How to Choose a Merchant Service For Your Business

Choosing a merchant service to process your transactions can be a long and difficult process for any business. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting your entrepreneurial journey with your first business, or you’re an industry veteran with decades of experience. Choosing the right merchant service to fit your business model can mean the difference between success and failure in the early stages of your business. We at CPOS want you to be better informed about what to look for in a merchant service and payment processing provider before signing a contract that could end up limiting the success of your business. Here are the most important considerations that any business owner needs to think about before making their choice.  

Can the Provider Process your Payments Effectively?

  If you have a traditional brick & mortar business, or a service-based business that accepts debit and credit card payments, then you don’t have to worry as much about whether they can handle your payments. Every merchant service in the industry can provide payment terminals that will handle all debit and credit payments. If you need to process payments on-the-go, then you need to be sure that they provide wireless payment terminals that are reliable. This means making sure that they provide the latest wireless payment technology that runs on a 4G/LTE network. If you own an ecommerce business, or if any part of your business model involves processing payments online, then you need to be sure that your merchant service can process online payments through virtual terminals, and payment gateways. Even if a merchant service can process online payments, it may require online payments to be processed by the business through an online portal. However, there are merchant services, like CPOS, that provide online integrations that allow customers to securely pay directly on the website. This provides extra value by freeing up valuable resources that could otherwise be spending a significant amount of time processing payments.  

Does the Merchant Service Have Cancellation Fees?

  Many merchant service providers in Canada still charge cancellation fees in the form of contract cancellation fees, early termination fees, terminal deactivation fees and account closure fees. These fees are most commonly found with bank-owned payment processors. Keep in mind that The Canadian Code of Conduct of the Processing Industry, which has been in effect since 2010, requires merchant service providers to disclose all fees that they can charge to the merchant. Make sure to ask about these fees, and read through the fee disclosure box which is required to be in the service agreement you sign before contracting a merchant service.  

Is their Software Easy to Use?

  If the merchant service provides an online portal or software program to manage payments and your merchant account, you need to be sure that it functions well and is easy to use. Many merchant service providers, especially bank-owned services, don’t employ intuitive software, or are still using software that looks and works like it was built in the 90s or early 00s. If you take a look at this Google image search of Moneris’ payment gateway, it is easy to understand what we mean. Find a merchant provider that provides an intuitive portal or software program that is easy to use, and has support available when you need it. It will save you a ton of headaches down the road.  

Do They Frequently Increase their Rates?

  Over the past two decades, a common sales practice within the payment processing industry has been to entice merchants to sign a contract with low introductory rates, and then gradually increase those rates over time. This practice is especially common with bank-owned payment processors. Merchants would then have to call and fight with the merchant service provider to have their rates lowered, or switch to a different provider who could possibly perpetuate this cycle all over again. Now, under The Canadian Code of Conduct of the Processing Industry, merchant services must provide 90 days notice for any increase in fees. Also, once this notice is given, merchants are allowed to cancel their contracts without any form of cancellation penalty. Regardless, it is recommended to do your research on a merchant service provider that you are considering. If they have a history of increasing their rates over time, you may want to consider a different merchant service provider that doesn’t employ this practice and save yourself the headache of either fighting with the provider, or changing your merchant service once every few years. Find a merchant service that values building a long-term relationship with you.  

Do They Help With Compliance?

  Visa and Mastercard both require any merchant who accepts credit card payments to be PCI compliant. Failing to be compliant leaves businesses vulnerable to non-compliance fees from these credit card companies. Many of the larger payment processors in Canada don’t provide any support for securing your business and receiving your required PCI compliance certificate. Instead, they charge a “compliance” fee but don’t offer any support for becoming and staying PCI compliant.  

CPOS is Here to Help

  We believe in helping business owners make payment processing as easy and stress free as possible. We understand that when you partner with us, we are a key piece of the puzzle that is your business model. That is why we want to see your business grow and succeed. We want to be in it together for the long haul. That is why we provide and support the latest payment processing technologies, from virtual terminals, countertop terminals, and virtual terminals. We provide simple and competitive pricing that won’t eat away at your bottom line. We aim to serve you and make your experience with us as easy and stress free as possible so you can focus on the part of your business that matters, serving your customers. If you’re ready to work with a payment processor that makes it easy for you, then contact us! We would be excited to work with you!