Whether merchants are running online or offline businesses, they want to have the ability to increase their sales and revenue by accepting credit and debit card forms of payment. Companies that do much (or all) of their transactions in the “card not present” form are often ones without retail, storefront locations. Instead, their orders come in by phone and mail (MOTO, mail order/telephone order), email, fax and/or the Internet.
Back in the day, for a small and specialized business like this, getting a merchant account in order to process credit cards was a major hassle. Usually, you were expected to have a pristine credit report and an established business. If a merchant happened to be home based or was trying to conduct a business online, the chances of being approved were next to none.
Today there are firms that do almost 100% of their sales in ecommerce environments. The ever-growing definition of “ecommerce” means that orders are initiated on a merchant’s own websites, through affiliate or partnership deals, at auction sites such as eBay, with specialty retailers like Amazon.com, or some combination of these ways. The advent of ecommerce made huge differences in the way credit and debit cards were processed, and the number of them being used.
The parallel growth of Internet and credit card use also gained one additional high-technology component. Businesses with online orders and MOTO business increasingly turned to office PCs to use as terminals, since swiping was rarely necessary. Over the years ecommerce growth has contributed to the use of increasingly large numbers of computer-based systems for credit card processing.
Most account providers can provider off-the-shelf or proprietary software that will interface with their payment gateway. You will also be able to batch transactions, use reports and data saved and generated by the software in your other business applications, add detail to your customer accounts and have backup records for accounting purposes.
Efficiency Equals Value
You can increase sales a number of ways in this scenario. First of all, you are allocating less capital to equipment, so you can apply more working funds to growth-oriented activities. Marketing strategies, advertising and other promotional activities can be increased by the amount of your savings in terminals, terminal fees, phone lines, etc.
The fact that you can use the transaction figures from your credit card
processing software in your accounting programs will save you time every
day. This work time has real, and substantial, value. When you can
retrieve or recapture time in any area of business operations, it can
then be applied at full value to other enterprises. In the case at hand,
if building sales is the goal, then the time recovered by the newly
automated accounting processes can be reallocated to sales building
There are no guarantees, of course, but neither are you limited nearly so much by external factors than by internal ones. If you believe in yourself, and apply yourself unceasingly to achieving your goal, then one way or another, you will do so. Everything in life, everything in business, is subject to this law of nature. However, you need to be properly prepared.
To that end, here are three tips that will help you choose the PC-based processing that is best for your unique situation. Your relationship with your merchant account provider will be one of the keys to your success in using PC-based credit card processing to increase sales.
Tip Number 1
Choose a processing company that is going to be focused on the need and structure of your business. For instance, if you are running an Internet-based business, be sure that the company has first-hand experience with the hassles of doing business online. One easy way to make that determination is to ask the company about the number or fraction of their merchants that are conducting your type of business.
Tip Number 2
Always do business with an account provider that does its own processing and whose primary departments, like credit/underwriting and customer service, are on site a broadly available to you. A great number of credit card processors, online or off, are resellers or third-party processors. There are a few good reasons to steer clear of them. First, processing fees will almost always be higher. Second, with a reseller or third-party processor you are more likely to have your funds frozen if there are ever any perceived problems with your account.
Tip Number 3
Always ask for as high of a daily sales volume as the credit card processor will allow you when you set up you account. You should know that your entire business model puts you in a higher risk category, despite other fees that fluctuate and/or are subject to negotiation. The fact that the entire category of ecommerce is deemed a riskier proposition than retail, by the credit card associations and the banks, makes it more important than ever for you to economize on your fees and charges in every possible area.
You want a good relationship with your provider and its bank, and you want them to understand that you have a growth plan that will require your limit rising accordingly. The solution is to get your limit as high as possible in the beginning and then communicate with the credit or underwriting department before you reach it. This way your limit can be adjusted upward and you shouldn’t have problems.
Remember, the choice you make in a processing provider can easily reflect in your business. Be careful and choose wisely. Don’t allow your finances to end up in a downward spiral or be held hostage. Increasing your sales and revenue will never be “as easy as 1, 2, 3″ because it’s a complicated formula. But the right mix of ingredients is just a matter of using your head and continuing to work harder, and smarter. If you’re smart with a computer, then PC-based credit card processing is a double smart move.