Providing multiple payment options is one of the ways to attract customers. Your customers must know that your business prioritizes their needs, and offering them the choice to pay for their purchases using their preferred payment options sure shows what your priorities are.
Cash is still king, but card payments have their crowd as well, and they’ll soon outnumber those preferring paying in cash. If your small business doesn’t include card payments as an option, you’re missing out on a huge competitive advantage.
If you are thinking to start accepting card payments; we truly think you must, then here are the steps you need to take:
Look for a Card Processing Company
You must know that there are different parties involved in card payments, your business, your customers, your credit card processing company (payments company or a bank), the network your customer’s card is linked to, and their bank.
To be able to accept card payments, you must first look for a card processing company. One of the factors to consider when searching for a payments company is whether you’ll be accepting mobile and online payments as well as in-person payments.
If yes, what percentage of transactions each one will occupy. In case you operate online, you must ensure the payment processor you land on is compatible with your website.
You also have to consider the card networks your customers’ cards are linked to and the fees the payment company will charge you on every transaction. Some payment companies will offer better fees if you will be accepting transactions that exceed a certain number.
Open a Merchant Account
The money you make through card payments must be deposited somewhere. You need a separate business account. Once you choose who your payment processor is, open a merchant account. Don’t link your card transactions to your personal account; it will complicate things and make it hard to track the business finances.
Get the Payment Terminals Ready
The payment processor will provide you with the needed hardware and software to start accepting card payments. The hardware part mainly concerns brick-and-mortar stores and includes point-of-sale machines. You can get card readers that take payments by swapping cards or through contactless taps.
If you own an e-commerce business, you will need to set up an online payment system. To do that, you can ask for technical support from your card processing provider or the developers who helped build your website.
You Are Ready to Accept Card Payments
Once you are done with the steps mentioned above, your business will be ready to offer cards as a payment option. Here is how the process works:
- Your customer will swipe or tap their credit or debit card using the POS machine
- The transaction is then sent to the customer’s payment network that will check if the card holder’s bank account has enough funds to cover the purchase
- The card payment processor withdraws the amount from the customer’s bank account and holds it
- At the end of the business day, the held amounts will be sent to the business’ bank account
- The money will normally take 2-3 days to show in your merchant account