The importance of a merchant account.

The importance of a merchant account.

With each passing year, the business landscape is changing in major ways. In the process, cash and checks are becoming increasingly rare forms of payment. Instead, most retailers, regardless of their size or the types of products or services they offer, are doing most of their business via credit and debit card payments, whether online or in person. Merchant accounts exist in order to facilitate these types of transactions. The right merchant account will also provide several crucial benefits that can help your business to grow.

Allow customers to pay their preferred ways.

Businesses that sign up with a payment provider for a merchant account are able to offer customers all sorts of payment types, including the ones they prefer most. Over recent decades, credit cards have gained a prominent place in the hearts of consumers. In fact, a nationwide Experian study of more than 1,000 consumers showed that the average participant had three credit cards, including store-specific ones, rewards cards, secure cards, balance transfer, airline, corporate cards, and student cards. 

Consumers’ primary reasons for having credit cards included using them as a cushion during emergencies, to avoid the inconvenience of carrying cash, to earn rewards, to build credit, to streamline their personal accounting, and to protect against fraud. Furthermore, many hardware and software point of sale options furnished by account companies now also allow for NFC contactless payments. Considering that digital wallets are gaining more popularity, providing this option for customers can also help to attract new patrons and keep your existing buyers happy.

Increase your sales.

Satisfied customers tend to come back, and merchants win as a result. Because most people are no longer carrying significant amounts of cash, expect major purchases to take place with credit cards. This is particularly the case when customers can earn cash back or other types of rewards points. Sure enough, research backs up the hypothesis that simply taking the step of accepting credit cards tends to boost sales. For instance, an Intuit-sponsored study found that 83 percent of the businesses surveyed experienced an uptick in their sales, with 52 percent earning at least $1,000 more each month. Once you sign up with a payment provider, your online or physical store can quickly begin to reap those same benefits!

Help you manage your money better.

The time has not yet come for most merchants to go cashless. Even so, accepting it brings many disadvantages. In addition to the safety risks that accompany taking your daily income to a bank’s dropbox for deposit also comes the undeniable fact that cash transactions can lead to more mistakes. On the other hand, the debit and credit card transactions that can be processed with the help of a payment provider are recorded in real-time as they happen. Records can be stored electronically and retrieved whenever you need to check on billing information, and your POS software can make them readily accessible when the time comes to file your business taxes. Furthermore, you don’t need to wait for a customer’s check to clear or to contend with the costs of bounced checks. Your merchant account company will make sure that you have your funds within just a few days, no matter what.

Set up recurring payments.

If the products or services you sell can become subscription-based, you can program your point of sale system to accept recurring payments. Customers of fitness centers, monthly box services, and audio book clubs are already very comfortable with this payment model, appreciating it because they can simply set up the schedule and forget it. Both you and your customers will ultimately benefit from a recurring payments system because funds will predictably come in on time and in full, with no need for those uncomfortable phone calls or nagging emails from you. When all is said and done, this leads to satisfaction on everyone’s part.

Enhance your customers’ shopping options.

Most business owners are finding that maintaining a website is becoming a necessity. Even if shoppers eventually come into a physical store to make a purchase, many will not take the trip without first perusing their various options. Your merchant account will give you the flexibility to augment your website with a shopping cart feature that enables people to buy from you and have your products delivered directly to their home. By offering this added service, you can meet the needs of existing customers and perhaps even attract others who would never be able to make an in-person purchase due to their geographic location. 

Save money on transaction fees.

There is no way to get around forking over some of your profits to whatever company you choose to process your payments. However, if you do your homework and make sure to understand all of the stipulations in your merchant account provider’s contract, you will actually end up paying less per month than you would with a so-called “nontraditional” service such as PayPal. Particularly if your business generates a high volume of credit card purchases each month, going with a conventional merchant account provider will save you money in the end.

It is unlikely that cash will ever be king of the payment marketplace again. If you run a business that only takes bills, coins, and customer checks, you are woefully behind the times and are probably losing new customers every day. Shopping around for the best merchant account provider and POS system will enable you to run your business more smoothly and sell more products and services to satisfied customers. It might even leave you with more time to grow your company or to finally take that vacation you’ve been putting off!