal partner would offer all of them. Some of the most important things to consider when choosing a merchant account provider are:
A positive reputation: Look for a company that has been around long enough to establish a solid reputation among merchants. Look for reviews and testimonials that speak to what sort of experience you can expect to have with the company. Note what qualities people celebrate. Where does the company really excel?
Reliable customer service:Customer service is always an important quality to look for in an MSP. If you run into a problem or have a question, you want to know you can get in touch with your MSP easily and enjoy quick and easy communication with them. If you’re using technology from your MSP, you’ll want to have tech support you can count on whenever you need it.
Transparent pricing models: Finally, you always want to look for an MSP that keeps things clear and simple when it comes to paying for their services. You should be able to understand the pricing models for services like credit card processing or other tools, so you’re never left in the dark or unsure of whether you’re being charged fairly.
Processing volume flexibility: Some MSPs will put a cap on how many transactions you can process in a given month. If the cap is well above what you could ever expect to do, it may not be a problem. But, what if you have a sale that does incredibly well and you process far more payments than usual? An MSP that is more flexible will allow you to process whatever number of payments you need in a given month.
Consider Your Business’ Unique Needs
When choosing an MSP, you’ll also need to consider which qualities are most important. The right merchant account provider for your business may not be the right choice for the business next door.
To find an MSP that will meet your business’ specific needs, ask yourself:
What Type of Business Do You Run?
First, you’ll need to consider the type of business you run. What industry are you in? Do you own a retail store? A salon? A cafe? A health clinic? Some business types, where chargebacks are more common, are considered high-risk. If you own a high-risk business, you may find it difficult to find an MSP that will work with you. Otherwise, you’ll have a variety to choose from. Look for an MSP who has experience processing payments for other businesses in your industry.
What Size Is Your Business?
Another aspect of your business to consider is its size. Small businesses, mid-size businesses and large businesses all tend to have different needs. If a merchant account provider is used to working with large, national chains, they may not be the best fit for your small-town boutique. You want an MSP who understands your business. When you begin your search, consider using terms like “best merchant for small business” or “best merchant service for mid-size business” to help identify potential companies to consider.
Where Do You Do Business?
Next, consider where you do business. Do you sell online, in a brick-and-mortar location or at a mobile shop at events? Whatever the case, make sure you choose an MSP who is a good fit for how you’ll be processing payments. For example, if you sell online, consider what rate you’ll be charged for card-not-present transactions. If you sell on-the-go, look for an MSP that can set you up with a mobile card reader.
What Other Tools Does Your Business Need to Succeed?
Merchant account providers are often referred to as credit card processing companies, but a good MSP for your business should be able to do more than just process credit card payments. Look for a provider who is interested in equipping your business to succeed and who has the tools to help you do it. Those tools will differ from business to business, so determine what would help your business the most. Do you need a scheduling platform? A loyalty program? Other apps? Look for an MSP who can set you up with what you need.
Partner With Velocity Merchant Services
If you’re looking for a merchant service provider for your business, consider Velocity Merchant Services. With over 20 years of experience, a commitment to helping business succeed and cutting-edge technology, VMS is a company you can trust to help you process payments and watch your company grow.
Our Clover® Station Point-of-Sale Systems include everything you need to streamline your business, from scheduling technology to gift cards to loyalty programs.