One of the things you will probably notice if you are just starting out with a new business is that very few people ever pay in cash anymore. In fact, few people even carry cash which makes it difficult on days when your Merchant Services Provider (MSP) network might be down for one reason or another. If you are looking for an MSP for your business, it helps to know what features to look for before making your final decision.
Why You Need an MSP
The first, and most obvious reason why you need a Merchant Services Provider was briefly mentioned above. You need to be able to accept credit cards, debit cards, gift cards and really, all kinds of plastic that would need to be run through a system to a remote financial institution.
However, at this point we are only talking about Point of Sale, POS, card transactions. Then there are those transactions that are taken through mobile card swipers, eCommerce online payments and virtual terminals accessed by merchants – to name the most common reasons why, and where, credit and debit cards would be accepted. If you do any business and accept payments at any other location than POS at your place of business, an MSP is vital.
Transparency in Pricing and Contracts
The only real way to know which MSP has the best pricing structures and contracts would be to do a side-by-side comparison on a review site like top10.com where you could see which MSPs are rated highly and why. Transparency in pricing and contracts would be among the most important features they would compare. You might hear that Cayan merchant services are one of the most popular MSPs in use today but, again, you need all the information necessary to judge for yourself. You can learn about Cayan merchant services on the top10.com comparison site to see if they actually do have highly rated services such as:
- Transparency in pricing structure
- Transparency in contract wording
- Customer service
- Tech support
All are important in a number of ways. Make sure to check out what the reviewers say about the terms of their contracts because you don’t want any unpleasant ‘surprises’ down the road when you are hit with fees you weren’t expecting or that you cannot get out of a contract early if so desired.
Reliability, Customer Service and Tech Support
Reliability should be near the top of the list on what to expect when choosing an MSP. You know how you feel when you are online and suddenly your ISP is down unexpectedly with no way to determine why or for how long. The same is true of an MSP but the ramifications are much farther-reaching.
You have a customer at the POS ready to pay with a card and the transaction can’t be processed. Their network is down. What do you do when a customer doesn’t carry cash? Perhaps you didn’t read the reviews on a comparison site to see that this was an ongoing issue. Always check to see how reliable their network is and what you can expect from their customer service department, if they even have one!
Tech support is also going to be a vital consideration because there may be times when you get a processing error message that you are unable to correct when following the steps in the service manual you were provided with at the time of installation. Look for an MSP with 24/7 tech support if you have extended hours at your place of business.
Security is another huge consideration when choosing a Merchant Services Provider. You will want to safeguard all your customers’ financial information that is being transmitted digitally as well as your own merchant information that is sent with each transaction.
Any time financial information is transmitted digitally, there is always a risk of interception by nefarious individuals or organizations which is why you will want to know what kind of security they are using and how often it is updated. This is a vital piece of information you must request before signing any agreements.
A Word to the Wise
At the end of the day, this is where you will be taking the bulk of payments for goods or services rendered. As a result, you will want to know that you have an MSP that has all the features you need but nothing lurking in the background. If you have any questions or doubts, you should wait until you’ve reviewed their contract better.
As with any other legal and binding contract, you can always have your lawyer quickly review it if there is anything you don’t understand. Remember that a contract is a legal and binding document and as the old saying goes, ignorance of the law is no excuse. The bottom line remains, if you don’t know what you are signing, put the pen down until you do. It’s really that simple.