How Small Businesses Accept Credit Card Payments: A Guide - Fora Financial
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How Small Businesses Accept Credit Card Payments: A Guide
November 26, 2019
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How Small Businesses Accept Credit Card Payments: A Guide

If you’ve been hesitant to accept credit card payments in the past, it may be time to reconsider. You are passing up on too many opportunities!

The modern-day shopper has at least one credit card, often more. How can you be sure that most shoppers use credit cards? Online payments are increasing rapidly, and it’s almost impossible to shop online without a credit card.

This article will describe five of the best ways to accept credit cards in your business. These options will help you get started quickly, so that you can start earning more sales.

Stepping Into The Present with Credit Cards

There are two significant reasons why you’ll want to start taking payments via credit or debit cards. The first reason is customers prefer paying via credit card. Second, your competitors have probably already beat you to the punch.

A more subtle reason to accept credit cards is that you’ll have less cash stored at your business. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about keeping a large amount of cash safe on location. Credit cards won’t necessarily stop thieves from striking, but the amount they could steal will be significantly less.

If you aren’t convinced that people use credit cards more, pay attention next time you’re in a deli or coffee shop. You’ll see that people are paying with credit cards, even for purchases under ten dollars.

In the past, vendors would set minimums for credit card purchases. Many people believe that it’s illegal to set minimums with credit cards. However, it’s permitted for purchases under ten dollars. More vendors seem to be lifting these minimums, as they don’t want to miss out on sales.

When customers use their credit cards, they often receive points and rewards for the purchases. This is another reason why they’re inclined to use the cards for most of their purchases. When you force customers to make purchases using cash, they may be reluctant to return to your business. This could be because they won’t accumulate any points for purchases made at your establishment.

CTA: At Fora Financial, we can help you manage business credit wisely. We have a handy guide that shows you the options available for business credit for small business owners.

The Five Best Ways to Accept Credit Card Payments

When faced with how to accept credit card payments, the choices for payment processors can be overwhelming. To help you decide, we’ve narrowed down the options to five of the best credit card payment processors.

In this post, you’ll learn about the main features that these credit card companies offer. We chose solutions with unique features to cover the needs of most businesses. The information in this section should make it easier to select a vendor. Once you choose a credit card processor, you’ll find that offering flexible payment methods will only attract more customers.

Stripe has the advantage of being the easiest option for integration. It’s more than a simple credit card processing solution. The code required for developers to create custom solutions isn’t difficult to manage.

In addition, it supports invoicing and eCommerce options. For example, If your business has a subscription model or recurring billing basis, this may be the right option for you. According to the company’s pricing page, security is handled using machine learning algorithms. Many believe that these algorithms can be more robust at detecting fraud.

The biggest disadvantage of this solution is developers will need to make necessary customizations. Although the coding and interfaces are easy, it may require people who are skilled at coding.

Square

Attend any outdoor event with vendors, and you’ll likely see them using smart devices for credit card processing. Square offers an attachment that plugs directly into smart devices and transforms these smart devices into credit card processing machines.

The credit card attachments are small and square, which is how the company got its name. These attachments contain a slot that merchants can swipe credit cards. For customers who want receipts for their transactions, they are sent via email.

In addition, the company has expanded into eCommerce and invoicing. For some industries, the company may charge a monthly fee. These usually entail business situations that have complicated payment processing requirements. An example would be businesses that use point of sale (POS) terminals.

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PayPal

PayPal is a popular choice for small business owners. It’s relatively easy to set up and offers protection for consumers and merchants. Consumers who have PayPal accounts have funding sources set up to protect their purchases. This ensures that funding source information isn’t exposed.

Sellers only receive the transaction details and status. PayPal offers both buyers and sellers protection during disputes. The company allows both sides to present their cases, with PayPal making the final decision. 

One of the biggest downsides of using PayPal is the company has been known to freeze accounts without valid reasons. The company has been sued for this practice in the past.

ProPay

ProPay offers several methods for business owners to collect payments. One particularly attractive feature is storing customer cards for repeat transactions. The company offers a card reader, similar to Square.

ProPay customers can directly transfer money to other ProPay clients without fees. The company also offers vendors a Prepaid MasterCard for easy access to funds.

In addition, ProPay charges a signup fee and a yearly charge. The amount of the fee depends on the options chosen, but aren’t cost-prohibitive. This solution does have transaction limits that vendors need to take into consideration.

Authorize.net

Authorize.net is a payment gateway, which is a middle-tier between a merchant account and the bank. While PayPal is also considered a gateway, its merchant accounts for vendors are aggregated. Authorize.net requires individual merchant accounts to be set up, which it can do on behalf of business owners.

A merchant account is a holding account for funds resulting from credit card transactions. Individual merchant accounts are less likely to get frozen. Authorize.net is a subsidiary of Visa and is a solid choice for payment processing.

Authorize.net charges a monthly fee for its gateway service, on top of its service fees. These depend on whether business owners already have a merchant account.

If you decide to use Authorize.net as a payment gateway and you need a merchant account, the company will check your personal and business credit.

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Other Credit Card Payment Processors

The processing companies mentioned above are perhaps the quickest and easiest options for accepting credit card payments instantly. However, they aren’t the only options for business owners. It pays to shop around and find processors with lower fees or services more in line with your business. Transaction fees can add up over time, so any saving options can benefit your business.

When reviewing solutions, try to find options that lock in rates. It can also be helpful to determine if there are long-term contracts and termination fees. The industry is competitive, so these practices are diminishing as a result. However, it pays to learn what the terms are and that there are no hidden fees.

One company that meets these criteria is Helcim. Business News Daily rated this company Best Overall Payment Processor for Small Business. The company does charge monthly fees, however.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Won’t the fees charged by payment processors eat into the profits of a business?

There are processing fees for accepting credit cards. However, if you gain customers because you offer credit card payments, that can offset the hassle of processing fees.

These customers are likely to return when they discover you accept payments via credit cards. They may tell their friends, too, as credit cards often allow people to accumulate rewards and points. It may also be possible to lower your credit card processing fees.

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Fora Financial is a working capital provider to small business owners nationwide. In addition, the Fora Financial team provides educational information to the small business community through their blog, which covers topics such as business financing, marketing, technology, and much more. If you’d like to see a topic covered on the Fora Financial blog, or want to submit a guest post, please email us at [email protected].