Step By Step: How Credit Card Processing Services Work

credit card processing services 10 June 2014 | 0 Comments

Sophisticated business solutions are a key factor in helping companies small and large find success. As competition for a share of the market grows fiercer, perhaps you have been looking for ways to give yourself an edge. Taking advantage of credit card processing service providers allows you more flexibility when taking customer payments and could increase the amount of business you do. There are almost two hundred million card holders in the United States—a consumer population worth tapping in to. Before adding to or changing your payment system, it can helpful to first understand how a credit card processing service works.

 

Who’s Involved

 

Processing transactions with the help of credit card processing service companies involves several key figures. To understand the process, it’s important to know who they are. Let’s review the most common figures.

 

•             Customer: The person or company doing the buying.

 

•             Merchant: The entity that sells products or services to customers.

 

•             Payment gateway: An application that authorizes payments from customers. The payment gateway can also be used by the merchant to oversee transactions and billing. May also be referred to as a terminal.

 

•             Acquiring bank: The financial institution that provides the merchant with the credit line necessary for accepting credit card payments.

 

•             Card issuer:  A company that has issued a credit card to a customer.

 

•             Merchant account: The account that receives the profits resulting from a credit card sale. A merchant account is necessary in order to process card payments.

 

Amazingly, despite how many institutions and people are involved in the transaction, the entire card paying process generally takes no more than three seconds, so how does the money move through these figures?

 

Step One: Transaction Begins

 

The first step in the process is quite simple. Customers approach the merchant to make a purchase and give a credit card for payment. The best credit card processing service will not limit you on what kind of cards you can accept, but there may be extra fees associated with cards issued from certain card companies.

 

Step Two: Payment Information Is Entered

 

After the customer presents the merchant with a card in order to make a payment, the merchant must enter the card information into the system. Depending on the credit card processing service providers you are working with and the nature of your business, this may happen when the customer or the merchant swipes the credit card through a scanner. The scanner reads the card and inputs its information into the system. Some systems will require the merchant to key in information. For online businesses, the customer usually keys in information or gives it verbally to the merchant via a customer service phone call.

 

Step Three: Card Is Verified

 

Once payment information is in the system, the transaction information is sent to the card issuer via the acquiring bank. In order for a transaction to be approved, the card issuer must verify that the card is valid, that the balance on the card possesses sufficient funds to cover the transaction, and that the account has no holds. If the card is approved, the transaction can continue. If the transaction is not approved, the merchant is notified and the sale will not complete as is, requiring the customer to give another form of payment.

 

Step Four: Funds Are Transferred

 

Funds are transferred from the customer’s credit card account to the merchant account after the transaction is approved. Merchants who have their merchant account with their acquiring bank are more likely to have the funds sooner. If the merchant account is with a financial institution other than the acquiring bank, the funds transfer process can take up to 72 hours to complete. The customer should see the transaction on their next card statement from the issuer. When credit cards are given for payment, the issuer provides the funds to the merchant and the customer must pay the issuer the amount given to the merchant as noted on the statement.

 

Fees for Services

 

Even the best credit card processing service providers charge you for each transaction they help you complete. Each company is different, so the way fees, which may also be referred to as discount rates, are calculated will vary from service to service. Discount rates are usually figured in one of two ways: either by flat rate or by a set percentage. Services that use a flat rate discount rate charge a specified amount per transaction. Services that use the percentage model require a certain percentage of each transaction for their services. The percentage should be the same for all types of transactions unless otherwise specified in the contract between the processor and the merchant.

 

Chargebacks

 

Should one of your customers return an item, request a refund for services rendered, or dispute a charge as fraudulent, returning funds to customers will require you to complete a chargeback transaction. In a chargeback, funds backtrack from the merchant account through the processor and are returned to the customer’s card. Some credit card processing service companies may have fees associated with this type of transaction as well, so it’s best to ask potential providers about their policies before contracting any service.

 

Conclusion

 

Having a basic understanding of how the credit card processing service works can help you make more informed decisions when trying to choose from among the best credit card processing service companies. Being able to identify key figures—such as the acquiring bank or the payment gateway—in the process and the terms that refer to them will help you understand specific services and how they might apply to your situation. Finally, keep in mind that there are fees associated with using a card processing service. In order to make the best choice for your business, you will need to shop around and compare companies and services. When evaluating whether or not a service is right for you, be sure to ask the provider about what kind of fees are built in to the contract and how they are calculated. Keep in mind that the increase in business you will probably see by accepting credit cards may more than make up for the extra overhead, so take advantage of all these services have to offer and grow your business today.

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A step by step guide of how credit card processing services work.

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Website Shopping Management Options

online payment gateway 9 June 2014 | 0 Comments

Getting your online retail outlet ready for operation isn’t an easy process but it’s a necessary one in today’s worlds.  The sophisticated tools that make online retail managing possible can be used in home-based businesses, in established brick and mortar shops, and in franchise operations that are independently owned.  The right shopping applications will give you an edge that nothing else can give you.

 

Readying your online retail outlet for operation consists of several steps and may be confusing for inexperienced online vendors.  Making sense of each stage of the sales process and understanding the tools at your disposal can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a strong technical background.  This is why it’s so helpful to have good software, a helpful web design agent, and someone from the best online payment gateway assisting you each step of the way.

 

The Online Shopping Experience

The desire to make the shopping experience easier and more convenient drove the development of what the Internet is today.  Encryption protocols, for instance, came directly from the need to securely transmit credit card numbers and other personal information from customer to merchant.  Today we take for granted that our credit card information will be transmitted to the proper agents with complete security.

 

The online shopping experience is meant to be streamlined, convenient, speedy, and intuitive.  Customers don’t have to worry about hours of business operation or about trying to shop for items in a distant location.  The customer service tools made available to them are also helpful.  In-site order management options allow instant changes to be made to the order, adjusting the shipping address or number of items purchased.  The built in catalog function helps customers easily view related items and compare prices with similar goods.  In all, the online shopping experience is a very good thing for customers.

