Those who are still learning the ropes of running a small or home-based business may be unsure about how to accept credit cards for their goods and services. Perhaps you have sold handmade items by mail order up to this point, receiving a check in the mail as payment. Or you might run a small shop where customers come in to shop and pay by check or cash. If you are wondering how to accept credit cards, here are a few basic guidelines.
1. Apply for a merchant account to find out how to accept credit cards at your business. You can get one through many banks and other financial institutions in your area. Visit websites such of as many credit card merchants as possible. Also visit websites of several banks to see if they offer merchant accounts. Click on the link to find out what the requirements are and whether you are eligible. If you don’t see specific information for this type of account, email the contact person and ask for information about how to obtain a merchant account so you may start accepting credit card payments.
2. Demonstrate your fiscal responsibility. Submit copies of documents that prove you are a good credit risk and ready to manage the next step of upgrading your business by learning how to accept credit cards. You may want to get a copy of your company’s credit history, the last three or four company bank statements, and the usual business documents that show your company to be in good standing. Keep in mind that many underwriters do not want to work with companies that are involved with pornography, drug sales, spam, or other types of questionable enterprises.
3. Companies involved with charge backs may experience a fee adjustment. Give some thought to the types of expenses you will incur when you learn how to accept credit cards. For example, there may be set-up fees, monthly statement fees, gateway fees, and others. You also may want to ask about wireless credit card processing if you have employees that work at various destinations or whose jobs are somewhat mobile as they collect payments.
4. In learning how to accept credit cards, realize that you may be bombarded with offers from companies who want your business. They may offer terrific-sounding deals that will collapse when it comes time to sign the contract. Or you may agree on terms and then realize that the terms later change to your disadvantage. Make sure you understand the contract’s fine print before signing. Avoid purchasing unnecessary features that will add to your cost but not necessarily to your profit.
5. When you learn how to accept credit cards, you will want to be sure that your company’s Website stays up to date and remains functional so that customers can use it at any time. You may have to hire a service technician to oversee Website content and to address any glitches from the company side or the client’s side when problems are reported.
Moving your business into the e-commerce era is challenging and exciting. Take time to become familiar with the various ways in which customers can make electronic payments so that both you and they can avoid errors and experience the convenience of learning how to accept credit cards.