We've said it before and we'll say it again: Shopping for credit card processing services can be really confusing and without the right information it can even be intimidating.  The following is a quick reference checklist to look over the next time you find yourself shopping for a new merchant services provider.

1. Is my representative telling me the whole story?  

It's sad to say, but credit card processors are notorious for leaving out all of the necessary information you need to make an educated decision when it comes to their proposals.  Their sales pitch may seem like a great deal, but they may not be telling you about additional percentage rates for certain types of cards.  Processors are also ill-famed for failing to list the catalogue of junk fees that accompany their contracts, catching the business owner unaware until the first few statements come in.  An easy way to avoid this is to ask to see a sample statement from one of the processors current clients.  They can protect the current clients private information while revealing what their charges will actually look like month to month on paper.  Once you get the sample statement, ask as many questions as possible about everything on it that you do not understand.  If the processors answers are too convoluted and couldn't be easily understood by an 8th grader, chances are, something is foul.  If they refuse to provide a sample statement, give serious thought to looking elsewhere. 

2. Do I fully understand what the processors profit margin will be?
With the many different pricing options available today due to heavy competition in the payment processing industry, there is no reason for any business owner to process credit cards without utilizing either a 'flat rate' or a "cost plus" processor.  We say this simply for the argument of transparency.  These two methods allow business owners to know exactly what they are paying for every card that comes across their counter and why they are paying it. Cost plus pricing allows the business owner to know their processors fully disclosed profit margin, for instance with the OGroup our profit margin is fully disclosed and comes in the form of a flat fixed fee. Flat rate credit card processing may not allow you to know the true profit margin for your pricing but it simplifies the fee structure so you can easily understand exactly what you will pay for every single transaction. If you don't hear one of these two methods being offered in the credit card processors sales pitch, then move on, or your going to be on the raw end of the deal.

3. Is the credit card processor underwritten by a credible bank?
A credit card processors essential function is to act as liaison between you and the major credit card issuers like Visa and Master Card.  Since their is so much financial information being managed on any given day, the money from your customer that just bought that $350 appliance from your store can't be immediately transferred to your account.  The credit card processor, through their underwriting bank, fronts that money to you either on the day of the transaction or the next day.  Through a monthly batching of your businesses swiped credit cards, the processor collects what they are owed from those customers at the end of the month.  A good processor gets you your money on time and they themselves wait to get paid.  That's essentially the service you are paying for when it comes to credit card processing.  If you're dealing with a merchant service provider that can't get money into your account within 1-2 days of the transaction, they're not worth your time.

4. What does exceptional customer service from a credit card processing look like?
We all know this truth: The bigger the company, the more machines and red tape you will have to trudge through in order to get the information you need to keep your business running smoothly.  Who has time for that? There is so much competition out there for your business that there is no reason you should accept any proposal from a credit card processor if they cannot provide you with a 24/7 support line AND the direct line of your merchant services representative.  If something goes wrong with your card swiper, or problems, like frozen funds, arise with your account, you should have solutions immediately.  You work hard to keep your business running, so why should you accept anything less?

    Having a difficult time finding a processor that satisfies all of these questions with integrity?  Let us help.

1. Don’t use your bank for payment processing services.
- - - - - Big business means big expenses. 
Big national banks and even local banks that provide payment processing services typically have the highest rates on the market and burden small businesses with a host of hidden junk fees to cover their big business expenses.  Banks rarely do their own in house processing and usually outsource the work to an ISO.  With more than one party involved, rates must be higher to make the service more interesting. Talk with an expert at  www.ogflatfee.com to start reclaiming profits for your business by working with an Independent Sales Organization directly and leave the middle man out of the equation.  

2. Don't do business without a set and locked in price for processing services. 
- - - - - Why isn't the writing on the wall for credit card processing prices?
Payment processing is not a complex service.  Processors simply connect businesses to the major card associations and ensure that the connection is maintained.  Why should businesses pay hundreds of dollars for this simple service every month?  Ask your processor if they will allow you to pay a flat fee every month above their true cost for their service. 

3. Never pay unnecessary junk fees.
- - - - - They're only good for lining someone else's pockets.
Small businesses often pay hundreds of dollars a year in junk fees to their payment processors.  If you ever see fees such as statement fees, data security fees, batch header fees, monthly minimum fees, etc., you as a business owner should know that these fees are unnecessary.  If your processor will not remove these junk fees, then find out how we at www.ogflatfee.com have done away with junk fees completely.

4. Stop paying your credit card processor with percentage rates.
- - - - - Percentage rates are like an unfair tax.
Most payment processors get paid by percentage rates that are added on above the rates already being paid to Visa/MC/Disc. These rates dramatically cut into profits because the traditional processing philosophy says that the more money a business makes the more a business should pay for this simple service.  Instead of using the percentage rate model, find a processor that charges a flat fee above their true cost month to month. 

5. Always know what you are paying month to month.
- - - - - Know what you pay and why you pay it.
An alarming amount of small business owners never know what they are paying month to month for their payment processing services.  This is because the payment processing industry keeps their clientele in the dark with confusing statements, fluctuating percentage rates, and hidden fees, which can lead to thousands of dollars in profit loss every year.
Many companies are now choosing processors that offer a fixed flat fee so they know exactly what they are paying when their statement comes in.  Your customers demand to know the price of your items and services before handing over their hard earned money, so why should payment processing be any different?  Find out more about fixed flat fees at www.ogflatfee.com.

                                     What do you think?

If you suspect that your current services violate any of these surefire rules for effective payment processing then then speak with an expert at www.ogflatfee.com for a free and secure consultation to get your company on the right track.  
Or call us any time at 877-306-7142.