 

From the Merchant’s Perspective

Implementing these numerous options can sound intimidating to merchants, especially to those who are used to managing all their shipping by hand and using hard copy order forms and payment slips.  Diverse shopping and shipping options sound overwhelming to keep track of; this is where your website design service and the best online payment gateway companies can really help you out.

 

Professional website designers have experience with setting up online catalog and payment functions.  Setting up your online catalog function can be almost entirely taken care of by your website design.  Because so many different merchants are now doing business partly or entirely online, these shopping management services are now very common and easily afforded.

 

The online payment gateway associated with the shopping protocols managed by your website service are typically chosen by the service itself; they’ll choose which of online payment gateway services they prefer to work with and partner with them.  If you want to know more about the payment gateway service they’ve partnered with, simply ask.  You can then do some research on how highly that service is rated.  This information will help you decide whether or not you want to purchase online shopping management services from that particular designer or host.

 

Setting Up Your Own Online Shopping System

Many of the top website management software programs now include shopping protocols that can be easily brought into any website you’re designing for yourself.  If you already have a website design program that you like using but lack any native shopping protocols, you can buy an additional enterprise resource planning system.  These sets of software give merchants the computerized tools they’ll use to build an online catalog and everything else related to online retail.  You can enter inventory, set up purchasing options (such as gift wrapping services, customization of products, and coupon codes), add shipping choices, and connect to the online payment gateway of your choice.

 

An enterprise resource planning system is meant to assist people with the management of complex financial systems, among other things.  Corporate-level accounting and finance, manufacturing, sales, and other complex operations can be synced together and organized with these software programs.  These systems are characterized by:

-        Sharing a common database so there’s no need to enter core information multiple times

-        Integrating real-time or near real-time updates to reflect changes made, such as the purchase of inventory by customers

-        Consistency in the look and function of the user interface

-        Ease of system installation and implementation; an enterprise resource planning system can be put to work without the need for extensive IT infrastructure.

 

Among other things, you can use your enterprise resource planning system to manage a large number of diverse goods; inventory tracking software lets you see at a glance how many units are on hand, where they’re stored, what wholesaler they came from, customer purchase history, and much more.  This is the kind of information that’s connected to your online catalog system.

 

Do You Need a Planning System?

There are a number of advantages that come from using a planning system to assist you in the creation and management of the retail functions of your online store.  This integrated system keeps all your information stored in one place; there’s no need to shuffle data between multiple programs and platforms.  Security protocols within the program can be set up to protect sensitive data such as client files.  Revenue tracking and forecast data can be examined; orders can be tracked and managed; and purchase orders, receipts, and invoices put in order.

 

The drawbacks associated with resource planning systems are their cost, size, and usability.  Because these programs are so intricate and complex, a considerable amount of training or self-education will be necessary to make the best use of the program; any future users will also have to be trained in the program’s use.  The initial cost can be managed through leasing options; certain vendors are willing to set up lease or payment plans, though even this expense may be prohibitive to fledgling business owners.  And finally, small businesses as well as those just becoming established aren’t likely to need such an intricate system; not all businesses require such in-depth tools when they’re starting out and some businesses will never need them.  You’ll have to decide if such a system is right for you.

 

Putting the Pieces Together

A resource management planning system and web designer solutions are just two possibilities that allow you to bring in-site shopping to your business’s website.  Each option allows you different degrees of control and customization and you’ll have to consider several factors before you make your final selection.  Convenience, cost, set-up, maintenance, size, and your personal degree of control over the way the system functions are all points you have to consider for yourself.   No matter which retail management choice you make, be certain to learn about the online payment gateway companies that will be helping you do business.

 

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Options to website shopping management.

 

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Qualifying For Merchant Account Services

check processing 8 June 2014 | 0 Comments

No matter what kind of business you are dealing with, if you sell products or services to customers and accept credit card payments for your merchandise, then you need merchant account services. These services help connect your financial institution to your clientele’s credit provider, facilitating the transfer of funds. If your business is just making the transition to accepting credit cards or you are starting up a new company, then it’s important to understand what qualifications account providers are looking for.

 

Common Account Risks and How They Affect Your Likelihood of Approval

 

Because your merchant account is an financial arrangement between you and the financial institution who issues you the account, the financial institution provides guidelines about how the account can be used. The same can be said of any other kind of account, from checking to savings, and the point of having guidelines is to help the financial institution reduce the risks involved with giving you an account. When it comes to merchant accounts, there are three major risk factors that govern guidelines.

 

•             Credit: This refers to the risk the financial institution takes with regard to the amount of money you owe to the financial institution as part of your merchant account. Though your credit will be considered when you are applying for an account, other risk factors (which will be discussed shortly) have more of a bearing on whether or not your company will be approved. Even the top merchant account services routinely approve businesses with no credit or bad credit. However, the longer your company remains in business, the more important your credit rating will become. If you are just starting out or have bad credit, make it a priority to improve your credit rating so you can maintain your merchant account.

 

•             Fraud: Fraud refers to accepting and then processing fraudulent credit card payments, or payments that have not been authorized by the card holder. This normally happens when customers attempt to pay for goods and services with stolen credit cards or card numbers. Regardless of what kind of merchant you are, fraud is always a risk. However, merchants new to the game may not be as knowledgeable when it comes to the tipoffs that a potential transaction is dishonest and are therefore considered more at risk. In addition, certain types of businesses tend to carry a higher fraud risk because of the nature of the services or goods offered.

 

•             Contingent liability: This liability is usually considered to be the most scrutinized risk factor because it carries the most weight for the merchant account provider. Contingent liability is based not only on a business’s likelihood of fraud but on potential future risks that may be associated with a company’s business model or marketing tactics. For example, if your business advertises that it will provide customers with future products or services, there is a risk that your business may be unsustainable, causing patrons to request refunds. In general, account providers will not approve businesses for an account if they offer products or services that are delivered more than three months after the payment is received.

