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June 1, 2017 | Categories: Payment Processing Back to list

Merchant Services Tailored To Rock Your Small Business World

Merchant Services Tailored To Rock Your Small Business World

There are 28 million U.S. small businesses, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Between them, these businesses are responsible for employing an estimated 130 million employees, so you can see how crucial these companies are to America’s economy.

However, it’s not easy for the small business owner: smaller enterprises often struggle to contend with their larger counterparts because they can’t always access the same discounts or favorable rates that bigger corporations do.

In addition, support can often be lacking, and the costs associated with taking payments, like processing credit cards can sometimes seem to high, but at least some of the pressures that come with running a small company can be eased by finding a payment processor that is tailored to the unique needs of the small business.

Working with a payment processor that caters to small businesses offers up many advantages. These include:

Competitive Rates

Payment processing rates vary on several different factors such as:

  • The nature of your business. For example, your company could be considered high risk, therefore processing fees are usually higher.
  • The type of credit/debit cards involved in the transaction.
  • Whether you qualify for Interchange plus rates.
  • The volume of payments.
  • The value of payments.

Then there might be other ongoing fees such as statement and PCI compliant payments; all of these different figures can be confusing.

These processing rates can be off putting, especially for smaller merchants, who can often feel squeezed by the less than favorable rates that they have to pay; this leaves some merchants questioning whether accepting credit cards is worthwhile.

And with so many different figures to think about, it can be unclear whether you really are getting the best deal as a small business owner, and whether some of the added services you might be thinking of paying for are absolutely necessary.

However, teaming up with the right payments processor can alleviate this confusion and it provides other advantages too. For instance:

  • They often offer competitive rates.
  • when you use a company with the right expertise, they’ll be able to advise you on the services you really.
  • They can give you honest and transparent advice to guide you on what will be the best payments option for your small business and what will be the most cost effective solution.

Access to Expertise, Selecting the Right Business Tools

Finding the exact tools that allow you to successfully run your business is another complicated process you’ll have to undertake.

There is no shortage of Point of Sales (POS) systems, mobile/contactless payments and payment gateways for ecommerce etc., but deciding the exact one that is right for you is where the real challenge comes in, especially if you want to sell via multiple channels or if you are looking for tools that will grow with you as your business develops.

However, a small business payment processor can give you the advice you need to select the right payment processing equipment that will fit your requirements, both now and into the future.

You can make the decision easier by being clear on what you want from a payments processing solution. Think about the challenges your company/staff face: every business has its unique problems that it wants to solve and the right payment processing tools can sometimes resolve them.

For instance, if staff or inventory management or lack of efficiency is a problem, the right PoS system could be an effective solution.

Some of the most obvious questions to ask a potential payments processor are:

  • What kind of ongoing support is available?
  • Is there a cancellation fee?
  • The length of the contract terms?

If your new to payment processing, you can find more information about the type of questions you should be asking, here and here.

In addition, adaptability and flexibility are two of the keys for business success; it’s how businesses stay competitive, so ask what you need to do should you want to upgrade or change direction in the future.

A company with expertise in small business payment processing will happily answer your questions and give you the sound advice that will enable you to make the right decision.

Helping You Cope as Your Business Grows

When it comes to expanding your business, a payments processor can do far more than just provide you with the right equipment. They can:

  • Suggest solutions that improve customer retention, such as loyalty cards.
  • Suggest processing options that can aid the marketing side of your business, such as point of sales systems.
  • Or tools that can encourage customers to spend more, like gift vouchers.

However, there is so much more a tailored payments processor can do to assist your business as it moves forward, and customer retention isn’t the only barrier that is might stand in your way.

Cashflow, feeling like there is a lack of support available, excessive overheads and keeping up- to-date are just some of the everyday challenges that the small business owner can face.

With so much to consider, it isn’t unusual that some small business owners feel overwhelmed sometimes, however, working with a payment processor can assist by helping you to:

In addition:

  • As a small business owner, you might have limited access to IT support due to budget constraints and a shortage of staff, but if you pick the right company, they’ll be happy to assist should a technical problem occur with your payment processing.
  • They can also assist you in setting up a payment gateway so you’re ready to start collecting online payments securely, even if you have limited technical expertise.
  • The detailed statements you receive will allow you to analyze your cash flow more closely.

The last point is one of the most important as a lack of financial knowledge is a problem for many small business owners. 20 percent of small and medium sized business owners admit they lacked financial knowledge when they first started out.

Moreover, a poor understanding of the finances and cash flow are among the top reasons small businesses fail, but still numerous reports/studies indicate that  a basic understanding of financial information is common among start-ups entrepreneurs.

