Once you applied for a business license, did you notice all the calls and visits you suddenly received from Merchant Services (credit card processing) sales reps? They offer free terminals, fast customer service, quick funding, and low rates. In exchange, within minutes of speaking to this person, you are expected to share your business checking account number, social security number, EIN, home address, and virtually every other bit of personal and business financial information.
Surprisingly, this scenario happens many times every day, in nearly every city in North America. The majority of merchant services sales reps are honest and try to provide all they promise. But how secure is the information that the rep took from you? Did they leave your application forms in their car? When they reach their office, is your information locked up properly? Do they use a secure computer system when creating your account?
Beyond all these concerns, you are trusting the company you choose with the success of your business. If their network or equipment fails, how much business will you lose while you wait for customer service to resolve the matter completely?
To protect your company and make the right choice for merchant services, here are some recommendations:
1. Ask the sales rep who else uses their services in your industry and area. Does the rep hesitate or do they have references at the ready?
2. Never sign with a rep you just met (or spoke with on the phone). Take some time to Google their name and their company name. Ten minutes in front of your computer can save you thousands of dollars. Dishonest companies can never hide long from the Internet.
3. Don’t believe just one bad review. We’ve all seen that one difficult or unreasonable customer. Look at the merchant services company as a whole, and see what most people are saying to get a complete picture.
4. Don’t sign with a sales rep or company who talks negatively about other companies. Sales reps who speak ill of others often do so to hide their own bad reputation.
5. Call the merchant service company’s support line. How long does it take to get a human who speaks your language clearly?
6. Don’t go with a company that requires a contract. Many offer contract-free accounts. If there’s no contract, they must believe in their service quality to retain you as a client.
The facts are that many merchant service companies offer great products at great prices. If you use your instincts, do your research, and choose a company with experience in your industry, you’re likely to make the right choice.
-Jason Hanson, ePOS