The following is a guest post by Tiffany Rowe. Tiffany is a Marketing Administrator at Seek Visibility, where she assists clients in contributing resourceful content throughout the web.
If you’re like lots of entrepreneurs around the globe these days, when you think about launching a startup, you like the idea of developing a business that can take advantage of the vast growth in online sales, and that you can run from home without having to worry about the expensive costs of renting warehouse or office space.
If this is the case, as you set up your new venture it’s important that you do everything you can to make payment transactions easy for your customers so that you maximize sales and profits. One of the ways to do this is through providing multiple payment options that are secure and efficient, not to mention economical for your business finances.
When it comes time to decide on a payment gateway though, it can be tough working out which merchant solutions firm will be best for your needs. If you’re keen to find the right fit today, read on for some top tips you can follow as you weigh your options.
For any startup, cost is obviously going to be one of the biggest factors to look at when choosing a payment gateway. However, keep in mind that when you compare providers, it is important to realize that different companies structure their fees in different ways, so you need to be sure that you’re really comparing “apples with apples” to find the best value.
When checking out pricing, you’ll notice that some merchant services firms charge a flat fee for each transaction, regardless of the amount of payments in a given time period, while others have a variable fee structure. If they do things this way, then they might charge you based on the number of transactions processed in a period, or they might have a monthly payment plan that varies according to the overall values of the transactions put through.
When it comes to charges, you will also find that some companies have a starting fee for new clients, while others don’t incur this cost but will expect you to commit to a 12-month or two-year contract. As well, some firms will charge a cancellation fee, while others will have a month-by-month plan on offer with no minimum periods involved.
Be Clear About Your Goals
Before you go ahead and sign up to a particular payment gateway, it is a good idea to take some time to think about your specific goals for the service. Although there are dozens of different merchant services firms in the market to choose from, they don’t all provide the same services (and not all customers need the same things either). As such, you should make a list of exactly what you require from a provider and then compare all options against this.
Some startups may, for instance, only need the bare minimum of features for their service, while others will require extra services, like the incorporation of a loyalty program or an inventory management system, or the ability for customers to finalize their transactions on smartphones.
Check on the Security Provided
Another element of finding the right payment gateway for your startup is in searching for a firm that’s focused on security. These days, unfortunately, there are more and more hackers who manage to come up with increasingly sophisticated ways to break into websites and gain access to important information. As a result, digital security is more important than ever.
As you compare merchant services companies then, examine the information they have available about their security protocols. If it is not easy to find, don’t be afraid to get in touch with them for all the details. The most secure payment gateways are usually those which have data encryption in place and maximum billing address security, employ comprehensive encryption algorithms and CVV2 verification, and provide support for the most extensive SSL certificates.
Ask About Customer Support
Lastly, keep in mind that it is a good idea to choose a payment processing provider that includes lots of customer support as part of their service. After all, while you of course hope that everything is “smooth sailing” at all times for your customers as they finalize transactions, and for your business on the admin side of things, issues can crop up from time to time. If this happens, you don’t want to miss out on transactions because of technical difficulties.
When comparing merchant services firms, make sure whoever you choose will be easy to get in touch with if you need help. It is best to select a company that provides 24/7 customer support. Look for a variety of communication methods to be available too, such as phone calls, live-chat conversations, emails, and social media assistance. This way, you will be able to choose the platform that suits you best at the time.