May
5 - 2012

Credit Card Processing Options for Small Businesses

Part of starting a small business is figuring out how you are going to accept payments from customers who want your services or products. While you can always take cash or checks, expanding your available payment options can increase business. Most businesses realize that they are going to have to accept credit cards if they want to be able to compete in their markets. When it comes to processing credit cards for your business, there are a few different options for you to consider.

Bank Merchant Account

One of the most common options for businesses to consider is opening a traditional bank merchant account. With this approach, you will go to your local bank and open an account. You will then be provided with a credit card terminal that you can use to accept credit card payments. When you accept a payment, the money will be transferred to your merchant account. You can then choose to transfer that money over to your business account at the same bank if you choose.

Independent Service Organization Merchant Account

Another way that you can get access to a merchant account is to go through an independent service organization. This is a private company that is in the business of selling credit card merchant accounts to companies. When you opt for this type of merchant account, you get dedicated service from a company that is in the business of doing nothing but providing merchant accounts. Sometimes, they have very competitive rates that will allow you to save money on the payment that you except through their network.

Third-Party Processor

Some companies rely on the services of a third-party payment processor to accept credit card payments. Instead of setting up a traditional merchant account, you allow and other party to process your credit card payments for a fee. Then they send you the remainder of the money that you earned from the sale. This type of arrangement may be the most appropriate for businesses who can sell online. For example, PayPal is one example of a third-party payment processor that allows you to accept credit cards.

Mobile Credit Card Payments

Another option that you may want to consider is signing up for a mobile credit card payment processing program. With this type of program, you can accept credit card payments by using a smart phone, tablet or laptop. The credit card processing company will send you a card reader that you can attach to your smartphone or other device. It takes the information from the credit card that you swipe and then sends it to the credit card processing company via the data network.

In some cases, you can even key in the information from a credit card into the phone or tablet. Then once a transaction has been completed, the system can send an email receipt to the buyer.

All of these methods of accepting credit card payments can be used successfully.  A lot of places offer credit card processing for companies, but depending on the needs of your company, you’ll want to do your research. When choosing a method, check the pricing to make sure that you aren’t paying too much for the ability to accept credit cards.

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