Photo by Oleg Magni
Merchant services are becoming increasingly essential to functioning in business. Merchant services are essential for processing payments, which is increasingly becoming the norm.
There are over 1 billion consumer credit cards in circulation in the United States alone, as of the end of 2018. That number continues to grow and expand each year.
That’s where merchant services come in. A merchant service is a bottleneck for profits, Almost every business pays the same rate for business services unless you’re processing over 82 million transactions a year.
You strive to find the best deals for your inventory and service providers, don’t you? Why should merchant services be any different?
We’re going to delve into how to find the best merchant service providers for your small business or startup. We’ll start by looking at what separates the best merchant services from the rest. Then we’ll take a look at some of the best merchant service providers operating today.
How To Find The Best Merchant Services For Your Business
Before we begin, we’re going to define our terminology. We need to define what qualifies as the best merchant services so you know what you’re looking for.
Merchant services do more than offer a line of credit to small businesses. Merchant services are also any business solution that processes payments from customers.
Merchant services consist of:
- Card payment processing
- Online payments
- Point Of Sale (POS) Systems
- Merchant accounts
For card payments, you’ll want to find a merchant service provider that handles as many different credit cards as possible. You’ll also want to look into their payment verification services, as that’s how you’ll ensure your business is protected against fraud and bad payments. They’ll verify payments before they’re deposited into your business account.
Merchant services also provide secure payments for online transactions. They provide all of the payment forms. This also means the infrastructure that allows you to send invoices, which is vital for many entrepreneurs.
POS systems are one of the most important merchant services. POS systems do much more than simply process payments at the storefront. They also offer inventory tracking and payroll information, for instance.
POS systems also keep track of special programs like gift cards or customer loyalty programs. A good POS system is essential for helping your business to be truly up-to-date and current.
Finally, merchant services are responsible for maintaining merchant accounts. Merchant accounts are dedicated bank accounts for your business. They come in two main types: dedicated and aggregated accounts.
For entrepreneurs, you’re probably going to want a dedicated account. This means that you’re the only one who can access your business account. Aggregated accounts are for groups of entities, making them more appropriate for Corporation-style situations.
To find the best merchant services for your particular needs, remember to pay attention to transaction fees. You’ll want to find merchant services with low transaction fees, as they cut into every single purchase. You’ll also want to look for special services, like payment protection in case of fraud.
Now that we have a clearer idea of what makes a good merchant service, let’s take a look at some of the more popular options in 2020.
Square is a popular all-inclusive merchant service provider. Square processes in-store payments and acts as a virtual POS system. It also handles mobile payments and online transactions. You can even send invoices straight from Square.
Square is one of the simplest and easiest merchant services to get started with. It’s also one of the most affordable.
Square offers straightforward fees and pricing plans. This means there are no hidden fees or unexpected costs to take you by surprise at the end of the month.
You may have to pay to use Square’s equipment, however. There are monthly fees for chip card readers or tap card readers. There are also fees if you want to use a Square Terminal for your storefront. There’s also the flat Square iPad stand that you see in many small business storefronts, which costs a little less than renting a terminal or full register.
Square has some of the lowest fees of the merchant service providers on our list, however. There are no monthly fees, for one thing. It also doesn’t cost anything for Annual Compliance Fees or to use a Square POS system.
Square’s suite of management tools are some of its greatest strengths, however. It gives you everything you need to manage your inventory, as well as keep track of all of your employee and customer needs.
All of this can be done with your smartphone, home computer, or an inexpensive iPad.
PayPal is a popular merchant service provider for businesses with a heavy online presence. PayPal optimizes businesses for eCommerce in a lot of different ways.
It increases online conversions, for one thing. Customers are much more likely to complete a transaction if they don’t have to type in their payment details. It also helps to reduce abandoned shopping carts for the same reason.
PayPal offers flat-rate fees, so you won’t have to wonder or guess about what your payments will cost. PayPal offers the same fees through their physical swipe and chip card reader, as well, which makes accounting easy.
PayPal does have some monthly fees for certain services, however. Features like accessing their virtual terminal has a monthly fee, for instance, which can add up over time.
Many of PayPal’s services are free, though. It doesn’t cost anything to set up PayPal or to use their POS software. Cancellation fees are also free, which is another perk.
PayPal’s invoicing is one of its best features. It’s painless to send invoices from PayPal’s dashboard. You can set them to be re-occurring, as well, for on-going clients and projects.
With the PayPal Here POS app, you can manage your inventory in a lot of different ways. You can customize receipts, add return policies, and add product photos, for starters.
PayPal’s main strengths lie in its online payments, however. The ease of adding a PayPal button to a website is reason enough, alone, to consider it as a merchant service. If you’re strictly operating online,
Dharma is one of the best merchant services for entrepreneurs planning on doing a large volume of business. Or for high ticket price transactions.
Dharma offers some of the most transparent and straightforward payment for business owners doing between $10,000 and $20,000 in transactions a month. It also offers some of the lowest transaction fees, meaning Dharma could save you a lot of money if you qualify.
Dharma also integrates easily and painlessly with a number of card readers, terminals, and POS systems. It also can be used to process online and mobile transactions, as well.
Dharma’s management software is some of the best in the industry, as well. Every account comes with free access to MX Merchant, their business management software. It also comes with an app called MX Merchant Express for accepting mobile payments.
Flexible funding schedules are some of the most notable features that separate Dharma from the other merchant services on our list.
For in-person credit card payments, businesses can get funds the next day. Online or mobile payments can be processed in two days or less.
Dharma also features some of the best customer service of the merchant services included in our list. They have in-house customer support available through both phone and email during regular business hours. They also have back-end support that is available during off times.
Dharma’s customer service has a robust online system for troubleshooting problems. The back-end feature has a thorough and detailed ticketing system for when you’re experiencing technical difficulties. Their website also features thorough documentation for common issues.
Dharma is only available for companies that handle a lot of business. They’re well worth looking into if you qualify, however.
Merchant services are becoming increasingly essential for flourishing, for small businesses and large corporations alike. If you’re ready to find out how they can help your business, easy merchant services are available for you.
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It’s an exciting time to be in business. Even small businesses, entrepreneurs, and startups have access to the same powerful tools as gigantic multi-national Fortune 500 companies.
Now that you know a bit about how to find the best merchant services for your particular business needs, browse the rest of our site for even more advice and inspiration on how to grow your business and take it to the next level.