Starting a new business is exciting. After all, it’s the start of a new, and possibly life-changing, adventure. But the thrill of striking out on your own, or with business partners, can soon hit the reality of modern business life. Government regulations, human resources, cash flow, and other things can give business owners sleepless nights. One way to ease these burdens is by using a merchant account provider. Among other things, these companies help businesses:
- process payments, deal with compliance and help limit fraud
- handle disputes, chargebacks, and other issues where finances and customers overlap
- manage inventory, orders, employees, customers, and others.
Here are three things to look out for when choosing a merchant services account provider:
1. Choose a trusted platform
New business owners must be comfortable with risk. Many give up the security of a steady paycheck and put their own finances, and reputations, on the line.
While this comes with the territory, one area to limit risk is with merchant services. Here it makes sense to go with an established, trusted provider. Business owners will want to choose a company with a good track record, ideally going back years, of handling payments and innovating with products.
Internet searches, reviews, and recommendations from the Better Business Bureau and others can all help narrow down the search. But nothing beats a one-on-one conversation with the merchant account company.
A key area to focus on is their customer service and technical support. Modern businesses, especially exclusively e-commerce companies, or hybrid “bricks and mortar” and online stores, work 24/7/365. This makes always-available technical support services a must.
2. Focus on transparency and flexibility
When choosing a provider, business owners should closely consider how transparent and flexible they are with contract terms. This is a good first test of how the provider operates and shows what to expect going forward. A straightforward, helpful company, which offers flexible terms, is worth seeking out.
Look for things like a month-to-month service agreement with no hidden fees or cancellation fees. Other aspects include the provider’s system status, its approach to privacy, and how it interacts with businesses and their customers. Good merchant services providers will work with all concerned to resolve issues before they become bigger problems.
3. Plan for the future
All business owners want to be successful, but that means different things to different people. This makes the ability to grow and evolve as important for the merchant services provider as it is for the business owner.
Finding a provider that helps businesses future-proof is important because it lets owners focus on important things like cash flow. They can rest easy knowing that the ability to process payments and other things is in hand now and for tomorrow.
At a minimum, businesses will expect to see a variety of merchant services hardware and software packages that allow them to start small and grow as needed. And, like their own customers, providers should be constantly evolving. This means that they should offer cutting-edge equipment while developing new products built with security, ease-of-use, and utility in mind.