Compare Best Merchant Services

Do you want to streamline payment procedures for your business? Use merchant services to easily collect payments from clients.

If you are starting a business, one of your first priorities is establishing a client base. To do that, you must have successful sales. Therefore, having clients only helps you when you have a means to collect payments from them. If your clients pay for the goods or services you supply with cash, there is no problem. However, in this era of technology, many clients prefer to use credit cards, debit cards, or other means of payment. 

Particularly if you conduct business online, having a means to process such non-cash payments is essential. Cash payments are impossible online. If you have a brick-and-mortar store, the ability to process such payments is also extremely useful. It can mean the difference between high sales and lost customers. To process non-cash payments, your business must utilize a merchant service. The merchant service can help you obtain the money you earn from sales quickly and easily. To get started, you must select the service you wish to use, but there are many options. The following information can help you pick.

What is a Merchant Service?

A merchant service is a type of service designed to help business owners accept payments from customers. Sometimes “merchant service” refers to a company as a whole. That company provides a middle man service between clients and business owners. Payments are processed through the company. Then they are deposited into the accounts of business owners. There are also times when the term “merchant service” is used to refer to one specific aspect of or tool used for that process, such as:

  • Apps or Software for Payment Processing

  • Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems

  • Debit or Credit Card Reading Devices

  • eCommerce Platforms

  • Online Payment Gateways

What Types of Providers Offer Merchant Services?

Merchant services providers come in several forms. However, they are divided into two primary categories. The first type of merchant service is a merchant account provider. That is a company that supplies business owners with their own merchant accounts. Those accounts are used to directly collect payments from clients.

The second type of merchant service is a payment service provider. A payment service provider offers a means for business owners to collect payments without creating merchant accounts. Instead, the payment service provider acts as a middle man service and collects all payments from multiple businesses. Then it distributes earned funds to owners of specific businesses. Often, using such a service is beneficial for business owners because it is less time consuming.

What Are Some Top Payment Service Providers?

Payment service providers are quite common. They are also not solely popular among business owners. Individuals often use them for payment processing as well. One of the most well known is PayPal. It provides a secure, safe way for individuals and companies to accept funds transfers. To use PayPal, a user must link a private bank account to the service. The user may accumulate funds on PayPal and use them to pay for goods or services. Alternatively, the user may request a funds transfer to his or her bank account. 

Other payment service providers work in a similar fashion to PayPal. Most require a user to input identifying information, create a username and password, and link a bank account. Then funds are transferable, as desired.  Here are some of those other popular payment service providers: 

What Types of Businesses Utilize Merchant Services?

Merchant services of some kind are necessary for many different types of businesses. Any business owners who wish to process credit, debit, or gift cards typically need them. The sizes of the businesses also do not matter. Large and small businesses all need ways to receive and process payments efficiently. The only businesses that do not need merchant services are businesses dealing solely in cash or check transactions. Such businesses are few and far between in today's world. 

Despite the common need for merchant services, the types of merchant services needed do vary between businesses. Therefore, if you own a business, you must determine which type is best for you. For example, if you solely intend to use a cellphone or mobile device to process payments, a mobile merchant account is the best option. A retail merchant account is more appropriate, if you operate your business in a fixed physical location.

What Are Some Benefits of Merchant Services?

Merchant services have several benefits. The most important is they allow credit and debit card transaction processing. Businesses that can process such transactions typically make far more sales than other businesses. Accepting credit card transactions also builds trust with potential clients because it adds a level of legitimacy to a business. Accepting credit and debit cards is also almost essential to keep up with competing businesses, particularly online.

Another benefit of merchant services is a degree of transaction protection. A business that accepts cards does not necessarily need to accept checks. Checks often bounce, and business owners must frequently pay bounced check processing fees. Credit and debit card transactions are much easier to monitor and contest, if necessary.

What Types of Fees Must You Pay for Merchant Services?

If you are thinking of signing up for a merchant service, you must consider the fees you may need to pay. Some merchant services charge flat fees for membership. Others charge fees for each transaction processed. For example, Stripe charges 2.9% and an additional 30 cents per transaction. There are also several payment service providers and other merchant services that offer varied levels of membership for individuals, small business owners, and large business owners. Additionally certain merchant service providers charge fees per type of service utilized. For example, you may need to pay for a POS system or use of other payment processing tools. 

How Do You Choose Your Merchant Service Provider?

When you are ready to choose your merchant service provider, you must consider more than cost. Although it certainly plays a role, you must also consider the available features and services provided by each company. Reputation is also important. Look for a company that is well known among business owners. Also, make sure you select one with an excellent reputation for customer service. That way you can quickly get any problems that may arise with transactions resolved. By selecting a company that works closely with you and provides quick assistance, you can make sure your business successfully and quickly receives the payments to which it is entitled.