Growing your online business and attracting new customers can require a lot of different components. Sometimes it means fine-tuning an already successful business model. Other times it involves developing a new advertising strategy or marketing to a previously un-tapped market.
The ways to expand your business are unlimited, but one way that is sure to have an immediate positive effect is utilizing merchant services.
The days when it was profitable to run a cash-only business are running out fast. More and more people expect that when they purchase something they are going to be able to use a credit card. If they find out that your business doesn’t accept plastic, they are probably going to find a different business that does.
As more and more companies begin to utilize merchant services, the businesses that don’t fall further and further behind. Here are a few ways that merchant services can help you to grow your business.
Credit Card Processing
Processing credit cards is easy with merchant services. After the customer’s information is transferred to the merchant services company, the transaction goes through a few complex steps, which results in the money being deposited directly into your business checking account within two to three business days.
There are two methods your business can use to accept credit cards. You can either use real-time or deferred processing.
Real-time processing allows the customers card to be approved immediately. This is important when time is of the essence. So if you are a company that sells documents online that can be quickly transferred to your customers, they are going to expect access to that document as soon they have entered their credit card information.
Real-time processing allows that to happen by setting up a link between your company’s website and your merchant account through a secure payment gateway.
The other option is a deferred processing system. If you don’t deliver products directly over the Internet then this may be the way to go. The deferred system allows you to make sure your orders are right before shipping out the products. It is also handy if the credit card company’s network is down for some reason. This won’t mess up the transaction. A simple phone call will clear everything right up.
Whichever option you choose, the ability to process your clients’ credit cards will open your business up to a new world of consumers.
Debit Card and eCheck Processing
Of course, credit cards aren’t the only way people shop in today’s modern world. Many people are so used to using their debit cards that they take for granted the fact that merchant service companies are what allow them to do so.
Merchant services allow your business to process a debit card almost exactly like a credit card. The only difference is that the money is taken directly from the customer’s checking account. Merchant services make this transaction easy for all parties involved.
There are even ways to process checks online by utilizing merchant services. People can now pay for your products using online checks, or “eChecks.” These work the same as a normal paper check except they do not require a signature. The only thing you need to process these eChecks is the name of the bank, the routing number, and the checking account number.
Merchant service companies offer two different ways that your company can accept e-Checks. The first way is to buy software that allows you to print these online checks. Then all you do is deposit them at the bank like normal. The downside to this is the same downside to a standard check. You have to wait a few days to make sure it clears before you send out the merchandise.
The other option is to use a service that verifies the information on the check. You can also pay a fee that guarantees the check. This way, the transaction service will pay you back if the check bounces. It is like eCheck insurance.
By enabling your business to process debit cards and eChecks, you are opening your doors to more and more potential customers by accepting as many forms of payment as you can.
If you are in the business of selling merchant services online then you and your customers will probably feel a lot better if you have access to an escrow service.
Escrow is just using a middleman to insure the proper completion of the transaction. First the customer makes the payment through your merchant services account and the money goes to the escrow service. They then inform your business that the money has been paid and you send out the merchandise. When the customer receives the merchandise they tell the escrow service that everything is satisfactory with their order, and the service pays your company.
If, for some reason, the customer is unhappy with the merchandise, they can tell the escrow service and the item will be returned and the money refunded.
As time marches on, there are more and more ways for people to pay you for your products. It can be frustrating at first trying to deal with the ever-increasing waves of payment technology. But by embracing these changes and utilizing a merchant services company, you are opening your business up to more potential customers, as well as getting a leg up on the competition.