 

High Risk Merchants

 

If your business is considered by merchant providers to be high risk, then even the best merchant account services will likely cost you a bit more than they would for other merchants. Typically high risk merchants sell products and services conducive to fraud, businesses that have high customer dissatisfaction rates, or companies that offer lifetime or long term guarantees and warranties. Here are a few examples of companies typically associated with high risk.

 

•             businesses that involve gambling

•             adult services, media, or products

•             travel related businesses such as airlines or third party hotel reservation services

•             pay per transaction online services

•             credit and debt consolidation agencies

 

If you think that your business may be considered risky, then the best merchant account services for your business are probably those offered by providers specializing in accounts for high risk clients.

 

Reserve Obligation

 

Businesses who are considered to be high risk but who are able to qualify for merchant account services are usually subject to a reserve clause as part of their contract. A reserve is a pool of money held by the financial institution providing the account that is used to cover the cost of unexpected losses, such as excessive chargebacks. Though held by the financial institution, the money in the reserve belongs to the merchant.

 

The amount in the reserve is usually determined by the financial institution and is calculated according to the level of risk involved. It often takes several months to build up the reserve because the funds come from withholding a certain percentage of each transaction processed. Withholding percentages and reserve time frames should be specified in your contract.

 

Geographical Considerations

 

For those companies who want to create a merchant account with a financial institution located within the United States, there are certain requirements that most providers ask that you meet in order for you to be approved. These include having a business checking account with a US financial institution (so that all transactions are conducted in US monies) and a US mailing address that matches the address of the checking account. If you have a website, the server must also be located within the United States.

 

For companies whose main business is located outside the United States but who still want a US merchant account to handle domestic transactions, some additional requirements may also apply. These include the company being part of a US corporation, the company having a guarantor with a valid Social Security number and good credit, and the company warehousing and shipping merchandise from within the US.

 

Conclusion

 

When you are preparing to apply for the top merchant account services, it is important to understand what qualifications providers are looking for. Understand how certain types of risks determine what kind of account you will qualify for and how those risks affect the rules governing your account. Know whether or not your business is considered high risk. If it is, keep in mind that a reserve may be required in order to get an account. Be familiar with geographical restrictions and contingencies. Taking the time to be informed before you apply will mitigate the number of surprises you encounter and the frustration you may feel as part of the merchant account application process. A merchant account is highly important to the success of a business to be able to accept credit cards and to offer check processing.

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How to qualify for a merchant account.

 

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Creating Your Point Of Sale System

point of sale systems 8 June 2014 | 0 Comments

In many ways, the computer hardware and software used by your business to accomplish day to day operations is going to make a huge difference in the efficiency and productivity.  Software that’s well-chosen for your particular industry and hardware that’s adaptable and easy to use make a significant contribution to the overall function of business.  Understanding both your point of sale system and the way in which it contributes to your business will help you choose the point of sale business solutions that are right for you.

 

What is a Point of Sale System?

 

‘Point of sale’ is the technical term for a checkout system.  Though point of sale system rings up and calculates the amount of a transaction (as the term checkout implies) it can actually do a whole lot more.  PoS systems can perform functions such as:

 

•             Calculate non-standard tax rate

•             Ring up tax-exempt transactions

•             Process merchandise returns, exchanges, and refunds

•             Sell gift cards and gift certificates

•             Process any chosen forms of payment, including credit cards, travelers’ checks, and client credit accounts

•             Add shipping information and postage options

•             Include client notes or instructions

 

Special Point of Sale Systems

 

The best point of sale business systems can be very powerful; as you can see, the operations options open to you are extensive.  Point of sale systems can also be very straightforward and provide operators with a set menu of options.  This kind of point of sale business system is frequently used in the restaurant and food service industry.

 

One of these systems will have a touch screen or series of buttons similar to a standard cash register.  Each of these buttons is labeled with a certain option; this makes it easy for associates to assemble customers’ orders, including custom additions and substitutions.  Combo meals, specials, and other options can be easily programmed into the electronic option menu.  Additional buttons such as tax, total, subtotal, and refund are also included in a standard system.

 

These streamlined systems are preferred in many businesses because of their intuitive nature and ease of use.  Very little training is required to use all the tools available.  An option can be added or removed from the electronic menu as often as necessary.  This makes promotions and special deals easy to implement and then remove as soon as the promotion ends.

 

Adding a New Point of Sale System to Your Business

 

If you’re implementing a point of sale system for the first time, you should consider working with a customer service agent or someone who is experienced installing your chosen system.  Setting up the best point of sale business solutions system correctly will ensure that it works right from the very first day.  If you have an existing PoS system or are upgrading current equipment, it’s also helpful to work with an installation technician to be certain that all parts of the system are working correctly before you start using it for transactions.

 

In the case of new systems, you’ll need to learn about the system components you’ll need.  At the very least you’ll need a cash register.  Many registers have the data entry component (keypad), cash drawer, display, and receipt printer all in one unit though some models offer these components separately or with options with regards to size.  If you’ll be accepting checks then you’ll need a small piece of hardware that scans the checks and communicates with your choice of check verification systems.  This will help you ensure that you don’t take checks from an unauthorized source.

 

Credit card terminals are used to scan and authorize payments made with credit and debit cards and sometimes with other payment cards, too.  Other payment cards might include gift cards or Electronic Benefits Transfer cards.  EBT cards are issued by state health and human services departments and allow program members access to a preset supplemental nutrition budget (food stamps) or preset cash allowances.  Not all businesses are set up to accept these forms of payment.  If you wish to participate in your state’s EBT program you’ll need to talk with the bank you hold your business account with.  They’ll be able to tell you what is required to become an authorized EBT retailer.  Often, your bank can take care of part of the process for you.

