5 Things To Look For When Setting Up A Merchant Account.

You’ve built your site and your customers are ready to pay – but is your payment solution sending them away? The right merchant account gives your customers the flexibility to pay quickly and conveniently, while offering them the peace of mind in knowing all your transactions are secure.

Online payment methods such as PayPal and BitCoin are okay if you’re only handling a few transactions, but offering only one payment method gives your site a distinctly amateur look.

More importantly, these aren’t true banking solutions that will get your money to you quickly while protecting you and your customers. As private companies (not banks) they can create and modify the rules and their rates at any given time.

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But before you get started, take a few minutes to make sure the merchant account you want offers these five crucial benefits:

1. Accepts as many cards as possible.

Your merchant account should offer your customers plenty of payment method choices, so make sure you can offer a wide range of cards that will more than likely to match up their preferred method of payment. Payment should be as convenient as possible so your customers can complete their transactions smoothly. Don’t create the hassle of having them search for a different card, or this could lead to them cancelling their entire purchase.

2.  Protects you in a high-risk arena.

Whatever your industry, whenever you’re not meeting your customers face-to-face, you’re entering the risky world of card-not-present (CNP) transactions, one of the leading fraud vectors today.  You need to make sure that every transaction is secure and that you keep all the money you can from every possible transaction.  Ask around and make sure your merchant account will offer state-of-the-art fraud protection measures, including address verification and 3D Secure.

3.  Takes your customers’ currency.

You’re competing in a global marketplace, don’t assume your customers will want to, or be able to pay in U.S. dollars. Customers want the convenience of paying without having to convert totals back and forth. They want to know exactly how much will come out of their bank account without having to worry about currency exchange losses and fee’s. Don’t give your competitors the advantage of local-currency payments over you. Any merchant account you choose should have a well-developed network of acquiring banks around the world to offer true multi-currency processing.

4.  Integrates with your ecommerce site.

You should be free to build your site the way you want it, and that means choosing the shopping cart provider that will offer the best experience for you and your customers. There are dozens to choose from, and your merchant account should work smoothly with the one you pick. Beware of any payment service company that forces you to work with a limited list of shopping carts and doesn’t seem to care what’s already working on your site, or about your customers’ needs.

5.  Keeps your fees as low as possible.

Make sure you are not being charged unnecessary fees, such as application fees. To get as much value as possible from your provider, watch out for flat rate pricing as this usually charges you the highest possible rate for every transaction. Look for flexibility of tiered pricing instead. Even if you don’t have a bricks-and-mortar presence, your payment services provider should respect your business and offer you competitive rates that let you get the best deals.

There are lots of pop-up operations offering one-stop payment processing solutions. These companies usually don’t offer other business products, such as smartphone credit card processing, MOTO merchant accounts, or incorporation services.  Be wary of these dealers as they rarely have a strong network of business and banking contacts to assure you of the best rates and the tightest security with no hidden fees. Working hand in hand with the right payment services provider, one with a long track record of success will be the strongest link in the chain connecting you to customers around the world.