There are tons of factors related to merchant services. All these factors can leave merchants confused and nervous to take the plunge into applying. We wanted to clear up some questions you may have – such as, “What the heck should I even be asking my merchant account provider before committing?”
How long is the application process?
This one often goes overlooked. We believe it has to do with the fact that many providers such as Square/PayPal/Stripe can set you up within minutes. For actual merchant accounts that understand your business, the process can be a bit longer. We expedite the process to have approval within 2-3 business days. This can very from provider to provider, so it is important you ask this question for best planning.
What are your gateway integration capabilities?
The provider you are talking to may or may not have their own gateway tied into their services. It is important to understand how their gateway integrates with the merchant account AND your website. You will want to make sure the provider also has an integration specialist should you have any questions during integration.
What are your gateway features like?
If you can get a demo of the gateway and its features, you will feel a lot better in regards to how your experience will be. Be picky. Don’t settle. Make sure the provider offers features that will benefit you and your business. Does the gateway offer invoicing, QuickBooks integration, and thorough reporting? These are all things you’ll need to know.
What is customer service like?
You’ll get a feel for this one within the first 5 minutes of talking to your potential provider. Are they being helpful and thorough in their explanation of the application process? Make sure you understand how after-hours help works. Our busiest day of the year is Black Friday, as it tends to be the busiest day of the year for our merchants.
What is my discount rate?
One of the most important (but not only one to consider) fees is the discount rate. This is a percentage of sales that gets removed as your fee. Standard discount rates range from 1.5% and higher. The factors that contribute to this are level of risk, location of business (international vs. domestic), business model, etc. We encourage you to shop around and make sure you understand why you are getting the rate you are being quoted. Don’t be afraid to ask too many questions. We love our jobs and love explaining how it works.
What OTHER fees are involved?
This question goes hand in hand with number 5 and why it is so important. While your discount rate is important because it helps you understand the percentage of sales that are taken out, there are a handful of other fees that you should be aware about. Unfortunately, many providers tend to hide fees, leaving you high and dry when the bill comes in the mail. Make sure you understand all month-to-month fees, transaction fees, PCI, etc. We don’t want to overwhelm you. We want to prepare you for understanding your account.
Why should I even trust you?
Another important question. In today’s world, you have the ability to check out reviews on providers on the wonderful internet. Look into customer stories. Are there horror stories out there with certain providers? How about stories of how the provider helped launch a business every step of the way? Learn WHY your provider is credible. Again, be picky. We want you to avoid future headaches by making sure you understand your rights as a merchant and how your experience will be.
If you have ANY more questions, feel free to give us a shout. Client or not, we want the best experience for you and your business!