 

Other Items of Hardware

 

The transactions you intend to do will in large part determine what kind of equipment you’ll need in your point of sale system.  Most retail items come prepackaged with a barcode or are given a barcode once they’re received in your inventory.  For this reason, retail organizations will need infrared barcode scanners.  These scanners can be small and handheld or large and mounted on the floor.

 

Some of the best best point of sale business solutions can be integrated with your other business software to keep track of inventory on hand.  This is especially helpful when you have physical PoS systems operating inside a storefront and a virtual PoS system on a website.  Self-updating inventory systems will keep you from overselling items that you don’t actually have on hand.  Overselling items based on the assumed amount of inventory on hand can be an immense problem.  It’s best to implement inventory tracking software that can help avoid this situation.

 

Putting it all Together

 

Once you’ve chosen the PoS system hardware and software you’ll be using in your business, you’ll need to purchase as many sets as you have sales terminals.  Each terminal needs to be outfitted in exactly the same way to reduce confusion and make certain that all operations are performed in exactly the same way.

 

Work closely with the service representatives of your chosen bank and electronics provider.  Both of these agencies are going help you create the best point of sale business solutions.  Your bank can pave the way for you to accept debit, credit, and EBT cards as well as conventional and travelers’ checks.  An authorized service agent from your electronics provider will be able to ensure that your system is assembled and operating correctly.  This service agent will need to examine each of your sales terminals so that they can all be up and running on the same schedule.

 

Your chosen point of sale system is at the heart of your business.  The monetary transaction is the primary way that your business will interact with its customers so do whatever you can to make sure that interaction is a positive one.

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A Guide For The Aspiring Entrepreneur – How To Accept Payments By Credit Card

credit card processing companies 7 June 2014 | 0 Comments

If you want to be a successful business owner, there are a few things you will need to learn how to do. For one thing, you will likely need to learn how to throw a business plan together. You may also need to learn how to hire a few employees. Without a doubt, if you plan on accepting any payments by credit card, you will need to learn how to work with credit card processing companies so that the transactions can be made.

 

By reading this article, you will have a much better understanding of how your business can expand by learning how to accept credit card payments.

 

Why Do You Need To Accept Credit Cards?

 

As a business owner, you do have the option of deciding whether or not your company will be able to accept credit card payments. Some businesses still choose to go without this option. However, with the incredible growth in everyday credit card usage, it is very important that you consider this decision with care.

 

It is a simple fact that if you choose not to accept payments made via credit card, you could severely limit your opportunity for customers. When there are more convenient options elsewhere, you may find that many of your potential customers choose to go somewhere else.

 

By setting up an account with one of the top credit card processing companies, you open the doors for an entire new group of customers. The moment the word gets out that you have started accepting payments by credit card, you could easily see a huge growth in your revenue.

 

Set Up A Merchant Account With The Right Credit Card Processing Company

 

In order for your company to be able to accept credit card payments, you will need to establish a merchant account with one the best credit card processing companies. There are many different credit card processing companies to choose from, so it is important to find the processing company that works best with your particular line of business.

 

Before you set up a merchant account, here are 3 things to consider:

 

1 – Type Of Credit Card Processing Company

 

When you set out to find a credit card processing company to work with, you will notice there are several different types of companies to choose from. The type of company you choose will depend on your particular needs. Some of the top credit card processing companies include:

 

*Local banks

 

*Third-party providers (such as PayPal)

 

*Independent processors

 

If your business handles only a small amount of credit card usage, you might need only a third-party credit card processor. However, if your annual credit card sales are high, you will likely want to set up an account with a bank or an independent processing company. Make sure that you fully compare each option before making your decision.

 

2 – Type Of Merchant Account

 

In addition to finding the best credit card processing companies for your particular line of business, you will also want to consider the particular type of merchant account that you need. There are a few different types of merchant accounts, giving business owners the chance to accept payments in a variety of different ways. The following types of merchant account are some of the most common:

 

*Retail Merchant Account – Ideal for retail business that participate in only Point of Sale (in person) transactions.

 

*Mail or Telephone Order Merchant Account (MOTO) – Best for companies that use telephone and mail in orders.

 

*Internet Merchant Account – Great for companies that use e-commerce.

 

As more and more people have started using credit cards for everyday purchases, many companies have decided to start accepting credit card payments for multiple different things (i.e. telephone order, Point of Sale purchases, and e-commerce). Because of this change in credit card usage, some of the best credit card processing companies now offer a variety of different services with each merchant account. This convenience has given businesses much more flexibility in their ability to accept payments via credit card.

 

3 – Cost

 

Of course, there is always a cost associated when working with the top credit card processing companies. There are a variety of fees attached to each different kind of account, so try to look for an account that will give you the best deals on the particular services you need.

 

When considering the cost of a merchant account, make sure to remember the following items:

 

*Monthly minimums and maximums and included fees – If your monthly credit card sales go beyond the boundaries of the limit, you might be charged additional fees.

 

*Fees for account cancelation

 

*Fees associated with PoS, mail/telephone order, and internet credit card transactions

 

How Do You Start Accepting Credit Card Payments?

 

Once you have decided on one of the best credit card processing companies for your business to work with, you will also need to determine how you are actually going to accept payments that are made by credit card. Because businesses are so different, there are many different ways to accept credit card payments. Your own decision will be determined by your line of business and your specific needs.

 

Here are some of the most common credit card processing methods:

 

*Credit Card Imprinter Machine –The imprinter makes a carbon copy of the card, giving you the chance to process the payment later on. Because of the later processing time, imprinters are mostly only used for short-term situations and in small businesses.

 

*Credit Card Or “Swipe” Terminal – With a credit card terminal, cards are physically swiped and the transactions are processed either immediately or at a later point.

 

*Mobile Credit Card Processing – Payments can be made via mobile device by either typing in the number or swiping the card through an external piece of hardware.

 

*Virtual Credit Card Terminal – The customer’s credit card number and personal information are submitted to an online form and the payment is processed online.

