Downtown Vision Benefactor Members
Take some time to read and learn more about Downtown's Benefactor members. We truly appreciate their contributions and everything they do for Downtown Vision.
By Richard Harp, CFP®
Commerce Bank, Garden City
When it comes to finding a great merchant services provider, the choices are overwhelming to say the least. From well-established banks to brand-new startups (and everything in between) it’s hard to know what to look for – and where to begin.
Here’s what small business owners should look for when it’s time to choose a merchant services provider.
What to look for in a merchant services provider (hint - it’s more than just card acceptance and rate).
Updated technology and products
Obviously, you want your solutions to work. Make sure your chosen provider has updated terminals and technology that accommodate your unique needs. A terminal may look great, but if it doesn’t accept the latest payment methods like contactless payments or chip cards, it won’t do you much good. You’ll end up needing to upgrade your equipment sooner in order to stay compliant and secure and keep your customers happy. Also, make sure that your check-out process is user-friendly. Updated solutions, such as Clover’s point-of-sale system, can mean less frustration for you, your staff and your customers.
Education and training
You want a provider who acts more like a financial partner – someone who will share their knowledge and teach you everything you wish to know about this area of your business. From how pricing is determined to fraud prevention, your provider should keep you updated on the payment acceptance industry. Ideally, they’ll also have resources to help train your staff.
PCI compliance help
It’s mandatory to be PCI-DSS compliant, so you need a merchant services provider who will help you achieve this. Maintaining compliance is an ongoing responsibility, so ongoing support for the life of your solution is key. A provider that leaves PCI compliance up to you does you no favors. They’re leaving you susceptible to very expensive mistakes.
Personal customer service
When you inevitably have an issue, it’s critical to get payment processing services back online as quickly as possible, so the customer support model of your merchant services provider is a major consideration. You don’t want to be stuck on hold for minutes or possibly hours to troubleshoot a problem; you need to be on and off the phone as quickly as possible. Find out the provider’s support model before signing on the dotted line. Do they outsource their customer service representatives to another company or country? What are their average wait times? For peace of mind, look for a merchant processor that offers in-house support and is familiar with both your account and equipment.
Payment schedule that fits your needs
Some merchant services are priced by interchange, some per transaction, and some are flat monthly fees. To determine which is best for you highly depends on your business, its size and the amount of transactions you process. A good provider will look at your statement and provide a cost-free estimate of your costs based on real data.
Interchange fee management
You also want to choose a provider that will handle the complexities when you need to focus on other areas of your business. If you choose an interchange-based payment schedule, your provider should offer interchange fee management. They should help you determine how much you’re spending on fees and suggest ways to decrease your costs.
Scalable as your business evolves
Finally, a provider’s flexibility will be important as you look to the long-term. They should have enough products and services to support you in multiple ways – not just a one-size-fits-all model. Establishing a long-term relationship can lead to many other opportunities for cost savings and revenue-building in the future.
For more information, contact your local Commerce Bank in Garden City, 1111 N. Fleming Street, Garden City.
Or visit their website CommerceBank.com