Not too long ago, business owners wishing to accept card payments from customers could only do so if they applied for a merchant account and were approved by the payment processing company—the acquiring bank handling the transaction process.
While still common, new ways of obtaining this capability have also emerged—in the form of third-parties, such as San Francisco, Calif.-based mobile payment company Square, for example. These enable business owners to process consumer credit cards without actually having a merchant account.
Such options are intriguing, yes—but are they really the best options for merchants? Not always.
You’re likely to benefit more from utilizing a traditional merchant account than a third-party platform, for several reasons.
There are other advantages to working with a payment processor than simply being able to accept credit and debit cards.
For example, while some credit card readers are merely designed with minimal, but effective, features, others include additional capabilities that make running your business a lot less stressful. In one of our previous posts, we discuss the key features of a good point of sale (POS) system, which are applicable here.
In addition to processing and completing card transactions quickly, it should also be able to:
- Accept other payment methods, such as EBT and EMV cards, electronic check, and mobile payments
- Manage inventory
- Provide customizable options—from employee scheduling to analytic reporting
- Offer live support
- Lower your overall effective rate of card acceptance
- Get you funds in your account the next day
You wouldn’t have the opportunity to utilize these helpful resources, however, without a merchant account with a leading payment processor.
Furthermore, a payment processor can help resolve any chargeback-related issues as well. In fact, they will do most of the work.
While there are ways to help prevent chargebacks, every merchant will likely deal with these types of claims at some point, largely due to ever-rising rates of chargeback fraud and friendly fraud. The payment processor of a traditional merchant account will investigate to determine whether the charges are legitimate. Such access to this level of support wouldn't exist without a merchant account.
While there are more advantages to getting a merchant account than there are disadvantages, every business has unique needs. This is why it is so important to carefully weigh your options to determine whether it's the right decision for you.
More likely than not, you’ll conclude it is. However, keep in mind that every payment processor is different. In order to choose wisely, you should first know what to look for in a processor, and contact multiple companies, before making a decision.
MerchantPro Express helps businesses, regardless of size or industry, accept card payments. Contact us today to find out more about our services and how we can help you operate more efficiently!