By Tom Van Delist
Accepting credit card payments from customers and clients is now a solid fact of business life. You do it because that is how most people prefer to pay and because it makes it easier for you to manage your business.
Not all merchant service programs are created equal. Some will fit your needs better than others and some will be less confusing than others. The more you know, the better off you’ll be.
So, here is What Every Small Business Should Know about Merchant Services:
1) Know your rates. In the industry, there are typically three parts to pricing. The base is the Interchange Rate, which is the rate set by Visa, MasterCard and other major card companies. And there are surcharges and tier pricing.
At Heartland, we charge the Interchange Rate plus our rate. Other companies have a surcharge on top of that. Surcharging is getting charged a second time for the same amount of volume. We will guarantee the rate we charge for as long as you are with us. Our pricing is based on volume and the rates don’t go up. Ask lots of questions to find out exactly what charges are involved.
2) Service is important. Don’t just consider price. If you own a restaurant and your service is down, you can afford not to get paid. Heartland has local service and a 24/7/365 phone line where a live person answers the phone in six seconds or less and takes care of your questions.
When one of my restaurant client’s terminal failed, I got the call and was able to deliver a loaner to him within an hour and we shipped a replacement overnight. Because I get paid a residual for each customer, I take care of them after the initial sale. We’re one of the few that operate that way.
3) Beware of hidden fees. Pay close attention to your statements after you sign up. Some companies will have hidden fees that you didn’t know about. Some providers will charge a Batch Fee every time you submit your transactions at night, an automatic “PCI” fee or a “non-validation compliance fee”.
I’ve even seen merchants charged an initiation fee just to join and another fee if their volume drops below a certain level. Heartland doesn’t have any hidden fees.
4) Get paid faster. Cash flow is critical. Not all merchant service companies pay on the same schedule. It’s typical that if you submit a transaction on Saturday or Sunday, you won’t get the money into your bank until Tuesday or Wednesday. If you run a charge on Monday, you get the money on Wednesday or Thursday.
Heartland offers next day funding. Weekend transactions arrive on Monday. And Monday transactions arrive on Tuesday. Why wait if you don’t need to.
Call to Action
For help in identifying your merchant service rates and uncover hidden fess, call Tom at (612) 325-7275 for a free analysis of your statement. Or just call to discuss what type of service will best serve your business needs.