E-commerce is on the rise. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, second quarter online sales leaped by 13% compared to 2018.
This is good news for small businesses. But it also means that online payment processing is more important than ever. If you're looking for the best online credit card processing for your small business, start with these five tips.
Online Credit Card Processing Tip #1: Consider What Your Business Needs
Many variables impact choosing the best online credit card processor for your small business. Keep it simple by thinking about how your credit card processor will impact your day-to-day operations.
For example, where do you sell your products? Do you sell most products online, with some in-person pop ups? If so, you'll want a credit card processor with great mobile payment options.
What about your volume of sales? A small business with limited inventory might need a different solution, compared to a big enterprise with lots of locations.
Finally, where do you turn for troubleshooting? Whether you prefer email support or a 24-hour phone line, you should look for a credit card processor that provides the support you need.
These examples are a small fraction of the factors you should consider before picking a credit card processor. Above all, make sure you choose a partner that works for your specific needs.
Online Credit Card Processing Tip #2: Avoid Surprise Fees
Every guide to online credit card processing for small business addresses the same factor: fees. Hidden fees are a major concern, and with good reason. No one wants to sign a contract, only to later realize their credit card processor is eating into profits.
There are a few ways unexpected fees can creep up. First, what pricing model will the payment processor use? There are three main options:
- Flat rate
- Interchange plus
- Tiered pricing
Of these options, flat rate pricing is the only model that locks in fees ahead of time. In interchange plus and tiered pricing models, fees will vary by each sale.
This doesn't mean you should always avoid other pricing structures—just that you should know exactly what you're getting into.
Along with the pricing model, plan your exit strategy ahead of time. A month-to-month contract will let you make a penalty-free getaway if needed. Otherwise, you might end up with a liquidated damages clause. This type of clause forces businesses to pay up, even if they back out of a contract early.
Online Credit Card Processing Tip #3: Check Out Security Features and Fraud Protection
Today, the shadowy industry of identity theft is booming. Hackers steal and sell customers' personal information all the time. It's so common that it even happens in public Facebook groups.
When you accept credit cards, your business is responsible for complying with PCI guidelines. (PCI stands for "payment card industry.") A group called the PCI Standards Council enforces these rules, which are designed to fight fraud.
No matter which online credit card processor you choose, it should play an active role in protecting your customers. Look for security features such as point-to-point encryption, and ask questions about how data is managed.
Hackers evolve every day, deploying new tactics to steal information. Choosing a credit card processor with robust security is one important step toward keeping them at bay.
Online Credit Card Processing Tip #4: Accept a Variety of Payment Options
Customers each have unique needs and preferences. That applies to payments, too. When your customers shop online, they want payment processors that don't exclude their favorite ways to pay.
At a minimum, your online credit card processor should accept all major credit cards. The four most popular credit cards are Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discover. Ideally, you'll also accept cards such as Chase and Capital One.
Ultimately, the truth is that no one knows what the next big digital payment trend might be. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency might still seem like science fiction. But peer-to-peer payment apps like Venmo and Cash App are gaining popularity fast. Regardless of what the future holds, your credit card processor should help you keep pace.
Want to learn more about payment processing? Check out GoSite's free eGuide to learn how choosing the right online credit card processor can help your business grow.