Whether you’re just starting your business, or looking to make a change, choosing a payment processor might seem like a challenge. There are lots of options, after all, and when they all claim to be the ideal solution for your business, it’s not always easy to know what to look for.
Because payment is often the last chance your business has to make a great impression with customers, it’s important to get this right. Here are some points that can help you make the right decision.
The importance of accepting non-cash payments
Even in industries that have typically relied on cash, it’s important to accept non-cash payments. In a world where many customers don’t routinely carry cash, not accepting card payments limits how much your business can grow.
Why else should your business accept card payments as well as cash? Card payments are the key to taking your business online. They’re the most trusted form of payment for eCommerce transactions. They’re favoured by younger consumers, who are more likely to want to use tap to pay and other contactless options. And even as we start to emerge from the pandemic, studies show that customers are likely to continue using lower-contact channels like curbside pickup for quite a while. Card payments make this a safer option – customers can either pay online when they place their order, or use tap to pay when they pick up their purchases.
There’s lots of upside to accepting card payments. Customers typically check out faster when paying by card, and your staff spends less time dealing with change, so transactions are more accurate and efficient. Accepting card payments also means you’ll likely keep less cash on hand, and there’s less chance you’ll lose out by accepting counterfeit bills.
What payment options does your business need?
When you’re looking for a payment processor, it’s worth spending some time to learn about the solutions available to your industry and what your typical customers are looking for. Here are a few examples:
- Travel and tourism businesses often need the ability to accept and convert foreign currencies, both in person and online, and being able to send booking information and confirmations seamlessly by email is another useful feature.
- In addition to cash, restaurants will want to accept card payments. Wireless terminals make it easy for customers to pay at the table, and also include options for check splitting and tips. Payments solutions that include gift cards and loyalty programs can help build a loyal customer base. And online ordering lets customers pay in advance for takeout orders, reducing the wait before they can get home to eat.
- Retailers with an eCommerce option can offer more flexible shopping options: in addition to expanding the scope of your business with delivery, this makes it easier for local customers to place orders for pickup.
- For businesses in a regulated industry, where customer age and location are strictly controlled, it’s important that your payment processor handles compliance for you.
Do your research
After you’ve figured out what your business needs, it’s time to think about cost. But always remember – you get what you pay for – and while the bargain option might save you money in the short term, you could end up paying a lot when a lack of options holds your business back.
Another critical issue is security. Businesses that get hacked and expose sensitive customer information are in the news a lot these days. The good news? The right payment processor has systems in place to protect your customers as well as your business. PCI DSS compliance means you’re not storing payment data, for example. Your payment processor can also protect you against fraud, by ensuring that customer data is accurate, and that any suspicious transactions are flagged for review.
The right payment processor can connect you to other integrations and services your business needs. Point-of-sale terminals, options for managing click-and-collect orders, eCommerce platforms, online shopping carts, even delivery options: when all of these integrate seamlessly with your payments, you can run your business more easily.
You’ll also want to look at customer support. Every business needs help with their payments sometimes, whether that’s getting set up at the start or solving a problem on a busy shopping day. Don’t lose out on sales (or worse, lose customers!) because your payments go down for an extended time.
Make the right choice
The right payment processor can transform your business. Right now you might have a single store, but as your business grows, you’ll probably want to build an online store, or expand into other locations. The right payment solution makes it easy to track and manage inventory in real time and across multiple locations. It can even give you insights into which products are selling well, how your staff are performing, and which promotions have been most successful. There’s a lot that goes into running a successful business! But with the right payment processor, you’ve got an easy gateway to managing your business more efficiently.