 

Get Started Today

 

The sooner your growing business can start accepting payments by credit card, the sooner you will be able to see your business grow. Take the time to compare several different credit card processing companies, and find the best one for your business.

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A guide for accepting payments via credit card.

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Eight Uses For Point Of Sale Equipment Rentals

retail credit card processing 7 June 2014 | 0 Comments

If you own a business, no matter what the size, chances are you have a plan for future expansion of your operations. The retail point of sale system you currently have in place may suit your business’ needs now, but how capable is it of growing with you? Whether your operations are already in the process of expanding, or your are just beginning to test the waters, you may find yourself putting off purchasing new retail point of sale equipment because you cannot be sure you will need it consistently. If that is the case, then you may want to consider renting a point of sale system. Renting is easy; for a small fee, you can gain access to additional point of sale terminals and software for an afternoon, a weekend, or a month right when you need them the most.

 

Keep reading for ten examples of small businesses and the situations in which they might benefit from renting point of sale equipment.

 

1 – Restaurants

 

Bars and restaurants are already one of the biggest customers for point of sale systems, but there are many reasons why they might want to use rentals to temporarily expand their operations. Some specialty restaurants can find themselves the target of additional business on holidays or other special occasions: for example, an Irish Pub on St. Patrick’s Day. Adding an extra point of sale terminal can help speed up transactions and keep the extra traffic moving.

 

Additionally, a restaurant may wish to expand its business for part of the year. Think of the hot dog carts and other food trucks you see downtown in summer for an example. Renting an additional point of sale machine for use in one of these carts can ensure that the restaurant’s existing resources are not overtaxed.

 

2 – Retail stores

 

Much like restaurants, retail stores have busy seasons. Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, can virtually guarantee a massive upswing in customer traffic at most major retailers. Even if you are a smaller store that doesn’t participate in Black Friday sales, you are likely to see an upswing in customer traffic around Christmas and other gift giving holidays.

 

Renting point of sale equipment is one way to keep up during these busy times. Temporarily add an extra check out terminal or kiosk, or equip your sales associates with portable point of sale software so that they can perform merchandise checkouts right on the sales floor.

 

3 – Food vendors

 

Food vendors are different from restaurants in that they sell food and drink from a mobile location, such as a trailer or catering truck. Some food vendors work full time, but many others only sell at special events or on special occasions. A food vendor may consider renting point of sale equipment for the afternoon of the big game, or for a whole month during the County Fair. This kind of flexibility can be a great benefit to part time workers.

 

4 – Event staff

 

If you run a concert venue or other space for special events, you may find that you only have acts booked a few times a month. Rather than purchase point of sale software and leave it in the box office where it can be stolen or damaged, consider renting equipment for only the days that you need it. This solution is most cost effective for venues that are just starting out or are open once a week or less often.

 

5 – Internet sellers

 

The internet has made it easy for anyone with a clever idea to start a business and find the right customer base. Retail sites like Etsy.com, which allow users to sell their handmade or one-of-a-kind items, are free to use and require almost no technical knowledge. However, even a dedicated internet retailer may find certain opportunities to expand into in-person sales too good to pass up. For example, a seller of movie memorabilia may want to set up a booth at the local film festival, or a jeweler may want to try to sell some pieces at the annual gem show. Retail point of sale rental allows these sellers to retain the freedom and independence that selling online offers.

 

6 – Artists and artisans

 

For many, making money off their hobby or talent can seem like a dream come true. Artists and artisans just starting out – the painter who sells landscapes on the weekend or the band just trying to find an audience for its first CD – may find retail point of sale rental to be a cost effective option. Having the ability to accept credit cards and other forms of payment in addition to cash at locations such as an art walk or street fair can open up an entirely new customer base.

 

7 – Drivers

 

Taxis, limos, and shuttle services are one of the fastest growing markets for point of sale software. With so many customers these days not paying for purchases with cash or neglecting to carry cash at all, an option to pay drivers with credit or debit cards is a smart idea to drum up more business for your transportation company. However, undertaking a major operation like outfitting all vehicles in a fleet with point of sale equipment can be costly and intimidating. Renting equipment at first can be an inexpensive way to test the market and assess costs.

 

8 – Trade show vendors

 

For vendors who supply specialty items to certain industries, trade shows can be major events for their businesses. A booth at a trade show can make buyers aware of new products and convince them to switch vendors. However, industry trade shows only come around once or twice a year, and it can be impractical to keep mobile point of sale technology on hand that is only going to be used for a few days at a time. There are many different rental options for point of sale software, including ones to suit the needs of trade show vendors.

 

Conclusion

 

These are just a few of the situations where a business might benefit from taking advantage of a retail credit card processing service. However, if you are the proprietor of any small business, or larger business that is looking to expand, you might find renting a good way to try before you buy.

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8 uses for your PoS equipment.

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Finding A Credit Card Processing Company For Your Business

credit card processing 6 June 2014 | 0 Comments

Today, people prefer to pay with plastic and that means that your business must be able to accept and process credit card payments. In order to do that you need to locate a credit card processor, but before you sign up with one, there are several things that you should know about in order to find a processor that will be a good fit for your business. These things include exchange rates, bank account requirements, and fees associated with processing services. Having a good understanding of these factors is essential in your search for the best credit card processing best service out there.

 

How a card processing company works

 

The first thing that you need to familiarize yourself with is how a card processing company works. As you know, there are several credit cards out there that people use but four of them are the most popular and these are:

 

•             Discover

•             Visa

•             MasterCard

•             American Express

 

In order to communicate with these companies, you need to have a way to contact them and receive information from them and that is where the role of a card processing company comes into play. These companies have already put together a communication network consisting of physical equipment and software. This network has the ability to dial into the credit card companies’ servers through a secure method, send the credit card company the card information, the amount the payment is for, and then receive approval from the credit card company for the charge.

