Choosing Your “Pay at the Pump” Plan & Partner
Congratulations on preparing to open your first gas station! Along with the other decisions you must make, there’s the matter of choosing a Pay at the Pump plan and partner. Instead of going with the first partner who seems to fill the bill, delve a little deeper and ask some questions. Your answers will tell you what type of payment processor you should consider partnering with.
Ask About Compliance
Specifically, you want to know if the partner offers plans that are fully compliant. This means the plans are designed to meet what is known as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). An affirmative answer means that the network is designed to protect you and your customers from fraud and the theft of credit card information. If there is any hedging about the compliance, take that as a sign to talk with a different partner.
What Support Is Offered?
What happens if you have problems with Pay at the Pump software, the hardware, or have some general question that needs an answer sooner rather than later? Ideally, your partner will offer around the clock support. When inquiring about the ability to get help when you need it, find out what forms that help can take.
Do you have the option of calling a help line and speaking with support person any time of the day or night? Is voice support offered for a limited number of hours per day, and then covered with email support the rest of the time? Knowing the answers now will save a lot of frustration if you begin having difficulty processing credit card payments around midnight on a Saturday night.
You may think that this relates to how long it takes to run the card, print out a receipt, and obtain the customer’s signature. In fact, what you want to know is how long it will take your partner to clear the payment, credit it to your merchant account, and have the funds on the way to your business operating account. What you want to hear is that the process is completed in no more than one business day.
What sort of fees are included in your Pay at the Pump contract? Perhaps the plan comes with a specified number of transactions per month at no additional cost. What sort of fee applies if you go over that amount? Can you purchase another block of transactions for a flat fee or will there be a set fee per transaction? Does the charge vary based on the type of card you run?
Remember to ask about other fees and possible penalties. Should you decide to switch partners before the contract term is up, will you owe a penalty? Read the contract terms carefully and try to imagine scenarios in which each additional fee or charge would apply. That will prevent any unpleasant surprises from happening later on.
In the best case scenario, the relationship between you and your Pay at the Pump processor will turn out to be mutually beneficial. Choose a partner who has what you need right now and also possesses the capability to upgrade the account as your business expands. Doing so will mean you won’t have to think about finding a new processor after a few years.