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Your biz: Credit card processing 101

By JessicaSanders · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Posted: 5 pm ET

Customer care and marketing are important factors in your business, but credit card processing plays a larger role in the success of your venture than you think.

The credit card processing industry is evolving each day. Technological advances have changed the way businesses take payments. So, whether you choose to go the traditional route or try something new, it’s just important that you get your businesses started on the right foot with the process that is right for you and your customers.

The traditional route

The traditional credit card processing route begins with finding the right merchant service provider and a well-equipped point-of-sale, or POS, system. This is where you will make in-store transactions and collect retail data. To get started with traditional processing, you want to consider a number of factors:

  • Software: Most merchant service providers will give you a free card reader, but you will need to purchase the right software. Not only should this service your customers successfully, but you want it to collect purchasing data so you can make changes and evolve with your customers' purchasing habits.
  • Credit vs. debit: Many merchant providers will charge more for credit versus debit -- debit ensures the funds are there right away, whereas credit can be used without the necessary funds. Consider the fee and how you will address it; some small businesses give customers incentive to use debit instead.

Online processing

The traditional route is still viable, but many businesses have taken their credit card processing online.

  • Security: With 276 data breaches this year alone, according to CNet.com, your customers are concerned with securing their important information. Be sure that you have precautions in place so your customers know they are safe shopping with you.
  • Inventory tracking: When your customer makes a purchase, you are notified and the product is sent out. You’ll need to have inventory tracking software installed to ensure that all your products are accounted for in this process.

Going mobile

With the right equipment, you can take orders wherever your customers are.

  • The right equipment: Many mobile processing products have come onto the market, such as Square. Simply attach the equipment to your phone, download the software and you’re ready to take orders.
  • Security: Customers may be concerned with running their credit card on your phone, but for those willing to transact from anywhere, you don't have to miss out on a sale.
  • Management: Keep one phone for your credit card processing and another for everyday use.

Though it seems like a dry subject, credit card processing is integral to your business. Whether you’re on the go or in a retail storefront, there are options for any and every business.

Jessica Sanders is a small-business writer for ResourceNation.com. She covers topics that range from social media to phone systems and point of sale systems. Find @ResourceNation on Twitter.

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1 Comment
Jessica Sanders
September 30, 2012 at 11:57 am

It depends on what you're trying to do - are you trying to build an ecommerce site or just start a basic retail business? Either way, we are so lucky to have the internet where you can get any information that you need at any time! Thanks for checking it out!