If a company wants to accept credit cards from its customers online, in person, or on the phone, the first step is getting a merchant account from a merchant account provider. Many companies have a partnership with a merchant/gateway provider already established, as paying for goods and services with credit cards has been a fundamental part of conducting modern-day business for years.
Why consider switching merchant/gateway partners this year? What are the benefits? There are several. To make it easy, we've highlighted the top four reasons why companies should consider making a change this year.
- Working with a focused partner: Recently, there have been many consolidations in the merchant/gateway space with large providers — including Vantiv purchasing WorldPay, FirstData purchasing CardConnect, and FISERV purchasing FirstData. All of the Agents/ISOs and gateway partners that had relationships with the individual entities are now in the process of assimilating any new pricing, and more importantly, adapting to new customer care and reporting entities. With this change, comes potential upheaval including deteriorating support and increased gateway and merchant fees. It will be much easier to work with a company that is focused on the customer's business and not inwardly focused on the consolidation of their own business. In addition, with the consolidation of large providers, it may be easy for small and medium businesses to get lost in the shuffle. Attention that the smaller businesses normally require and expect may not be provided given the focus of the company.
- Choosing one point of accountability: Combining a customer's merchant and gateway partner into a single payment service provider (PSP) has its distinctive advantages. Any type of processing or payment issue is triaged by the same support infrastructure. No longer is there a need to create tickets with multiple service desks in order to resolve a problem. Often times, either provider may point the finger that the problem resides with the other. Having one point of contact streamlines the process and provides the most seamless, effective and quickest resolution to all issues.
- Keeping customers: If a gateway is used for recurring payments, it should provide automated account updating — making sure that customers are not lost, and the customer experience is not interrupted.
- Reducing costs: A gateway should also be able to automatically detect payments by corporate credit cards and purchasing cards as fees associated with those cards are eligible for lower rates.
If the gateway provides a virtual terminal, and an optional Point-to-Point Device (P2PE) that encrypts the credit card number prior to entering it into the gateway, it will significantly reduce the scope and cost of annual PCI (Payment Card Industry) audits.
Also, when changing a partner, customers can now check to see if there is a reserve (untouchable money set aside for chargebacks) as part of the original merchant agreement. If there is a proven track record of creditworthiness, it's possible to ask for a refund of this reserve. If a provider will not consider this, it's possible a new provider won't require a reserve based on your current financial condition. As the economy continues to grow so does a client's credit card sales volume. As a merchant's sales increase, so do the costs associated with accepting credit cards. It is always important to review costs during a booming economy, so profits don't get absorbed in fees.
A new partner will bring many of these fresh consultative approaches to a merchant's business. They will also review new products and solutions, such as a virtual terminal or a mobile device in addition to a stand-alone terminal.
With all the changes in the industry, now is the right time to consider changing a merchant/gateway partner. Why wait?