Want to start accepting credit cards at your small business? Learn about the different credit card processing options available.
In this day and age, if your business isn’t capable of accepting credit cards, you’re certainly going to be missing out on sales. Customers want convenience and credit cards are the ultimate form of that when it comes to spending.
If you can give the customer an option besides a cash payment, allowing them to swipe a credit card for a purchase is certainly the way to go and it can be easier than you think to integrate into your business. We’ll outlines the main options, potential costs and other relevant factors to help you find the right credit card processing system for your small business.
Different types of credit card readers
This is probably the most familiar option. Credit card readers are secure and simple to use, allowing customers to swipe, insert or tap their cards against a reader for payments. They accept most cards and there are several options to cater for different types of businesses:
- Countertop machines. These machines are attached to your Point of Sale (POS) computer system and allow you to process card payments from a fixed location in your store.
- Mobile readers. These allow you to process payments wherever you go, which gives you a lot of flexibility. They are ideal for cafes and restaurants because you can process card payments where your customers are seated. They can also be convenient for delivery services or outdoor markets.
- Integrated machines. This option is integrated with your POS system to help simplify sales reporting and the balancing of accounts. They are best suited for businesses with higher transaction volumes, such as supermarkets.
What are the costs of getting a credit card reader for my small business?
Depending on the vendor, you could be potentially charged the following fees:
- Set-up fee.
- Rental fee.
- Servicing fee.
- Printer cost (most machines have internal printers).
- Interchange fee.
Fees and prices can always vary significantly between companies. For example, one vendor may charge a fixed monthly contract with no set-up fees, while another may charge a set-up fee plus monthly usage-based charges. It is important to factor these costs when making the decision to get a credit card reader for your business.
Smartphone and tablet credit card payment processing options
It’s becoming more simple to take a payment from mobile devices thanks to card readers that can plug directly into any phone or tablet and mobile apps that allow payments between users. Some popular smartphone and tablet payment processing choices include:
These products are compatible with iOS and Android devices and are convenient options that can suit sole traders and smaller businesses on the go, such as vendors at a market, food trucks, plumbers and electricians.
What are the costs for smart device credit card processing services?
Potential costs include the following:
- Card reader cost.
- Swiped transaction fee (usually a percentage of the transaction, e.g., 2.75%).
- Keyed transaction fee (usually a percentage of the transaction, e.g., 3.5% and 15 cents for manual input of card).
Generally, you pay the fee for the card reader and then the processing service charges per transaction, however, some providers offer the card-reading device for free when you sign up for a monthly plan.
When considering this option for your business, it’s important to decide if a smart device payment system can meet all of your needs.
Online credit card processing for small businesses
Everything is online and available for purchase with just a few clicks. Online credit card processing works safely and efficiently via a secured Internet connection and allows shoppers to browse and buy from virtually wherever they are. It is ideal for any business operating on the Internet.
What are the costs of setting up online credit card processing for a small business?
A big advantage of online payment processing is that you can do away with set-up fees, monthly and annual fees, and contracts. Each online transaction usually attracts a fixed-percentage of the transaction amount.
- Some providers charge an extra fixed fee on top of the percentage fee, for example 2.6% plus $0.25.
- Some companies may charge a higher rate for processing international payments that need to be converted into another currency. For example, PayPal charges 2.9% plus 30 cents per transaction.
Depending on the type of business as well as the number of transactions, you may find that online credit processing is an affordable and flexible choice.
What to consider when selecting a credit card processing option
Start by considering the needs of your business and do the math to weigh up the extra costs to decide if it’s worth the investment. Also, make sure with the processing company that you’ll be able to accept major credit cards.
The type of business
- Businesses involving face-to-face customer service or high volumes may find conventional credit card readers are still best suited to their environment.
- Mobile or seasonal businesses may prefer smartphone and tablet processing to give them the mobility and freedom they need.
- Online businesses are most likely to appreciate the convenience of online credit card processing.
- Find out whether the processing service will integrate with your current software.
- Look for devices that offer the most comprehensive solutions, such as accounting or sales reporting features.
Revenue and surcharges
- Revenue should offset the cost of setting up a card payment service and any ongoing processing fees.
- Consider whether you can realistically expect an increase in sales by offering credit cards as a form of payment.
- Have clear signage to inform customers of any surcharges if they pay with a card.