Then again, the Roman poet Virgil once famously said, 'Fortune favors the bold.' Surely, there are smart and savvy people out there who will be able to turn these tough times into a financial opportunity.
The most important thing that any business can do to survive is to try to stay one step ahead of the competition. Of course, sometimes this is easier said than done. More often than not, it is hard enough just to keep up, especially for a new small business.
But that doesn't mean it is impossible. And luckily for you, there are people out there who are willing and ready to help. When you sign up for a merchant services account, you will have a whole team of people ready to lend a helping hand.
Not only will a merchant account help you to process credit and debit cards, but you will also be able to process checks faster, handle online transactions, and create gift card programs. The possibilities are endless and there will always be someone on hand at the customer service department to help you out. Here are just a few of the many ways that a merchant account can help to get your small business up and running.
Credit and Debit Card Processing
The ability to process plastic isn't just a convenience anymore. It is a necessity. If your business can't accept someone's credit card, then they will find another place that can. Sure, you can send them down the block to go to an ATM the first time they visit your store, but odds are that will also be the last time.
The first thing that any retail establishment is going to want is a retail swipe terminal. These machines offer the lowest processing fees in the business, since studies show that credit card fraud is lowest when people interact face-to-face. The savings get passed along to you.
When you swipe someone's credit card, the funds go through a series of complex transactions before the money is deposited into your business bank account. Don't worry though; your merchant account provider will handle all of this for you.
If your customer would like to pay with a debit card instead, you will also be able to handle that when you sign up for a merchant account. For you, the transaction will work pretty much the same. The only real difference is that the money will be taken directly from the customer's checking account. The funds will be transferred to you exactly like if it were paid by a credit card.
You might be asking yourself why you can't just process checks on your own. And you can. The only problem is that it may take a few days for things to go through and there is always the fear that the check will bounce.
With a merchant account, those fears are eliminated. Your provider will guarantee every check you accept, so that even if the customer has insufficient funds, you will still get your money. You will also be able to collect the money faster than if you had just deposited it into the bank.
A further advantage is that all checks will be turned into electronic files. This will make keeping your records a whole lot easier. A spreadsheet on your computer is a lot simpler to keep track of than a stack of papers in the back room.
Any new business can generate income by moving into the online world. With a merchant services account, this is easier than ever.
Once you have your website set up, your merchant account provider can help you to process credit card payments online. They will set up a secure server through which your customers can enter their credit card information without fear of identity theft. Just like with a retail swipe terminal, the funds will be transferred to your account. All you have to do in this case is ship out the product.
Offering gift cards is a great way to get any new business up and running. It makes perfect sense that when someone has a good experience at your establishment you should give them the opportunity to share that with their friends and family.
Gift cards are nice for a variety of reasons. The most logical is that it is essentially a cash advance to your business. Also, it is a rare occasion that someone spends exactly the amount that is on the gift card. Either they will spend even more money or they will spend less than the amount on the card. In the latter case this adds up to free money for you!
A merchant services account offers even more ways than this to help to grow your business. Don't get left behind. Help your business get off to a running start by signing up for your merchant services account right away.