There are several different merchant credit card services available to businesses and organizations. Merchant card services are available through the credit card acceptance firm. This firm has a contract with the business to process all credit card payments through its network. The credit card processing company leases the point of sale terminals used at the cash register to the business, and charges a combination of a flat fee and a percentage of credit card payments each month.
Merchant credit card services vary, but all include access to the debit and credit card processing network. This service allows the business to accept both debit and credit cards as a form of payment. The added convenience factor is a draw for consumers, and may encourage people to spend more money in a store than they originally budgeted.
Gift cards are a growing trend, popular with a wide range of customers. Increasingly, retailers are offering their own gift cards, allowing customers to provide funds as a gift, but restricting the use to a specific store. Traditionally, a separate system was used to track gift card purchases, initial amount, and available balance. However, this function is now available as one of the different merchant credit card services designed to increase consumer spending.
Payment processed using merchant credit card services have additional data validation and fraud protection built into the process. Utilizing this network, retailers can reduce his or her risk of accepting payment from a stolen or fraudulent card. Credit card fraud is a multi-billion dollar industry, and the additional protection is well worth the added costs.
Although not transactional, the most valuable of all the different merchant credit card services is data analysis. These tools are often packaged with a wide range of standard reports, designed to help the business identify sales trends, connect with customers, and evaluate the success of different business initiatives. For example, an analysis of credit card transactions over a six-month period can highlight shopping peaks and valleys, successful promotions, and popular product offerings.
When selecting a credit card processing firm, look at all the merchant credit card services it offers. Think about the tools you currently have and what additional information would be helpful in organizing and managing your business. Comparison shop and don't be afraid to ask your supplier for additional reports or tools that are available from other suppliers.