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Best Credit Card Processing Companies

We recognize that choosing the right merchant services company may be a daunting task. So, we have done the research for you, and now it’s easy as 1-2-3! Compare features, pricing and reviews. Grow your business with the lowest rates and the latest technology for online, mobile or in-store.


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Merchant Services: Everything You Should Know About

Several studies show that over 70% of Americans have credit cards, with most of them having an average of 4 credit cards. In total, there are over 1 billion credit cards in the US. According to Statista, credit card was the most used form of payment in 2020. This means millions of Americans use credit cards daily to make purchases. As a business owner, you must have a way to accept credit payments whether you have a physical or an online-based business. And that is where merchant services come in.

What are Merchant Services?

Merchant services, also called credit card processing, refer to the resources needed by businesses to be able to accept card-based and mobile payment transactions. This includes the technology, software, and hardware required to facilitate these payments.

The company that provides transaction processing resources to businesses is known as a merchant service provider.

Components of Merchant Services

Here are the components that make up a merchant service.

Credit Card Terminals

The credit card terminal is a hardware resource that reads the information stored on your credit or debit card. It’s worth noting that you need an internet connection that links your card terminal to the payment gateway and your merchant account. For this reason, you must have a modem or a router. If not, you will need a GPRS mobile solution.

Virtual Terminal

A virtual terminal is a crucial resource for businesses that support online card transactions. They work like credit card terminals, with the only difference being that they’re a software resource.

Payment Gateway

A payment gateway is the software platform that encrypts and transmits transaction data when a customer buys from your business. For online businesses, it’s advisable to choose a gateway with advanced security features such as address verification, fraud detection, and multi-factor authentication.

Payment Processor

Once the gateway encrypts and transmits confirmed transactions, the payment processor secures and authenticates them. They work by sending the payment information from a client’s card to the merchant account and the issuing bank. If the customer has sufficient funds in their account, the processor confirms the transaction.

Merchant Accounts

Merchant accounts are special accounts that receive the funds from the purchases using your customers’ credit and debit cards. After the processor authorizes a transaction, the funds are deposited into this account. They remain here until the transaction has been settled, after which they are transferred to your business bank account. This process generally happens within 24 hours