 

Exchange rates

 

In exchange for their services, credit card processing companies charge what is referred to as exchange rates and these differ, depending on the type of card it is. In addition, these rates can also change so it is important to find out what the current rates are to ensure that you are not charged more than you should be. The best credit card processing best practices show that exchange rates should be between 2 and 3%, depending on the card company, per transaction. This can add up to quite a lot of money for your business so it is important to negotiate as low an amount as you can.

 

When you are negotiating with credit card processing companies, you want to keep in mind that some cards are going to more expensive to process than others. For example, Visa and MasterCard tend to be the cheapest while Discover and American Express can cost you quite a bit more. You should also know that check cards are less expensive than credit cards so if a credit card processing best service is telling you that the exchange rate on a check card will be about the same as a credit card, than it would be a good idea to look at another company.

 

Credit card companies review the exchange rates every year and generally raise the percentage that they charge for a company to process a transaction with them. This means that a credit card processing company will also change their rates since they are in business to make a profit. Each year, it would be a good idea to pay attention to the changes being made by credit card companies themselves and compare those changes to the increases the credit card processing company is charging you.

 

Bank account requirements

 

When it comes to credit card processing best practices, many companies require that you set up a bank account. The bank account is separate from your other business accounts in that only the transactions from the credit card sales are deposited inside it. It is therefore important to discuss this with any credit card processing company that you may be considering working with, to understand what their policies are regarding these accounts.

 

If you are required to create a new bank account, you should know that these accounts are referred to as merchant accounts, and basically it just means that the bank is willing to accept payments into the account through a credit card source. Once the money is deposited into the bank account, the credit card processing company usually withdraws its fees from the account before the funds are made available to your business. There can be several fees charged to this account such as:

 

•             monthly minimum fee

•             batch fee

•             statement fee

•             transaction fee

•             annual fee

•             early termination fee

•             chargeback fee

 

Depending on the bank, you may be responsible for just a couple of these fees or for all of them. Therefore it is a good idea to speak with the credit card processing company best practices employee to make sure that you understand what limitations and charges your business is susceptible to under the terms of the contract.

 

Additional costs

 

Not only does your business need to pay for the services provided by the credit card processing company, but you will also likely be facing other costs associated with equipment and software. If you are opening a physical shop, for example, then you will need to purchase, or rent, credit card scanning equipment. In addition, you will need software in place in order to read that credit card information and process the transaction. If your business should also have online credit card purchasing as well as in-store purchasing, then you will likely need more than one type of software since the systems’ technology is different.

 

The best credit card processing best solutions include the leasing option for businesses like yours. If you can, it is always better to purchase the equipment and software needed, rather than leasing it. Studies show that businesses who lease their equipment will end up paying more in the long term than if they had just simply bought it. It is important to talk with several vendors to find out what your best options are before you make the decision to lease or buy.

 

Conclusion

 

As you can see, there are several factors and elements that you should be aware of, and that you should keep in mind, when you are looking for credit card processing best solutions for your business. By taking the time to understand all of the limitations, fees, processes, and exchange rates, you will be able to negotiate a fair contract while providing your customers with credit card payment options.

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How to find the right credit card processing company for your business.

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What You Should Know About Online Shopping

best online payment gateway 5 June 2014 | 0 Comments

Any discussion of online business today inevitably includes the mention of credit cards. In many ways, the rise of credit card usage made possible online commerce as we now know it. The need to deliver sensitive personal and financial information over the Internet required the development of advanced security protocols; these have been in use since 1994 and still provide the most reliable method of transmitting secure information between customer, merchant, and the best payment online services.

 

The same technology that makes possible standard credit card transactions in brick and mortar stores was put to work processing online transactions. In fact, many of the traditional credit card processing services have now expanded to offer merchants payment gateway online services, too. If you already have a credit card processing service that you like, it’s likely that they can help you set up your payment gateway online.

 

What is a Payment Gateway and Why Do You Need One?

A payment gateway is an application that allows merchants and their customers to do business over the Internet. It is only one part of the overall online shopping experience though arguably the most important one. The payment gateway integrates with a website’s online catalog, shopping cart function, and payment calculation application. All these elements have to work together seamlessly in order for the customer to have a good purchasing experience. A streamlined retail system will also help the merchant keep track of their inventory and manage individual orders.  In short, the payment gateway online services are connected directly or indirectly to every other part of the shopping process from both the merchant’s and customer’s point of view.

 

Studies have shown that customers are now doing more of their routine shopping on the Internet; the growth is evident.  Online shopping data collected over several years showed a significant jump over a nine year period.  In 2002 global e-commerce sales were estimated at 72 billion dollars; in 2011 that amount had risen to 256 billion.  Market research has also shown that customers increasingly expect websites to offer online shopping options.  Showcasing products and brands available at your place of business may not be enough; it might be time to look for the best payment gateway online processors to add to your website.

 

How to Get Started

Adding payment gateway online processors and related applications to your website is fairly straightforward.  Industry standard website design programs will have a menu of shopping tools that can be added to your site with just a few clicks.  Certain “template” sites offer catalog functions in their premium service packages, and any website design company can easily add catalog and shopping cart functions to your site; high-end software suites such as enterprise resource planning kits can help manage everything from inventory to shipping though the costs of such suites aren’t in everyone’s budget.

 

The Main Online Retail Applications

Online shopping applications consist of several elements, each of which has to be in perfect sync with all the others.  The catalog displays pictures and details of each product available to the website user (the customer).  The user can select the items they want to purchase in the quantity they desire.  The items will be stored inside a virtual shopping cart; the shopping cart application keeps track of the order’s total amount and adjusts automatically as items are added or removed.  The shopping cart application finishes its work by applying applicable sales tax, calculating discount coupon codes, and factoring in the cost of the shipping option chosen by the customer.  Some shopping cart applications allow merchants to add advanced options, such as gift wrap, monograms, or other customization to the customer’s check out routine.

