According to researchers, 4 out of 5 Americans prefer shopping with credit cards (as opposed to cash, checks and other payment methods).
That means, if you don’t already accept plastic, you’re leaving money on the table.
However, whether you’re a large or small business, updating your payment environment isn’t automatic. Below is a checklist of essentials you need to consider before switching to credit cards.
The How and Where of Secure Credit Card Payments
The first step involves determining how you want to accept credit cards. Most businesses rely on payment processors. But you can also use:
- Your local bank. This option is typically cheaper, but carries fewer features and benefits.
- Third-party marketplaces. This approach involves the easiest setup. However, it’s often the most expensive — and offers the least control.
No matter which payment processing solution you choose, make sure the provider excels at PCI-compliant data security.
Next, you’ll need to apply for a merchant account. Your payment provider will likely ask for tax filings, employer identification numbers (EINs) and estimated sales volume.
Finally, you must decide where you want to accept payments — i.e., within your store, online, via mobile or all of the above.
In-Store Credit Card Acceptance
If you interact with your customers in person, you’ll need to invest in a physical credit card terminal. You can buy these readers outright or lease them for a small monthly fee.
Either way, make sure you use an EMV-ready terminal that can accept chip-enabled credit cards. Most of these readers can still process swipe-and-sign cards. Some EMV terminals can also accept near field communication (NFC) transactions.
In addition, any payment processing software should be compatible with the accounting, inventory management and CRM tools you currently use.
Online Credit Card Acceptance
As an e-merchant, you won’t have to worry about hardware since your transactions happen in the cloud.
Although, you will need to choose between having a dedicated shopping cart versus a hosted payment page.
- The former offers greater control, but requires more setup.
- The latter offers greater fraud protection but less customization. However, some providers allow you to brand your hosted payment page to look like the rest of your site.
Mobile Credit Card Acceptance
If you sell to customers through their mobile devices, you’ll need at least one of the following:
- A dedicated in-phone app to accept credit card payments.
- A wireless terminal with chip-enabled capabilities.
- A virtual terminal with a keypad or external reader.
A Final Credit Card Acceptance Tip
Once you’ve successfully completed the setup process, you’ll be able to securely accept credit card payments through your preferred channel — i.e., in-person, online or via mobile. There’s one final step, though.
You’ll need to advertise that you now accept plastic. Don’t forget to add decals to your storefront window and credit card logos to your online or mobile shopping carts.
Have more questions about credit card payment processing?
Check out the free infographic from BluePay below.
Checklist Created by BluePay
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