How is small business defined? While one could measure by store size, number of branches, or ownership structure (i.e. mom-and-pop or family-owned businesses vs. publicly traded entities), and while it’s generally considered to be more a matter of revenues, credit card companies actually categorize businesses according to the number of card transactions they process in a year. At one end, level 1 merchants have over 6 million annual transactions, while, at the other end, Level 4 business have under 20,000.
If you consider your business small, you may think you can get by without accepting credit card payments. If most of your ‘small town’ clients pay cash, then it’s easy to focus only on the expense and to overlook the benefits. But as more and more of your customers flash plastic, or as you consider taking your business online, credit card processing becomes almost mandatory. And it certainly doesn’t have to be expensive! The trick is to find the right merchant processor.
Depending on how your business works, you may need a card reader to physically swipe cards. This could a portable electronic keypad, a cash register with a swiper, or a mobile app for smartphones and tablets. The hardware just needs a way to connect the customer’s bank to their plastic card and pass on the cash to you.
Some payment processors can work with cards, checks, and cash, all in the same system. They’ll provide electronic card readers and mobile apps as part of their service, sometimes as free add-ons. If you do have an online store, your payment processor can configure your web store to receive payments in a secure, encrypted manner. To cut costs, these payment processors will charge you per transaction instead of billing you per month.
Check their site for details
There are certain merchant processors that pride themselves on affordability. They offer low-cost guarantees, meaning if you can find someone to underbid them, they’ll pay you a low-cost money-back bonus of up to $200. But when you’re signing up with these low-cost merchant processors, vet them for quality. They should be PCI compliant and use high levels of security.
For more information on low cost credit card processing for your small business in Illinois, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.