Key Factors To Consider When Choosing A Credit Card Processor For Your Small Business

A person is transferring a credit card to another person.

So you're a small business owner, and you're ready to start accepting credit cards.

Awesome! But choosing a credit card processor can be overwhelming with so many options. How do you decide which one is right for your business? There are a few key factors you'll want to consider before signing that contract. Do they offer the types of cards your customers use? What about pricing – are the rates and fees reasonable and transparent? And remember customer service – you'll want a processor that provides support when you need it.

Fees: Understanding the True Cost of Credit Card Processing

The fees are the most significant factor when choosing the best credit card processor. The prices include interchange fees, assessment fees, statement fees, and more. While credit card companies set interchange fees, processors can charge various other expenses, so you need to understand the total cost.

Could you ask about tiered pricing versus interchange-plus pricing? With tiered pricing, your transactions are grouped into tiers with fixed rates for each level. Interchange-plus pricing passes through the interchange fees plus a fixed markup charged by the processor. Interchange-plus is usually more transparent and affordable for most small businesses.

Inquire about monthly minimum fees, annual fees, monthly service fees, and cancelation fees. Some processors waive specific fees or reduce rates for nonprofits or high-volume clients. See if you qualify for any discounts or incentive programs.

Check if the processor charges for additional services like online reporting, payment gateways, virtual terminals, or chargeback fees. Some bundle these services at no extra cost. What about early termination fees if you want to switch providers?

Once you understand the fees, compare a few processors to find one with competitive and transparent pricing for your business needs and sales volume. The exemplary processor for your small business can save you money that goes straight to your bottom line. With some research, you'll be well on your way to finding an affordable solution to accept credit card payments from your customers.

Features: Comparing Options Across Top Credit Card Processors

When choosing a credit card processor, you'll want to compare the features and options to find what works best for your business.

Transaction fees are a top consideration. Could you consider the percentage charged per swipe and your average sale amount? Flat-rate or tiered plans may benefit higher-volume businesses. Interchange-plus pricing passes through wholesale fees with a fixed markup, which can be very affordable.

You'll also want to look over the types of cards that were accepted. Most processors take Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express, but some only take a few. Could you make sure the processor takes the cards your customers use?

Hardware and software are other factors. Some provide free card readers and payment gateways to process transactions, while others charge extra. Please take a look at what integrates with your existing point-of-sale system.

Security and PCI compliance are must-haves. Look for processors with advanced fraud protection and data encryption and those that handle PCI audits.

Customer service and support are essential. Could you check online reviews to determine response times and overall satisfaction? 24/7 phone support and a dedicated account representative are ideal.

Comparing multiple credit card processors on fees, cards accepted, hardware, security, and service will help you find an option with the right mix of features for your business at a cost you can afford. With some research, you'll be well on streamlining your payment processing.

Customer Service and Support: Why It Matters When Choosing a Processor

Customer service and support should be top priorities when choosing a credit card processor. As a small business owner, you need a processor to be there with questions or issues.

Look for a processor that offers multiple ways to get help, like phone support, email, and live chat. That way, you can get answers to questions on your schedule. Ask about their hours of operation and average response times. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a technical issue on a Saturday night and have a chance to get help on Monday.

See what kind of onboarding and training the processor offers. Do they have resources to help you set up and accept payments quickly? Ongoing education on industry changes and best practices is also valuable. The payments industry is constantly evolving, and you'll want a processor that keeps you up-to-date.

Pay attention to reviews from the processor's other customers. Look for insights into their experience with customer support and service. See what they liked and didn't like. Their expertise could be very telling. If most reviews are negative, that's a red flag that the processor may need to place more value on customer service.

Choose a credit card processor that will genuinely support you and your business in the long run. Having a processor you can count on will give you peace of mind so you can focus on what matters – growing your business.


So now you know the most important things to consider when choosing the best credit card payment processor for your small business. Don't rush into a contract with the first sales rep that calls you, or go with the cheapest option to save a few bucks. Take your time to evaluate multiple providers based on rates, fees, reliability, security, and customer service. The processor you choose can make or break your business, so choose wisely. Once you find the right partner, you'll be able to accept payments confidently, spend less time dealing with technical or billing issues, and focus on what really matters – growing your business.

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