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How do I Choose the Best Retail Merchant Account?

Article Details
  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 10 June 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Choosing the right retail merchant account is important to the success of your business. With the right account, you don’t have to worry about slow processing of transactions, or having to turn away customers because they don’t have the right type of credit or debit card. There are several features of any merchant account that must be considered closely if you want to get the most from your retail merchant account, including cost, ease of use, and speed of transactions.

A good place to begin is to look closely at the start-up costs with establishing the retail merchant account. Ideally, the service chosen will offer a low fee to set up the software and train your staff on how to use process card transactions. Depending on the anticipated business volume, some merchant account providers will waive the set-up fees, although they may charge some other type of fee if the business volume does not reach those estimates after the first year.

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Another key aspect to consider are the transaction fees associated with the merchant account. Some offer fee schedules that include a flat monthly rate for a certain number of transactions, then a per transaction fee that applies once that monthly limit is exceeded. Others offer a simple per transaction fee without any flat fees. Depending on the amount of transactions conducted monthly, one approach may be more cost-effective than the other. Take this into consideration before settling on any one retail merchant account provider.

The ability to process transactions using all the major credit cards is often important to choosing the best retail merchant account. Keep in mind that some plans allow for different fees to be charged for different cards. Others will charge the same transaction fee regardless of the type of card used by the customer. Know your clientele well and make sure your plan allows for use of the credit cards that most of your customers are likely to hold.

With merchant account software, keep in mind that the options range from the user-friendly to the extremely complicated. Many providers will offer the chance to see the software in action before you make a commitment. Always make sure the software fits well with your level of expertise. This will prevent a long learning curve that not only frustrates you but also causes customers to wait longer while you attempt to process the transaction.

One major concern with choosing the best retail merchant account is how long it takes for the payments to make it to your company’s bank account. Some account plans promise next day deposits, while others may take as long as forty-eight hours. Keep in mind that accounts with longer deposit times also often offer lower transaction fees. If you can afford to wait a little longer for the money, the savings may be significant over the course of a year.

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