Running a business of your own requires you to constantly look after multiple fronts. This is especially true for small and medium-sized businesses that don’t have too many resources to fall back on.
One of the most important factors that many entrepreneurs and business owners tend to overlook is how they are going to be getting paid. If your business is consumer-facing – whether it’s a physical, brick and mortar establishment or an e-commerce website – you will need to put some serious thought into choosing the right payment processing system.
Here are 7 important things you should consider during this process, as suggested by serial and experienced entrepreneurs and experts.
1. Acceptance and Availability
While this isn’t necessarily the most important thing to consider, it’s good to get it out of the way first up.
All point of sale payment processing solutions will let you accept payments from major card-issuers (think Visa, MasterCard, Amex and Diner’s Club). Most of your customers are likely to go for these options, so make sure your payment processing system covers these.
If you’re a particularly future-facing business, look for additional, standalone payment processing systems that accept alternative modes of payment – from popular options like Apple Pay to fast evolving modes like Bitcoin payments.
2. Security And Vulnerabilities
This goes without saying – any payment processing system you choose has to pack state of the art security. The Target data breach that happened over six years ago is a prime example of how costly ignoring the POS security can be.
PCI Compliance, for example, tells us that the system is well-secured against common breach attempts. End-to-end or point-point encryption masks the flow of information, keeping your business and your customer’s financial details safe.
Of course, these are just the standard practices. You can always choose to go for a system that provides additional measures depending on the nature of your business.
3. The Speed
The importance of speeding things up in a business scenario can hardly be overstated. As a business you’d want your customers to spend more time at your establishment, but that should never mean endless waiting for the payment confirmation at the cashier counter.
It’s easy to see why a fast payments system is good for business. The faster your customers can check out, the easier it becomes for you to process more sales. It also makes sure that the last pain point from the purchase flow is eliminated – an important factor if you want the customer to revisit your business.
Traditional chip and pin machines from leading players like takepayments have stood the test of time when it comes to the speed of processing. They are not only easy to operate, most customers (and employees) are already well-familiar with how they work.
4. Charges and Fees
As a business looking to make payments seamless and easy, you’d know that all payment processing systems cost you money on every transaction in one way or another. While there’s really no way to get around this, you can – in the least – make sure that you’re not paying a hefty cut that keeps eating into your profit’s day in and day out.
Some fees you need to consider here are:
- Set up fees – the fees you need to pay for installing the machines and setting up the software
- Transaction charges (if applicable) – a percentage of every transaction made
- Service and maintenance fees – as applicable
- Missing the mark – going over your maximum monthly transaction limit or performing under your minimum monthly transaction limit
5. The Flexibility
Not all businesses are built the same. While restaurants and grocery stores will process a regular flow of transactions, B2Bs will have a much lesser frequency of processing to tend to.
Your payment processing system needs to take into account this frequency, along with the volume of transactions. Combining these two together will help you decide how much you need to pay and how to best optimize the fees.
6. Maintenance and Support
From software issues to machine malfunctioning, a number of things can go wrong when you least expect them to. If such a glitch appears on a particularly busy day, you not only stand to lose money, you also stand to lose your valuable customers.
So, it makes sense to go with a payment processing system provider that offers reliable, good and prompt customer service. Having local technicians/engineers to address your problems is always a plus.
7. Ease of Handling and Operations
If you’re going to have a dedicated cashier handle the point of sale payments, you’ll need to make sure that they can do so with ease. Every instance of card swiping/dipping needs to involve as few steps as it can to speed up the process.
Your employee handling the payments should also be able to operate the backend software without requiring specialty technical expertise (if that’s possible).
Check out my guide on how to start your business right with tons of useful tips I learned by successfully starting, building, and selling multiple companies.