New businesses generally operate on a shoestring. They don’t always have much capital to play with, and statistics suggest it may take time before they break even. Does this mean your new business can forego other business ‘essentials’ like PCI compliance for your virtual storefront?
First, it helps to understand this structure. Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards are accepted guidelines. They’re not mandatory, but they’re recommended. Also, certain card networks like Visa will not accept payments without PCI compliance. By ignoring PCI suggestions, you could be locking out your entire Visa-card-carrying customer base, and also subjecting yourself to extra fees.
Let your processor do the leg work
Second, while following these standards may seem like a hassle for you, they’re crucial to your customers. Compliance minimizes your customers’ chances of experiencing identity theft or credit card fraud. This makes them feel safe buying from your business, which means they’re more likely to make future purchases and recommend you to a friend.
Your payment processor can help ensure the continued compliance of your business. And using a good payment processor allows you to bask in their shadow, literally cashing in on their good name. As a new business, you may not have established a reputation of your own. If customers are uneasy buying from an unfamiliar entity, they will feel safer going through a payment processor they recognize.
Reputation management made easier
At the same time, when their payments are processed immediately and without any hassle, the customers will praise your efficiency rather than crediting your merchant processing company. So using a verified, PCI-compliant payment processor makes you look good too.
Another key benefit is access to financial services. New businesses haven’t built up a credit line yet, and their founders may have low scores or bankruptcies in their past. This is often the case with serial entrepreneurs. After all, they have to break a lot of eggs before they master the art of the omelet. The right merchant processor has experience and a solid trading background, so they can take more risks, like accepting business from ‘high risk’ industries or those with shaky credit histories.
When it comes to choosing your merchant account provider, PCI compliance is a good start, but you can also check who their other clients are, whether they’ve received any industry awards, and what their payment terms are. It’s all part of the vetting process.
For more information on PCI DSS compliance for start-ups, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.