Credit Card Processing: A Must Have for the Holidays

Posted by on November 30, 2011 in Credit Card Processing [ 0 Comments ]

Just when you think you’ve recovered from the Thanksgiving celebration, you turn around and find nothing but more holidays. Although the holidays are a joyous time for families and friends, they are a lot of work. This time of year usually means shopping for presents, shopping for food, returning those presents for different presents, and discovering you need to go buy more food (at least in my family). For those on the other side of the spending frenzy, the small businesses, this means a lot of credit card processing.

Whether you’re a small business getting ready to experience the holiday season for the first time or a company that knows the drill, credit card processing will be extremely important. With everything that companies have to worry about around the holiday season—holiday greeting cards, holiday promotions and sales, product shipments, etc.—credit card processing often gets put on the bottom of the priority list. If this describes your company, you have a big problem.

Credit Card Processing Options

Credit card processing is important to understand now more than ever because it is such a common type of payment. If your company does not accept credit cards, you will likely be missing out on a great number of sales. To get started, consider the two areas of credit card processing:

  • Retail Processing—This simply means processing a credit card in a retail store. If this is something that makes sense for your company, you will need to purchase a credit card processing terminal (or machine) with a merchant service provider (MSP). For more information and merchant comparisons, visit the Top Ten Reviews website.
  • Online Processing—This is a bit newer for small businesses, but has become extremely important. As the name suggests, this type of credit card processing allows for consumers to shop from home.

Both online and retail credit card processing requires a merchant account provider, a setting up of the system, and a focus on security. Against what many businesses think, this is all quite simple.

How to Get Started Utilizing Credit Card Processing

If you are interested in credit card processing, there a few steps you need to follow to make sure you stay legal:

1. Find a Merchant Bank

A Merchant Bank handles the payment of credit card transactions to the Merchant’s (you) bank account. This bank will pay the card association fees for all transactions processed with a discount rate averaging between .99% and 2.3% per transaction. The Top Ten Reviews Website is a great place to start comparing Merchant Banks. Note: A discount rate is simply a fee you pay to the bank to handle the deposit of credit card funds into their bank.

2. Set Up Your Processing Terminal

Once you have your merchant account set up, you will be sent a credit card processing terminal. This is where your customers will swipe their credit cards. This works similarly for online processing, except instead of sliding a credit card they will punch in a number online. Once you find the merchant bank that’s right for you, you will have the ability to set up the processing procedure online.

3. Pay Attention to Security

If you are setting up an online credit card processing system, you will want to make sure to ask for their three or four digit security code on the back of their card for security purposes. This code protects against fraud by making sure that the customer has the credit card with them at the time of purchase.

When it comes to credit card processing, most merchant banks have an excellent customer service department to help small businesses get started. The important thing to remember is to do your research. Not all Merchant Banks are the same, so it is important you find the one that will help your business boom. Finally, for those interested in the deeper workings of credit card processing, offers an in depth analysis of just how credit card processing works internally. In the end, whether you’re hoping to learn more or hoping to get started, you’re already on the right track this holiday season.

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