December 2015

How to Take Your Small Business to the Next Level with Merchant Processing

The small business market is more competitive than ever, with an estimated 27.9 million small businesses in the United States alone. With competition steadily on the rise, it’s time for small businesses to pull out the stops to make themselves a viable competitor within their industry—and it all starts with their payment processing.
Today’s technology makes it easier than ever for small businesses to manage their funds. Here’s how to take your business to the next level with a few easy steps:

  1. Look for customized merchant accounts
  2. What sets small businesses apart from corporations is their ability to cater to the individual. You should expect the same from your small business merchant account. Look for an account provider that’s willing to customize your merchant account to fit your needs. If you’re interested in taking your business online, consider e-commerce payment gateways; if you want to simplify your billing process, look for packages with electronic billing. You can never predict where your business will take you—make sure that your merchant account will be able to keep up.

  3. Make sure your processing system is PCI compliant
  4. PCI compliance has become a growing concern over the past few years. Complying with PCI standards is now required for all businesses accepting any form of credit card payments. To avoid penalties and other inconveniences, it’s important to stay up to date with any PCI compliancy changes and keep your credit card payment processes legitimate. Choose from a host of tools to protect your data, including tokenization, hosted payments, secure gateways, and end to end encryption.

  5. Use small business software to keep your finances in order
  6. These days, there’s a software for everything. You’ll likely use a variety of software packages to keep your business running smoothly, and credit card processing is no different. From helping you with your accounting to keeping your payroll in order, software can eliminate the human error that causes businesses to fall under. You’ll also be able to monitor your business’ process over time by tracking important data points such as swipe rates, processing times, and overall revenue.

    There’s never been a better time to open a small business in America. With simplified mobile payments and credit card processing, small business owners can take control of their business and help it grow through smart, customized financial decision-making. For more information about how to get your small business on the track to success, contact Vision Payments today at (877) 674 – 2286.

Why Use a Merchant Processor?

Accepting credit cards has become the norm in today’s digitally-driven business landscape. More and more businesses and vendors are taking advantage of the growth potential credit cards offer; however, few are sure how best to go about processing their credit card payments. There are a number of processing methods advertised on the Web, including setting up an account with your bank of choice, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages. If you’re looking for optimal results and minimal financial setbacks, thought, a merchant processor is the right option for you.

How do they work?

There are several stages involved in getting the money from your customers’ credit card to your bank account. The sale requires approval, your customer’s information must be collected to extract a payment, the card must be verified, etc. This process can take anywhere between one or two days, with additional steps required for certain types of cards and payment methods. A merchant processor simplifies your involvement in the process by handling the payment from beginning to end.

Why Use a Merchant Processor?

The most obvious benefit to using a merchant processor is simplicity. Rather than worry about who or what will be handling your customers’ money and/or information, a merchant processor offers peace of mind in knowing that each piece of data is being handled correctly and securely. Without a merchant processor, you could be faced with additional processing fees and payment delays due to unforeseen red tape.

Merchant Account Processors have also been proven to be more cost-effective than other options. While other processing methods (such as PayPal) might forego monthly or yearly fees for regular use, they make up for it with much steeper payment fees. If your business experiences a high volume of credit card transactions each month, a merchant account will save you money in the end.

Perhaps the most convincing reason to use merchant processors is customer service. Merchant account processors are experts when it comes to troubleshooting minor problems, which minimizes the headaches associated with running your business’ finances. Merchant accounts also provide more personalized customer service based on what kind of services your business requires, rather than the “one size fits all” mentality typically seen from more general payment processors. And since your customers won’t be directed to another website when making a purchase from yours, you’ll be able to maintain a greater sense of control over each purchase, with your business’ name appearing on the receipt rather than a processor’s.

For more information on what benefits you can receive from a merchant processor account, contact us today at (877)674-2286. Give your business the tools to succeed with simplified payment processing and more from Vision Payments.

Top Seven Merchant Processing Tips from the Experts

If you are a merchant, it’s important to understand some important aspects of merchant processing. Here are some great tips for finding an excellent merchant payment processor:

