Understanding Merchant Services for Your Business

Many challenges come with running your own business, but some of the trickiest problems are those you may not consider at first. For example, while you focused on developing a business plan that could make money, how much consideration did you give to actually receiving that money? Unless you plan to only transact in cash — which is pretty unlikely these days — you’ll need to find a financial services provider capable of delivering the support your business needs. That need is even greater when you want to take your business online. Transacting with ACH, PayPal, credit and debit cards, and all the many payment options available today requires strong merchant services.

What are merchant services, what do they mean for your business, and where can you find the help necessary to set up your payment processing capabilities? Let’s explore the answer to all these questions now.

Why You Need a Good Merchant Services Provider

In the broadest sense, “merchant services” refers to the entire set of services and support that a business requires to function in the modern economy. Few companies operate on a cash-only basis, and even fewer consumers carry the cash necessary to make such purchases. Instead, digital wallet solutions such as Apple Pay continue to grow in popularity. At the same time, credit and debit cards have all but replaced cash as the most common daily form of payment.

A business requires a good merchant services provider to furnish not only the banking solutions necessary to make such transactions work, but the equipment, too. Point-of-sale hardware, payment processing software, credit card readers and more are all typical items that might fall under the umbrella of merchant services. As a result, it’s easy to see that your business needs to find the right partner to develop its business model appropriately. Not every merchant services provider offers every type of processing capability, however. That variable means you should consider what types of payments are most important to your business.

What Kinds of Payments Can Merchant Services Process?

For businesses accepting in-person transactions, it is essential to equip yourself with the right services for accepting transactions via credit and debit cards, plus modern mobile wallet services such as Google Pay. A good POS terminal plays an essential part in making record-keeping simpler while also speeding up the transactions you process daily.

What if you want to transact business online? Things get a little trickier, but the right merchant services provider should make the setup process smooth and easy. You may choose to accept eChecks, also known as ACH payments, to process payments directly from a customer’s bank account. However, most businesses should investigate “payment gateways.” These virtual credit card terminals provide a secure processing environment for online transactions. Most users will prefer to use their credit cards online, rather than giving out their banking details. Look for an MSP capable of offering cost-effective solutions in the digital arena. 

Making Smart Choices for Your Business

You shouldn’t need to worry about how much you pay for payment processing services. In other words, the amount it costs to transact business should not be so high that you cannot reasonably make a positive return from your work. There are many types of pricing schemes on the market, and each corresponds to a different level of need. Some businesses may find certain structures, such as flat-fee pricing, to be most advantageous. In other cases, an “interchange” type of structure may be better. In these setups, your charges bundle together at a basic rate plus a fee per transaction. As your business grows and transaction volume increases, moving to such a model may be the smarter choice for your business. 

Finding the Right Partner for Business Banking Services

Although it may seem that merchant services are fundamental to a business’s success today, they are not always easy to access for all. Some businesses, including those in certain online retail sectors, fall into a category deemed “high risk” by banks and other typical providers of merchant services. Are you a “high risk” business?

The answer depends. Typically, the most common attributes of a “high risk” industry is a greater than normal likelihood of customer chargebacks. Frequent claims of fraud may also get an industry dinged with the moniker. In most cases, the high-risk label isn’t a judgment about your individual business, but rather its business model or product type. Although not all merchant services providers will work with high-risk businesses, many do provide the robust level of assistance required. Always look to have an in-depth conversation with your chosen financial institution about your business to understand better what level of access you may have to these essential tools.

Explore Fresh Solutions With Resource One Credit Union

Although there are many challenges to address on your way to running a successful business, finding the merchant services you need to accept credit cards, eChecks, and other forms of electronic payments should not be one of them. At Resource One Credit Union, we believe in supporting your small business partners with more robust merchant services that offer the competitive, flexible terms you need. 
As a not-for-profit financial institution, our singular goal is to create value for all our members consistently. This commitment includes our business partners. To find out more about how Resource One can support your efforts to grow your business online and off, contact us today or visit your local branch location.

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