More and more businesses are choosing to secure access to merchant accounts in order to be able to capture more revenue by accepting both credit card and debit card payments. Indeed, the trend is so pervasive that it has become almost rare to see stores getting by accepting nothing other than cash. After all, there is no denying that accepting credit card payments tends to bring businesses a great number of benefits.
However, making the wrong decision while setting up the ability to accept credit cards online and offline can hurt or even cripple businesses, while making the right choice will help propel your business to new heights.
There’s the jargon to contend with, the different charges, the variety of options – it can often be quite bewildering which is why we created AcceptCreditCards.co.uk to help guide you through the entire process and get you up and running accepting credit and debit card payments in your business whether that’s by phone, online or in-store with your very own credit card terminal.
5 reasons it’s critical that your business accepts card payments
- Attract more customers as most people prefer the convenience and security of making payment by card.
- Encourage higher customer spend by allowing payment with a credit card this means more revenue and potentially greater profits for you.
- Enhance your business’ reputation – being able to accept credit cards online and offline legitimizes the business in the perception of its potential customers because the business is able to tap into the built-up brand prestige of Mastercard, Visa, and other credit card corporations.
- Less cash transactions = less mistakes and less time consuming work for your staff.
- Improve your cashflow – if your customers usually pay via cheque then being able to accept credit card payments can often mean you get the funds in your account much faster.
How does the process work?
Accepting credit and debit card payments is actually very simple, whether you have just started a shop or you’ve been processing card payments for years and now just need help to find a better deal, this guide can help you.
Fundamentally you need 2 things in order to start taking card payments…a merchant account and then some kind of physical or virtual terminal to facilitate payments. It can be time-consuming to do all this but if you select a credit card processor, very often they can take care of multiple steps or the whole shebang for you.
- Select your credit card processor (sometimes known as a merchant account provider).
- Discuss your requirements including nature of business, volumes of transactions and any other requirements such as equipment needed.
- Your application is processed and your account is setup.
- Your ready to start accepting card payments from your customers and grow your business.
Looking to accept card payments on your website?
If you run an eCommerce business then setting your site up to accept credit and debit card payments is easier than ever. Most credit card processors will have 2 options for your business:
- Integrated – Customers never leave your website; an Integrated PayPage gives you total control over your payment page.
- Simple – A key advantage of this is that card details are not entered or stored on your website, minimising PCI Compliance requirements.
Selecting a credit card processor that is compatible with your current shopping cart is essential. Most have this angle covered with support for WordPress, Opencart, Virtuemart, Magento and many more besides. If your developer is working on a bespoke application then you may also require a payment gateway solution – in this instance, you can take advantage of the your credit card processor of choice’s gateway API (provided they have one).
Want to accept cards over the phone?
Similar to accepting face-to-face card payments, any card transactions processed whilst the customer is on the other end of the phone will require a credit card terminal. For over the phone transactions, this will involve either a physical or a virtual terminal.
Making the choice will depend very much upon the type of business that you run. If for instance you operate a mail-order business and you have a team of operatives taking calls and accepting customer payments then a virtual terminal is likely to be the right choice for you as you can login to your secure account from any web-enabled device meaning multiple employees can be processing transactions simultaneously.
Equally if your business is mainly face-to-face but with some over the phone transactions then it is likely to be a worthwhile investment getting a physical credit card terminal.
Want to accept cards in person?
Processing credit card payments face-to-face i.e. the customer is physically in your vicinity is perhaps the easiest of all to get to grips with primarily because there is that tangible product of a credit card terminal. There are a couple of choices when it comes to the right machine but here’s our quick guide to choosing.
What kind of credit card machine should you get?
Most credit card processors offer three different types of credit card machine (also known as a credit card terminal) including:
- Counter-top – are you a fixed retail business in need of a robust way to process customer card payments fast? This is likely to be the right choice for you.
- Portable – are you a restaurant perhaps or need to accept payments anywhere on your premises? A portable terminal or number of terminals may be right for your business.
- Mobile – are you a business on the move or one that frequently does trade shows and events? Then this could be a good choice for you.
Can’t I just use PayPal?
One of the most common questions we get asked is, “What’s the need for a credit card processing solution when PayPal is quick and easy?”. Granted PayPal is a strong choice if you are just setting up because it is quick and easy to do however once you start processing larger volumes of credit card sales, there are potentially thousands of pounds to be saved by switching to a merchant account provider with a more attractive set of charges.
It is also important to remember that PayPal is just for online card payments so if you want to be accepting customer card payments over the phone or in-store then you really need a proper merchant account provider.
How much does it cost to accept card payments?
The charges you pay will depend on a number of factors but you will be pleased to know that most charge no initial fees for setting up an account. How much you pay for processing transactions will vary according to the nature of your business, the volume of transactions you process and the value of those transactions.
Is there going to be loads of paperwork?
No, not at all. As you might expect there is some paperwork but the good news is that in many cases there will be representative there to help you complete all of the documentation required and then submit on the same day for processing.