I’d Like to Accept Credit Card Payments – what Do I Need?

For many businesses, the choice to accept credit cards can seem like a hurdle. Some small business owners worry about the perceived expense, hassle, or drama involved. In reality, accepting credit cards is often a simple process that takes just a few minutes, and, with the right merchant account provider, approval could take less than a day.

First, you need to open a merchant account with a payment processor. Your merchant account provider may also offer you certain accessories. These can include portable card readers, website shopping carts, programing for different credit cards networks, and processing for selected payment options like credit cards, ACH payments (bank-to-bank), or eChecks. Some even process cash payments and help with chargeback challenges.

Banks, cards, and gateways

When your payment processor receives cash from your client’s credit card, the record reflects immediately, and it normally takes only 1 to 3 days for the cash to hit your bank account. Your bank, your credit card company, and your digital payment network are all linked via an encrypted conduit called a payment gateway. Your task is to choose the right payment partner.

Due diligence for payment processors

Try to find a company with no application fee, and one that confirms your application within one business day, allowing you to make your next move. Look for testimonials to make sure they are a good fit for companies similar to yours. Ask about industry service awards. Some payment processors accept high risk businesses and businesses with bad credit, so keep an eye out for that if it applies to your business. You can also ask about their encryption levels. The more stringent the better, or course. And carefully look at their fees to make sure you’re getting the best rates.

For more information on what you need to accept credit card payments, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.

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