Goodbye Pennies, Hello Plastic: The Basics of Accepting Credit Cards

Goodbye Pennies, Hello Plastic The Basics of Accepting Credit CardsFor the first time since in history, credit cards and debit cards are now more prevalent forms of payment than paper money.

Any growing business — or, any business that wants to grow — must offer its customers the choice to pay with plastic.

According to the merchant services mavens at North American Bancard, while setting up payment systems may seem daunting, it’s actually quite painless.

The first step in accepting “plastic payment” is acquiring a merchant services account. The accounts are brokered by companies that essentially serve as a conduit between merchants and banks. While at first glance the idea of an entity in the middle of the payment process may seem like a waste of resources, the expertise of merchant service providers is nothing short of essential.

Merchant service providers offer businesses the tools they need to accept all forms of payment. These tools might come in the form of a card swipe terminal or an internet payment gateway, for instance. Providers charge a certain percentage of each transaction for their services, and each type of transaction has its own rate. This is because certain types of payment processing are inherently more risky than others.

What’s the difference between a credit card purchase in a physical store compared to a credit card purchase online? In the former situation, an employee swipes the actual credit card through a card reader in the presence of the cardholder. A clerk can also check the cardholder’s identification and request a signature to verify identity.

In the latter situation, the actual card is never seen by any employees, nor is the cardholder. This means that the risk of credit card fraud is much greater in the case of transactions completed over the Internet. Accordingly, the rate for internet purchase processing is usually higher than that for physical point-of-purchase transactions.

In addition to the basic service of processing credit and debit cards, most merchant service providers also offer a world of other extremely effective programs that can work to make your business as efficient and profitable as possible. Providers can set up your business with a custom tailored loyalty program. These programs offer special rewards to frequent shoppers and clients, thereby rewarding patronage.

Additionally, a merchant services provider can set up a gift card program featuring customized cards that can be swiped just as easily as a credit or debit card. Some providers also offer clients the ability to process checks instantly, which can win over the choosiest customers.

Goodbye pennies, hello plastic. For businesses today, finding a merchant services provider that offers state-of-the-art services can mean the difference between success and failure.

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