Allowing Integration for Greater Efficiency

A lot of small business owners feel like they are responsible for everything. Coupled with that is the fact that poor efficiency affects businesses of all sizes, but it can be especially prevalent among small companies and hinder sales. However, there is a solution to this: introducing new technology can enhance sales by anything up to 70 percent and improve business growth.

Of 700 SMBs interviewed, 48 percent of them attributed their growth to new business software, as indicated in a report published and researched by Exact and the Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research (CEEDR).

There any number of changes you can make to improve the efficiency of your company: encouraging returning customers through better customer service management, lowering your overheads and improving communication with staff are just some of the strategies you can implement.

However, a simpler way of achieving greater efficiency is through payment processing integration. If you’re not familiar with it, payment integration reduces the manual labor of carrying out the accounting separately, lowers the risk of human error and it is less time consuming.

For example, completing payroll, which is a task small businesses owners often take on themselves, can take up to ten hours a month, and the costs of keeping on top if it can vary widely too, however, by combining the two activities, you can save both time and money.

Payment processing can also be integrated with customer management software to further. By working with a tailored payment processor, you can gain access to an integrated system that works for your scale of business.

Providing Support, Keeping Up With Payment Processing Regulations

The cost of compliance places a considerable financial strain on businesses every year. The 2017 Small Business Regulations Survey, published by the NSBA, indicates that the average start up business can pay out more than $80,000 to comply with regulations in their first year. And after that, companies can expect to pay an average of $12,000 every year just to keep up with the compliance side.

And it’s not just costly – time spent on compliance eats into the working day too. A small business owner can spend an average of 20 hours a month on compliance, and it leaves many business owners feeling that it is a waste of time; although there isn’t a way of avoiding your compliance responsibilities completely, by using a payments processer at least some of this burden can be minimized.

For example, working with a PCI compliant payment processor is one way of lowering your compliance levels, although, you’ll have to implement some measures yourself such as self-assessments to ensure overall compliance and you’ll still be responsible for any data that you store yourself and other areas of compliance.

Protection Against Fraud, Fighting Chargebacks

A small business payments processor can also guard you against fraud as they’ll have anti-fraud tools in place, and they can also assist in the case of chargebacks, which are currently viewed as one of the biggest risks to small businesses.

Chargebacks have increased by 40 percent recently, and friendly fraud is a growing problem, increasing by 20 percent in the same time span.

Although chargebacks in general are affecting businesses of all sizes, friendly fraud, where a consumer might claim they haven’t received the item, or they say they don’t remember ordering it, and file for a refund with their credit card company, is often deliberate. This is having a considerable impact on smaller businesses, and as detailed in an WWD article, most business owners have difficulty identifying this type of fraud, or they don’t know how to fight it.

Chargebacks, which cost the ecommerce industry to suffer an estimated revenue loss of $6.7 billion in 2016, are likely to be more of an issue as the surge in ecommerce continues, and small businesses owners – who might lack resources – need someone on their side to help them. If you need to fight a chargeback, your payment processor can offer you some guidance so you don’t have to go it alone, and they can give you advice on how to lower your risks of a chargeback.

At the same time as fighting an increase in chargebacks, small businesses are also having to contend with an increase in cybercrime. According to the Cyber Resilience: How to protect small firms in the digital economy, small businesses report, SMBs are targeted up to 7 million times a year in the UK, and they are often the least equipped to deal with it.

Commenting on the research, Paul Miles of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said:

“The digital economy is vital to small businesses – presenting a huge opportunity to reach new markets and customers – but these benefits are matched by the risk of opportunities for criminals to attack businesses.”

“Small firms take their cyber security responsibility very seriously but often they are the least able to bear the cost of doing so. Small businesses have limited resources, time and expertise to deal with ever-evolving and increasing digital attacks.”

Moreover, figures published on Cyber Security Review’s website show that 43 percent of small businesses have been targeted, with comparatively few having the tools they need to mitigate their risks of falling victim to fraud. A payments processor is far from the only solution for fighting fraud, however, they can provide you with the tools you need to assist in website security and verifying payments are genuine.

Conclusion

Small business owners face a raft of responsibilities and keeping up with all of them can leave entrepreneurs feeling like they are under constant pressure. However, teaming up with a payment processor that provides a tailored service can assist you with many of the common pitfalls that small merchants are left to cope with.

Improved security, staying PCI compliant, advice on managing chargebacks and competitive rates are just some of the ways a payment processor can assist your small enterprise as it grows.

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