Choosing a credit card processing provider isn't easy. There are lots of options, all promising to be the best (or the cheapest). Most small businesses want simple credit card processing they can count on.
But what does simple look like? Look for these seven must-have features before choosing a credit card processor.
Simple Credit Card Processing Feature #1: Security
In July 2019, a hacker accessed more than 100 million Capital One customers' personal data. The security breach rattled customers and merchants alike. In recent years, other hacks have targeted TJ Maxx, Home Depot, Sears, Target and more.
When hackers steal personal information, suspicion isn't limited to credit card processors. Customers often become skeptical of retailers themselves. Small business owners must protect customers, and themselves, by prioritizing security.
Today, most reputable credit card processors use a security feature called tokenization. This process uses point-to-point encryption to conceal identifying information.
As hackers become more sophisticated, small businesses should never take on unnecessary security risks. You should only work with a credit card processor if they have trustworthy security features in place.
Simple Credit Card Processing Feature #2: Reliable Access to Funds
No small business welcomes uncertainty. That's why it's important to know how quickly you'll receive funds after a credit card transaction.
In most cases, funds arrive 24-72 hours after a customer swipes their card. Delays may be longer if a transaction occurs on a day when banks are closed.
Why are there delays, anyway? In short, delays are a security measure. They allow time for your credit card processor to verify information with the customer's bank. This helps prevent fraud. Delays are often batched for greater efficiency.
Because these delays occur on the banking side, credit card processors have no control over them. A processor that specifies a longer waiting period–or one that's less than 24 hours–may not be telling the whole story.
Simple Credit Card Processing Feature #3: User-Friendly Interface
Whether your customers shop in person, online or via mobile, they expect a frictionless experience. Your credit card processor should keep things simple by providing an intuitive interface.
For online payments, user experience designers recommend:
- Sticking with short, simple phrases
- Confirming the payment amount
- Displaying visuals to show which cards are accepted
- Using a "MM/YY" expiration date format to match most cards
- Including a zip code field to minimize fraud
If you accept mobile payments, your processor should use design features such as:
- Haptics that signal incorrectly entered information
- Down-to-earth instructions without jargon
- Incentive or loyalty reward features
These design features will ensure that customers always have a seamless check-out experience.
Simple Credit Card Processing Feature #4: Transparent Rates and Fees
No one likes to get hit with a surprise bill. That's why you should choose a credit card processor that sets clear rates and fees.
If a low credit card processing rate seems too good to be true, it probably is. A common scam tactic is to bait you with a low rate, then switch it to a higher one.
Instead, choose a credit card processor that only raises rates for legitimate reasons. You can always check a credit card processor's BBB profile for complaints, too.
Fees can also add up quickly. Credit card processors often pad fees by tacking on:
- Application fees
- Service packages
- Markups on legitimate fees
To keep things simple, look for straightforward contracts that explain all rates and fees clearly. For example, GoSite offers a credit card processing rate starting at 2.65% and waives all fees.
Simple Credit Card Processing Feature #5: Minimal Hardware
Today, outdated credit card terminals cost businesses time and money. Along with glitches, these traditional terminals come with greater security risks.
To keep things simple, small businesses should opt for modern hardware. Most payments can now be processed through a mobile device or tablet. Any equipment you choose needs to accept EMV technology, too. (That's better known as the chip embedded in most credit cards.)
Finally, your simple credit card processor should support online and mobile payments. These flexible payment options will ensure your business never misses an opportunity for a sale.
Simple Credit Card Processing Feature #6: Plenty of Payment Options
Every customer has their own preferred payment method. Your credit card processor should accept a wide range of payment options.
In 2019, the most popular credit cards included Chase, Capital One, Citi and Discover. Your credit card processor should accept these options, along with standards like Visa. Mobile payments and online payments are on the rise, as well.
By accepting a wide range of payment options, your credit card processor can help keep things simple for customers.
Simple Credit Card Processing Feature #7: Easy Integrations
Your credit card processor should make payments easier – not complicate what's already working. Before committing, ask if any potential processors can integrate with the software you already have.
At a minimum, your credit card processor should work with your bookkeeping software. Today, QuickBooks is the most popular accounting software. If you use an alternative like FreshBooks or Wave, be sure to ask if your credit card processor can handle the integration.
Your credit card processor might even offer new integrations and features. For example, GoSite's credit card processor works seamlessly with GoSite's booking feature. This allows customers to book an appointment and pay for it in one easy transaction.
Want to learn more about how simple credit card processing can be? Check out our fact sheet below!