How to Choose a Merchant Service Provider

Here are the factors you need to consider when choosing a merchant service provider Equipment Resources. As mentioned above, you need the proper hardware to run merchant services in your business. This applies to all types of enterprises – brick-and-mortar stores need credit card terminals, while e-commerce platforms need gateway resource. Despite the rise of online platforms, many businesses still use credit card terminals because of their reliability. First, they use wired connections that are less likely to experience technical issues. Second, wired terminals are more compatible with platforms based on newer technologies like near-field communication (NFC), such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, etc. That said, virtual terminals installed on laptops are better suited for some types of businesses than card readers. These are mostly businesses that offer services that require them to go to the client, such as electricians, plumbers, landscapers, etc. It’s worth noting that there are mobile 5G solutions available as well for such businesses. Software Resources. The merchant service provider you choose must have a software platform that helps in keeping transaction records. This is vital for tracking the progress of your business. Most merchant services have a cloud-based system that allows you to access your information from any device. However, you need the appropriate software resources to maximize these features. For instance, if you run an e-commerce platform, you need a virtual terminal. This is software that processes credit card transactions on your computer. Transparent Fees. Merchant accounts are fairly expensive. Besides the processing fees you pay for every transaction, your merchant service provider will charge other rates to cover account maintenance. If your business is yet to establish itself, it’s an added expense, but often a necessary one for any business. This is why more businesses are using the Cash Discount Program, in which they offer their customers a cash and a credit price. The credit price is slightly higher to cover their cost of accepting credit cards, thereby eliminating up to 100% of their credit card processing fees. Many gas stations have been doing this for years, and now it has become very common with retail businesses. When choosing a merchant service provider, pick the option that has reasonable and transparent charges. A reasonable rate is where the provider offers a useful service in exchange, and the fee is relevant to the value of that service. Also, the pricing must be transparent. Payment Processing Times. It’s important to know how fast your preferred merchant services provider processes a transaction. Some processors aren’t as swift as you would want, and this might cause significant inconveniences to your business. The best way to know about a provider’s average processing time is to ask them upfront, and let them know what your expectations are. Most low-risk businesses are able to receive their funds by the next business day. Payment Integration. Another important factor to consider when choosing a merchant service provider is payment integration. This function allows your current business management software to import incoming transaction records without you having to enter the data manually. By doing this, it reduces the chances of the errors that you would have otherwise made if you entered the data yourself. Ensure that your existing hardware and software resources support the payment processing technology used by your merchant service provider. Without this, payment integration is impossible. Payment Contracts. For a business to start supporting credit card processing, you must sign a contract with your service provider. It’s vital to ponder the following before signing an agreement.
  • Minimum contract length – some providers require you to sign an agreement that doesn’t go below a specified period, like three years. Ensure that you have this information to avoid disappointments later.
  • Contract termination conditions – most providers charge and early termination fee to businesses that terminate contracts before the set expiration date. However, none of our partners on this site charge a cancellation fee.
  • Processing fees – as mentioned earlier, choose a company with reasonable and transparent charges.
Honest Advertising and Marketing. Nowadays, most companies use the internet as the primary platform for increasing brand awareness, and understandably so. After all, most people can now access the World Wide Web using their mobile devices and computers. The main problem with digital marketing is that it isn’t easy to differentiate truths from lies since you have to rely on what’s published on a website. However, these are some of the qualities of an ethical merchant service provider.
  • Updated contact information with support for various platforms, such as telephone, and email.
  • Transparency about all monthly and annual fees, as well as processing rates.
  • Educative articles that discuss the details of credit card processing.
Customer Support. If your business relies on merchant services, issues like delayed transactions, network downtime, unexplained charges, and so on are inevitable. Even if you try your hardest, chargebacks will occur. For these reasons, you need a service provider that offers excellent customer support. Self-service is a convenient option for solving minor issues. The provider’s website should also have a frequently asked questions page so that you won’t have to call or send an email for problems you can solve yourself. Such resources are helpful if the provider doesn’t operate 24/7. Ideally, your merchant operator should be reachable throughout the day. Telephone calls are better than emails because you get an instant response. It’s also more likely to be honest, as the customer support staff doesn’t have the time to customize the message as they would when replying via email. Budget. Ultimately, it’s your budget that determines the merchant service provider you choose to provide credit card processing capabilities for your business. That said, it isn’t always wise to just choose the company that offers the cheapest processing rates. This is because there is more to selecting the best company to work with then just price. Instead of the processing rates, focus on the overall costs over time, which includes service.

The Best Merchant Services

Some of the best merchant services include:

Wrapping Up

All in all, it’s essential for businesses to integrate merchant services into their operations. Even before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, customers were favoring cashless transactions over using cash payments. It’s apparent that businesses that stick to cash are likely to fall behind their competitors.

So, what are you waiting for? Use the tips mentioned above to help you choose the right merchant service provider for your business.

Frequently asked Questions

EMV is a payment method based upon a technical standard for smart payment cards and for payment terminals and automated teller machines which can accept them. EMV originally stood for “Europay, Mastercard, and Visa”, the three companies that created the standard.

Setting up a merchant account requires basic business and ownership information to put together a customer merchant account application for your business. The process is quick, easy and is completed online

A merchant account is a relationship between a retailer and a merchant bank. This allows merchants to accept credit card and debit card payments from customers.

Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance applies to anyone and any business which collects, transmits or stores cardholder data. The minimum requirement to become PCI compliant is the completion of an annual data security standards self-assessment questionnaire.

All types of merchants such as E-Commerce, Phone / Mail Order, Retail, Restaurant, Mobile, and more.

Top 3 Merchant Services

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