5 key questions for choosing a payment processor
Whether you’re launching a small business or have been running one for 20 years, it’s tough choosing the right payment processor for your needs. With emerging new payment types, the accelerating move toward a cashless society and juggling complex-sounding concepts like interchange rates and PCI compliance, there’s a lot to consider.
A good way to start is by evaluating your requirements and what matters most to you as a business operator. Here are some questions to get you on the right path:
1. What kind of small business are you?
Know yourself, then decide how you want your customers to pay. A small store may only require one or two countertop payment terminals; if you run a bar or restaurant, you may need to add wireless terminals to allow customers to pay at their table; if you sometimes sell outside your premises – such as at outdoor markets or festivals – you may need a mobile payment solution; and if you have several locations and a large staff, consider solutions to help you make sense of that imposing mountain of sales data.
And let’s not forget eCommerce: Adding online sales to your in-store business is not just a must for start-ups; it could also be key to revitalizing sales for many an established mom-and-pop operation.
2. Do you want to be innovative?
Whether you’re running a café or a hardware store, your customers want to pay and go quickly – and they will respond favourably to businesses that provide this with state-of-the-art technology. They will also expect you to accept the latest mobile payment technology, such as Apple Pay, AliPay and WeChat Pay. Meanwhile, from your side of the counter, your bottom line will benefit from the productivity boost gained from leading-edge payments solutions.
A good example of innovation driving business results is Poynt; a full-featured, handheld device that processes all payment types and boasts a 5-inch screen. With the App Marketplace, your terminal adapts to your needs, allowing you to sync transaction data to QuickBooks, FreshBooks and Sage; easily manage employee timecards; and track your cash and tips to help your business run smoothly.
3. Does security matter to you?
Your customers expect their personal data to be secure at your place of business, and you should demand the same from your payment processor. You should always seek a provider that deploys state-of-the-art encryption and that continually updates your system to the latest internet technology standards.
4. What kind of technical support do you need?
Everyone has experienced trying to pay in a café or store whose payment system is down. It’s a source of incredible frustration, and every minute of downtime leads to lost sales and generally reflects poorly on that business. You need to be sure of access to round-the-clock, highly trained customer service agents. At Elavon Canada, we care about every one of our business customers, no matter how small, and have a 24/7 service centre staffed by people (not robots) in Canada where we solve client issues in more than 10 languages.
5. How well do you understand payment jargon?
No matter what your level of payment industry knowledge, your payment processor should provide full transparency and ensure you not only understand what you are being charged, but how you can save money and minimize your interchange costs. Some things to consider are: How soon will the proceeds from each day’s sales be deposited into your bank? And how much will you be charged in interchange fees (the percentage that credit card companies take from each transaction)? These are the kinds of questions small business owners should ask. Interchange is a complex system, and can vary not only between the card brands, but the issuing banks and even the type of card.