It doesn’t matter if you run a local, small-town business, a Fortune 500 company, or a global enterprise, getting paid quickly for products and services is a key component of business success.
Quick payment can speed cash flow through any business, enabling owners and managers to expand operations, hire new employees and grow profitable faster. It’s just common sense that the more ways clients and customers can pay you, the more likely it is that payments will be made quickly.
If cash is your only payment method, you may lose credit card sales simply because many people today, especially younger people, don’t carry cash. Instead, they carry credit cards, debit cards, smart phones, tablets and other payment gateways.
Credit cards are a “must-have.” Many consumers pay with plastic. For a business, accepting credit cards may mean not only more sales, but also an increase in the revenue per sale, because credit cards can enable consumers to make large purchases and pay them off over time.
Establishing a merchant account through your bank enables your small business to accept payment with credit cards. The costs of opening a merchant account are generally low, and so are per-transaction fees. That increase in sales may offset the cost of a merchant account many times over. Talk to your bank representative about opening a merchant account to add this critical payment gateway to your online or offline business.
Debit cards are a popular payment method. Carrying a debit card eliminates the need for buyers to carry a lot of cash. Payments are made at the point of sale (POS), and monies move from the buyer’s account to the seller’s account instantly.
Electronic Funds Transfers (EFT) move money smoothly from one bank account to another. The buyer authorizes the electronic funds transfer, provides your routing and account number, and the money is electronically transferred into your account – often within minutes.
Don’t forget smart phones, which are getting smarter every day. Today’s smart phones often contain payment applications, or apps, that enable consumers to make payment using smart phones right there in the store, or half-way around the globe.
When researching a bank for your business, choose a bank that not only offers a roster of payment gateways, but also offers multiple layers of security. For example, smart phone sales transmissions should be protected with encryption software. Client information should be protected by firewalls, security software and human oversight to detect suspicious activity.
Ask about the bank’s fraud protection programs. These programs should be customized to your business’ needs and include complex, detailed analysis of automated clearing house (ACH) activity, credit card purchases and other features that minimize the risk of your business becoming a victim of fraud.
Discuss integration of payment gateways into your business’ daily operations. If your business generates 10 transactions a day, chances are you can track daily activity yourself. However, if you process hundreds, or thousands, of transactions daily, look for a payment gateway service that offers detailed records-keeping of sales and payment activity.
This can be a cost cutter and a time saver. Merchant accounts can sort your sales and payments quickly so you can track inventory, cash flow, client and customer activity, as well as seeing what’s moving out of the warehouse and what’s collecting dust.
Ease of payment, features, flexibility and multiple payment gateways – these are the things to look for when researching the right merchant account for your company, and the best place to start is at your bank, where the managers already know you and your business.
Talk to a bank representative today about ways to simplify the payment process for clients and customers.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.