Every year, trade publications publish dozens of "Best Of" lists. If you're looking for a credit card processing company, you might be studying a few of them yourself.
These lists can help you discover your options. But no matter who's #1, you'll still have to pick the vendor that's best for your needs.
Instead of looking how vendors are ranked, try examining the lists' criteria. Taken together, these "Best Of" lists seem to pose a central question. What do the best credit card processing companies for small business all have in common?
Read on to learn four core offerings that the best credit card processors all provide.
Best Credit Card Processing Feature #1: No Rental Equipment
Anyone in retail is familiar with bulky cash registers and credit card terminals. This specialized equipment was once standard in stores around the world.
What's more, businesses depended on this expensive equipment. If a system went down, a store might not be able to process credit card transactions at all.
But in 2019, expensive equipment is a thing of the past. Today, the best credit card processing companies for small business offer lightweight, flexible hardware options.
You'll have plenty of equipment options to choose from, including:
- Mobile card readers
- Point-of-sale (POS) system terminals
- Swipe and dip card readers
- Virtual terminals for e-commerce transactions
With a range of hardware options, you can choose what works for your employees and customers.
Above all, be on the lookout for payment processors that insist on rental equipment. With so many affordable options on the market, rental fees are a big red flag. More often than not, it's less expensive to own your equipment.
Best Credit Card Processing Feature #2: Outstanding Customer Support
Most small businesses devote their energy to providing excellent customer service. When you switch to a new credit card processor, you might need to lean on customer support yourself. The best credit card processing companies for small business offer great customer service.
Your payment processor should be available whenever you need help. That's why you should look for omnichannel support.
With omnichannel support, you can receive support in a way that's convenient for you. That might mean a phone call, but could also include SMS, email, live chat or another method. The key is to have options available for any situation.
Other customer support features may depend on your company or personal work style. For example, some small business owners might prefer working with one account manager. Others might want a library of video resources they can browse at their leisure.
The bottom line? Don't be afraid to ask deep questions about a payment processor's customer support. It might save you time and headaches down the road.
Best Credit Card Processing Feature #3: Contracts That Aren't One-Size-Fits-All
No two businesses are exactly alike. A mom-and-pop diner doesn't need the same capabilities that a New York City Apple Store might. That's why your payment processor shouldn't offer a one-size-fits-all product.
For example, did you know that some payment processors penalize businesses that don't hit a certain sales volume? Depending on your contract, fees might kick in if you don't hit a monthly sales minimum.
For some small businesses, this is no problem. A bustling café with dozens of daily regulars might sail past their minimum every month. But what about businesses that are seasonal, or ones that sell a handful of big-ticket items per year?
The best credit card processing companies for small business understand this range. They might offer different services that cater to enterprise, midsized and small businesses.
Other features, such as automatic contract renewals, might be negotiable if you ask.
The key takeaway is that the best payment processors are willing to work with you.
Best Credit Card Processing Feature #4: No Penalties for Leaving
Finally, what happens if things don't work out? The best credit card processing companies for small business won't punish your business.
There are a few way credit card processors can make it hard for you to leave. In some cases, contracts will make a business owner personally responsible for damages. This means that you would have to pay the estimated value of the contract, even if you end it early. Even worse, it applies in catastrophic situations, like if your business shuts down.
Instead, look for contracts that stipulate a flat fee. While no one goes into a business relationship expecting the worst, it's smart to plan ahead. With a flat fee in place, you can make an informed decision from the start.
How can you avoid these outcomes? Experts recommend studying your contract carefully before signing. Getting everything in writing, reading the fine print and doing your research can all help protect your business.
Want to learn more about how simple credit card processing can be? GoSite's free fact sheet pulls the information you need into one no-nonsense report. Download it today!