Choosing a Payment System: 4 Must-Haves to Look For
By Lauren McAlister
As a business owner, you're handling two very different aspects of your business daily.
There are the aspects that inspired you to start your business: the services you offer, the people you hire, the schedule you maintain, and the atmosphere you create for your team and your clients.
And then there are the decisions you have to make—like choosing the right payment processor.
This one decision will play a role every single time you take a credit card at your business. It will determine how much you end up paying on each card transaction and how vulnerable you are to losses from “chargebacks.” Not to mention the cost of no-shows if your processing isn’t integrated into your scheduling system.
Your choice of payment partner impacts how you keep your customers and your business safe from security threats, too.
So, what should you factor into your decision about credit card processing? Here are a few important considerations:
Ease of use
Making sure your clients can pay with no awkward questions, no mistakes, and no friction with any type of payment when they leave will ensure they’re thinking about when their next class or appointment is—and nothing else. Integrated payments help provide this seamless experience.
Why integrated payments? Searching for customers in multiple systems—or transferring information between them—drains time and creates opportunity for errors. You’ll want to choose a solution that will helps, not hinders you when:
Charging for no-shows
Taking payment or a deposit for online bookings
Selling gift cards in-store and/or online
Selling packs of services to retain clients for more than one visit
Integrating payment processing with your business management software not only streamlines your operations but adds greater benefits you couldn’t achieve with separate systems.
If you guard your time against no-shows like you should (and like most service-based businesses do) you likely take a credit card or deposit to hold an appointment. If this information isn't handled correctly with “point-to-point encryption” you're risking your client’s personal data, your business, and your reputation.
If your credit card processor is PCI-compliant and you pair it with a management system that’s PCI-compliant, you have far fewer complexities to worry about. The software and point-of-sale device encrypts all credit cards you use or store, showing you only the last four digits of the card number. If you use Mindbody to process and store credit cards, you can trust that your systems are secure.
Anything you read or learn about payment processing will tell you to look at the rates. Understanding how rates are structured is very helpful. If you see “Flat Rate” processors, know that the fee ends up as an average of the rates you would have paid. A tiered structure will separate the fees based on how risky the transaction is.
Every time you run a customer’s credit card, you’re sharing the sale with a bank, a credit card company, and a payment processor. No matter which payment processor you use, these three parties will take a percentage of your earnings. The fees are only a small percentage, but they add up. For example, the average cost per $100 transaction is $2-$3. Over the course of the year, the cost of credit card processing can amount to thousands.
What’s on the inside is important, but what’s on the outside matters too. If your hardware is old, clunky or anywhere in between, consider looking into some of the other sleek options out there. You’ll want a system that leverages EMV®. This technology reduces risk for “charge-backs”--when someone argues a transaction with the bank. If you can't prove they were there, then you end up footing the bill. EMV helps you prove the card was present.
Your choice of a payment processor impacts how smoothly your business runs and your bottom line. By integrating payment processing with your business management software, you can save time and money, protect your customers and business from security threats, all while gaining valuable sales insights that help you take your business to the next level.