The ability to accept card payments is now virtually indispensable for any business which sells any type of goods or services. For online shopping it is obviously essential, but it is increasingly the case that customers visiting physical retail stores assume that they can use their cards there as well. Enterprises without business merchant accounts are likely to find their customers go elsewhere, and no business can afford to lose competitive edge to that extent, especially in the current economic climate.
As well as ensuring you do not lose customers, having a merchant account is important for many other reasons. It is likely to increase sales volume, especially in a physical store, as customers will be tempted with impulse buying and special offers. In addition, it is important for you to be able to track your financial data, for instance for filing your tax return. When you have a merchant account, your provider sends you a monthly statement detailing all your transactions, making it easy to see at a glance the total of your expenditure and outgoings, and how much of your takings are actual profit.
You are more likely to obtain a merchant account from a credit card processing company than from your normal bank, although your bank may refer you. Most companies provide the card machine free of charge, and many also offer round-the-clock support to ensure you can implement the system. Depending on your type of business, you can apply for an OTC (over-the-counter) account for a retail store, or an Internet Merchant Account (IMA) if you have an e-commerce operation. If you accept payments in several different ways, you will benefit from a MOTO account along with your IMA provision, for mail order and telephone order payments. This provides you with a virtual terminal on your computer, so you can process payments from all over the world.
Without business merchant accounts, no enterprise is likely to survive in today’s world. The competition will simply forge ahead. However, if you are looking for a way to increase your profits, protect yourselves and your customers from fraud, and maximize efficiency, there is really no other way to go.