 

The final application necessary for online shopping is the payment gateway.  The gateway is a service that links the merchant site to the credit card payment processing agency selected by the merchant. The best online payment gateway makes use of secure Internet connections that encrypt the data being sent and received during the payment process.

 

The Payment Gateway Process

 

  1.  As soon as the customer clicks the button to submit their order, a payment authorization request is sent via an encrypted Internet connection.
  2. This request is first received by the merchant’s site and the server it’s hosted on.  If no error is returned then the request continues.
  3. The request is sent from the merchant’s server to the payment gateway; the gateway directs the request to the proper destination.
  4. The gateway contacts the payment processor associated with the merchant’s acquiring bank.  This payment processor then passes the information to the card service itself (the company that issued the card to the customer).
  5. At this point the credit card service and the bank that issued it (the customer’s bank) will issue an approved or denied message; a card may be declined because it was reported lost or stolen, or it may be expired.  If the customer entered incorrect information this will also result in an error message.  If the card is approved, the bank’s payment processor forwards an authorization message back to the payment gateway.
  6. The payment gateway relays the authorization to the website where the purchase is taking place.  The customer receives a message saying that payment has been completed successfully.

 

This complex process is completed in less than five seconds.  Under normal circumstances the transmission and reception of information will take about the same amount of time in both traditional credit card terminals and virtual terminals like the shopping cart application described here.

 

Fulfilling Orders Placed Online

The customer’s experience with online shopping will be with the “front end” of the retail applications on your website.  They are the end user that both enters and receives information calculated in the “back end” of the application.  As the merchant, you also have a front end that’s visible to you but not your customer.

 

You’ll receive an alert that an order was placed along with all the relevant details.  You’ll then fulfill the order and arrange for the shipping option purchased by the customer.  The retail applications used by customers are synched with the inventory management applications that you see on your own computer.  Changes in on-hand inventory quantities are immediately reflected both in your records and on the website’s catalog.  This prevents any subsequent customers from ordering items that have sold out.  These inventory management applications aren’t directly connected to your payment gateway though still depend on information regarding payment authorization.

 

The best payment gateway online will allow you to easily integrate payment processing with your existing website.  To use these services you’ll need to have a highly stable server with plenty of space to accommodate catalog listings and other resource intensive applications.  You’ll also have to arrange for a secure Internet connection to safeguard your customer’s information as it is being sent and received.  With the right applications and technical infrastructure, it’s possible to make online shopping a central part of your business website.

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Things you should know about online shopping.

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Point Of Sale System Buyer’s Guide For Retail Chains

retail merchant services 4 June 2014 | 0 Comments

Every retail store has unique needs, but when it comes to ringing up customer merchandise they are all looking for basically the same things: accuracy, convenience, and affordability. The best POS systems for retail chains can help to ensure that both your needs and your customers’ needs are met, and they can even help increase your profitability. However, if you choose the wrong POS systems for retail businesses, then you may end up with a system that doesn’t meet your needs and that slows down your productivity and efficiency. If you are trying to figure out which POS systems for retail you should purchase, here are a few things you should figure out.

 

How many retail stations do you have or plan on having?

 

Before you choose from the best POS systems for retail businesses, you should first figure out how many retail stations you have, and if you plan on expanding those stations in the near future. The general rule of thumb is that you should make one retail station available for every 1-2 customers. Keep in mind that you will likely have more customers during certain events or times of the year, so you will want to plan enough terminals for those busy seasons as well.

 

Should you worry about purchasing a dedicated back office computer?

 

Deciding whether or not to purchase a dedicated back office computer is a hard decision for many retail chains. Although it takes up extra space and can’t be used for regular transactions, a back office computer is a great asset to have because it can provide the following benefits:

 

•             Run reports as needed

•             View real-time employee productivity and sales without interfering with your cashiers or servers

•             Create purchase orders and invoices

•             Check inventory levels at any given time

•             Act as a server to host the databases for your other terminals, thus increasing response time

 

As you can see, a dedicated back office computer can be a great asset if you want to have more control of what is going on in your retail chain at any given time and have instant access to important information. However, if you can’t currently give up the space or the funds for a dedicated back office computer, don’t fret about it too much. Simply purchase the type of POS systems for retail that will work best with your current needs and worry about expanding and adding more equipment as you can.

 

How will you process credit cards?

 

Almost everyone pays for merchandise with credit cards these days, so it is very important that you have the ability to support your customers’ credit card purchases with the best POS systems for retail. In order to set up your POS system to accept credit card payments, you will need to choose from the following options:

 

•             Integrated processing

•             Non-integrated processing

 

Both types of credit card systems have their own benefits and drawbacks, so there isn’t one “correct” choice for every single retail chain. Here are some of the pros and cons of each type of system.

 

Integrated credit card processing

 

Integrated credit card processing is preferred by many retail chains because it allows your credit card terminal to interact directly with your point of sale system, which saves a lot of time and consolidates all of your sales reports conveniently into one location. However, if you are looking at POS systems for retail businesses that include integrated credit card processing, you will need to purchase anti-virus software for each one of your point of sale stations, as well as credit card readers for each station. As long as you are fine with these extra costs, you will likely enjoy the convenience and speed of POS systems for retail that include integrated credit card processing.

 

Non-integrated credit card processing

 

Non-integrated retail merchant services aren’t quite as convenient as integrated processing, but it is still a good option for some retail chains. If you purchase POS systems for retail chains that include non-integrated credit card processing, then you will need to process all credit card transactions through a stand-alone terminal that isn’t linked to your point of sale system. This means that you won’t need to purchase extra equipment, but you will need to reconcile your point of sale system reports with your credit card transactions at the end of the day because the information isn’t automatically linked and compiled for you.

 

What type of computer should you purchase?