  1. Terms and Conditions: Ensure that your choice of merchant payment processor has very simple, intuitive terms and conditions with all of the costs clearly stated, and no outstanding fees or conditions.
  2. Be Careful with Signing Long-Term Contracts: In addition to carefully reading the terms and conditions, ensure that you know the length of the contract you are about the sign. Sometimes, merchant processors will offer a long-term contract with excessive fees in the event of cancellation. In addition, it can be risky to “put all of your eggs in one basket”, so to say. When you sign shorter-term contracts, it gives you the opportunity to change your options when needed.
  3. Ask the Right Questions: Don’t let any question go unasked. Communication is important, and you have to ensure that you know every aspect of your merchant card processing provider. Ensure that you understand what the processor provides, what they expect out of you, and what they are willing to do for you.
  4. Compare and Contrast Prices and Options: While convenience is nice, always shop around and really compare and contrast the pros and cons of each processing provider. Take time, as a company, to decide your goals, what you want out of your processor, and the type of contract you are willing to sign.
  5. Get all Things in Writing: If you strike a certain deal with your processor, discuss anything important, or alter your contract with your processor’s approval, it is critical to have everything in writing. It is wise to have a physical copy on hand, as well as a digital copy (if possible).
  6. Personalized Attention/24-7 Services: Your processor should show your business care and attention. They should care about your company, your growth, and your mission. If they seem out of touch or impersonal, it may be important to reconsider your business dealings. It is incredibly beneficial to do business with a company that provides 24/7 customer services. It can be difficult to wrestle with business hours when you are in need of assistance, or you need a resolution as soon as possible.
  7. Back-up Services: It can be incredibly beneficial to use a merchant processing service that can function offline.

The History of Merchant Processing

In a world where only an estimated 8% of the globe’s currency is physical cash, it’s hard to imagine a time when credit cards didn’t rule the economy. In fact, credit cards were only an idea until the 1970s, with some primitive forms of paperless payments appearing in the 1950s. Today, merchant processing, mobile payment, and other digital marvels make payments easier and more secure than ever.

The Beginning

The Diners Club issued its Travel and Entertainment card in 1950, which is today recognized as the first credit card. Meant to act as a substitute for cash for businessmen and travelers, the card was the first to charge merchants a discount rate (percentage taken from the sale as a fee) for each use. By the end of the 1950s, both “Charg-it” and American Express entered the game, each introducing their own forms of paperless payment. And by 1960, most financial institutions offered some form of “credit.”

Goodbye, Paper

During the 1970s, credit cards took a major step towards becoming the digital marvels we know them as today. The paper-based payment system of the decade caused tremendous losses and overhead, necessitating the switch to a more automated system, and electronic payments were born. In 1979, the all too familiar magnetic strip was introduced, which facilitated several POS (point of sale) updates to make credit cards more functional and less cumbersome.

Credit Cards

In 1994 Lipman Electronics Engineering, Ltd. created the world’s first wireless credit card terminal, which not only became the face of credit card processing throughout the 1990s and 2000s, but revolutionized credit card processing. Since then, the credit card industry has seen smaller developments, including the introduction of NFC chip reading and pin technologies, which have worked to reduce the threat against credit card users and merchants alike.

Mobile technology

Making credit card payments is easier than ever with the introduction of mobile payments, both for consumers and merchants alike. Mobile applications such as Apple Pay and Googe Wallet eradicate the need for plastic in the pocket and give the buying power to the smartphone. While it is still in its beginning stages, mobile credit card payments and processing is quickly becoming a burgeoning business that promises major advancements in the near future.

Get more out of your merchant processing account by learning about its roots. Contact Vision Payments today to understand where the industry is headed, and how you can take advantage of it for your business.

 

The Future of Merchant Processing Technology

Merchant Processing Technology has evolved significantly over the past few decades. Beginning in 1970 with the replacement of paper-based processes with centralized electronic authorization up until today’s smartphone technology. The market has become practically unrecognizable in comparison to its 1970s roots, which begs the question: where will the future of merchant processing take us?

Current Technology

With the advent of digital technology in full swing, merchant processing technology is focusing on how to take mobile payments to the next level. Wireless payment applications are becoming increasingly popular, paving the way for modern marketing techniques that are able to lock in on specific consumers at specific locations and times. Once a customer makes a purchase, their purchase information is recorded as background for future marketing tactics.

NFC Technology

For years, credit card manufacturers looked for a more secure method of payment than the standard swipe of the magnetic strip at the terminal. Technology’s answer: NFC chip technology. NFC payment chips and their corresponding terminals have proven to be a much more secure method of payment for most users, helping consumers avoid today’s most common forms of credit card theft. While the number of merchant users is still on the smaller side, iPhone’s Apply Pay and Google Wallet have set out to change that.

The Near Future

Merchant processors are looking to lock in on users of prepaid credit and debit cards within the near future. Since these particular sectors are experiencing widespread growth, there is no doubt a pretty penny involved in tapping into their electronic buying potential. Many processors also promise an evolution when it comes to data security, managing the treat of fraud that seems to be ever more prevalent in our mobile-based society. This will likely mean a growth in chip and pin-based technologies.

While the future of merchant processing is still up in the air, it remains certain that the industry will see tremendous growth in the coming years. With the technology in place for substantial advancements, it’s only a matter of time before we see the benefits of increased mobilization and digital payment processes. The only question now is who will be the first to present it to the world?

For more information on merchant payment processing and how to take advantage of it in your own small business, contact Vision Payments today.