 

Choosing a point of sale computer can be quite tricky, especially if you have very little space to work with at each point of sale terminal. Before deciding on a size, make sure that you carefully measure the area where you will be placing your computer to make sure that you don’t choose a computer that is too large for the space. If you are working with a very small amount of space, you can choose point of sale computers that have convenient and space-saving all-in-one designs. This typically means that the PC includes a touch screen so that you don’t have to worry about the extra space that a mouse can take up. The actual computer portion typically sits below the retail counter out of view. If you are having a difficult time deciding what size and type of computer to purchase for your POS systems for retail chains, simply consult with a reputable company that provides POS systems and they will be able to help you determine your retail chain’s needs.

 

Should you invest in PIN pads?

 

Although PIN pads are an extra investment and take up more space, they can provide an extra layer of convenience and security for your customers. Although most debit cards can be run through POS systems for retail just like a credit card, your customers may prefer to enter their PIN numbers for extra security instead. Additionally, if you allow your customers to enter a PIN number for their debit transactions, your retail chain will be charged at a flat rate that is typically around $0.50 per transaction. When you compare that to the 2-3% charge for credit card transactions, you can see how your retail chain can potentially save a lot of money by allowing customers to use debit cards.

 

If you keep the above considerations and questions in mind when you go shopping for POS systems for retail businesses, you should be able to find the ideal POS system for your retail chain’s needs.

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Buyer’s guide for retail chain point of sale systems

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The Limitless Possibilities Of Wireless Credit Card Readers

mobile processing 3 June 2014 | 0 Comments

It seems as though you can do everything on the go these days. Reserve a table, pay your bills, shop, watch your favorite TV show and even transfer money. Now you can add taking payments to that extensive list. Hand held credit card machines are the new way to pay when you’re away from a stationary credit card reader.  They’ve been used in restaurants in order that patrons can pay right at the table where they can see that their server isn’t copying down any of their sensitive information. They’re a new way to make business move faster and be that much more efficient. And now you can use them to do the same for your business. If you have a restaurant, taxi service, commercial airplane service or have a business that operates either out in the field or on the go, you might want to consider using wireless hand held credit card machines.

 

What Are Hand Held Credit Card Machines

 

You may not see any difference in using stationary credit card readers and mobile hand held credit card machines, but your customers certainly will. If you run your own restaurant, your customers are entrusting you with a lot more than their palates, they’re also entrusting you with their credit card number. Restaurants are one of the few businesses where if you pay with a card your card disappears from your view for a few moments before it’s returned to you. This is a great opening for someone to commit credit card fraud. Using hand held credit card machines means that you’ll look that much more professional and up-to-date on technology, something that could prove to be a major deciding factor with customers. Business no longer have to call in credit card numbers or use credit card imprints, which can prove to be difficult to organize and read. Utilizing the best wireless hand held credit card machines means fewer merchant fees from credit card companies since they allow for instant authorization with the cardholder.

 

Why Go Wireless?

 

Mobile hand held credit card machines allow merchants to avoid bounced checks, paying overdraft fees and late payments since they’ll instantly know if the customer has the funds in their account at the moment of the transaction. The occurrence of chargebacks is also reduced with hand held readers. Chargebacks are when a customer fights a charge that appears on their credit or debit card statement. By using the best hand held credit card machines, you’ll not only have the card’s data and the transaction record, you’ll also have the cardholder’s electronic signature which proves that they authorized the charge.

 

There are certain things to look for when deciding on a credit card reader. You’ll not only want to take setup and monthly service fees into consideration, but also the fact that you’ll be charged each time you run a credit card. This transaction fee has two parts, the processing rate and the base rate. These fees can vary, and even if the transaction fee is low the authorization rate can still be quite pricey. If you plan on using wireless hand held credit card machines for your smartphone, you need to make sure that both the smartphone and the credit card machine are equally compatible. Most smartphones have apps for mobile credit card readers, and Bluetooth reader/printer combination devices are available. You can also see lower transaction fees with these options. Certain mobile hand held credit card machines allow you to accept customer signatures, add a tip, take customer information, include sales tax and even send receipts to customers.

 

Different Types Of Hand Held Credit Card Machines

 

You’ll have a few options available to you should you decide to use a wireless credit card reader, so you’ll need to think carefully to decide on the best mobile hand held credit card machines.  Wireless card readers are available for tablet computers that can be used to take payments and email receipts to customers. This is a great option for companies that are trying to be more environmentally friendly or maintain a certain image. Wireless hand held credit card machines are also available as jacks for smartphones. There’s also software that can be programmed right into the phone so that you don’t have to have a jack. Both of the above options have apps that you can use to make the process easier for you and your customers.  Digital portable credit card machines are the most basic, with a signature screen, built in swipe, printer and keypad that operate on a wired network. Contactless credit card readers use innovative new technology and have a protected internal memory in the system. The small antennae built into the device exchanges information with the reader. The way this type of reader works is that the customer simply taps their credit card and doesn’t have to worry about signing anything.

 

Mobile processing readers won’t completely make customers throw caution to the wind when it comes to using them, especially if you use a card reader that can be attached to your mobile phone. Some people may worry that you’ll store their credit card information and put them in danger of being a victim of credit card fraud. You can assure them that hand held credit card machines use sophisticated encryption that makes sure the card’s data is protected. Reader apps on phones should be password protected and have other parameters set up in case the phone is ever lost or stolen. Also, card information received by wireless credit card readers is never stored on the phone. This is all valuable information to know in case someone ever asks you. In business, knowledge is not only power, it’s sales.

 

Implementing a hand held credit card reader, wireless credit card reader or credit card reader for a smartphone is an excellent way to further unlock your business’s potential. Never before has technology provided business owners with so many limitless possibilities. Your customers and clients will also reap the benefits of not having to do business in one location. Imagine being able to complete transactions while meeting a client or customer for lunch or coffee. No more hurrying back to the office or the store before it closes. Take your business on the road with a mobile credit card machine.

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Benefits of having a mobile processing company.

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