Accepting credit cards at your business opens the door to a much larger potential customer base. That’s because many consumers and business owners prefer to use credit cards when shopping for specific products or services. When they can’t use their credit card, they most likely then go to your competitors with their business.
To keep and attract customers, you have decided to accept credit cards but are concerned that the processing costs will drive up your overhead expenses. This is when various strategies can help you take advantage of the benefits of accepting credit cards while lowering those overhead costs.
Here are 12 to Accept Credit Cards While Reducing Overhead Costs
1. Shop around
You don’t have to go with the first credit card processing company you find on Google. It literally pays to shop around and research a number of credit card processors, comparing what they offer their terms and their rates.
It helps to create a spreadsheet so you can compare what each company offers you to assess where you are really going to save the most money without compromising on any features like security measures or compliance assistance.
There are many good credit card processing review websites that are a good place to start, but be sure to do your due diligence and research beyond those, even checking with other companies like yours to get a first-hand feel for which credit card processors deliver the most value.
2. Understand what fees are necessary and what aren’t
Information has always been power, and, in this case, it empowers you to reduce your overhead costs by simply knowing what fees are required and what are just there to drive up revenues for a credit card processing company.
For example, you don’t need to sign a contract with a credit card processing company, so that will help you to avoid any type of cancellation fee.
Additionally, you can typically get out of paying for fees to sign-up, get a statement, or fill in an application. Other unnecessary processing fees include service fees and PCI compliance fees.
3. Get credit card processing expert advice
When you don’t know, you can seek assistance from credit card processing experts who are online or available as consultants for in-person advice. Numerous blogs provide sound advice related to how to minimize the cost of credit card processing, offering valuable tips that you can integrate into your business plus educate you on how the industry and overall payment method process works. You can also attend industry conferences for even more expert information. Having this expert advice will help you avoid falling prey to the many myths out there like the one that says to continually switch credit card processing provider to get a short-time deal when, in actual fact, that can cost you more.
It doesn’t hurt to just ask a credit card processor to lower certain costs or eliminate a fee. Most of the negotiating power comes in relation to your transaction volume, so the higher volume you have, the more likely these credit card processing companies will consider your proposal. While you may not be able to take advantage of this cost savings immediately, you will be able to save more as you scale up your transaction volume.
5. Reduce business risk related to breaches and fraud for fewer chargebacks
The more risk you exhibit based on your business type, such as an online gaming, pharmaceutical, auction, or similar establishment, the more expensive the fees associated with credit card processing related to chargebacks.
However, by reducing risk through entering more security information like the CCV number on the credit card or using address verification and other layers of security, you will be able to reduce those fees plus minimize other expenses that result from fraudulent transactions.
If you can also swipe the actual credit card as part of processing, you can also reduce fraud as well as those costs.
6. Follow account and terminal set-up instructions
You don’t want any type of human error to end up costing you more money, so it’s best to take it slow and ensure you have followed all the setup instructions provided by your credit card processing partner.
For example, if you input the wrong business information into your account set-up and the terminal, you may end up paying higher processing fees. You don’t want to be charged for a fee structure that doesn’t even relate to the type of credit cards you are accepting. It helps to even ask your credit card processing partner for assistance with the setup.
7. Always read your credit card processing statements
It’s important to check every statement you get whether you receive a paper copy or an online version.
Each month, there may be some new surprise cost that you were not aware of that was now on the bill. This way, if the credit card processing company has changed anything, you can address it immediately, have it removed from the bill, or start looking elsewhere for another service provider that doesn’t charge that fee.
The best approach is to partner with a company that is completely transparent in what they plan to charge you for their processing services.
8. Do an annual review and assessment of your credit card processing account and costs
Like all your overhead expenses, it’s practical to conduct an annual audit to calculate the total of all fees and costs paid for having this service.
If it appears like your account costs have increased, you can go back to item #4 on this list and negotiate and, if that doesn’t work, start shopping around as recommended in item #1.
You can also look at the level of processing volume you are doing now compared to when you started to see if you should move up to a different tiered plan with your current credit card processor or another one might be more competitive.
9. Look for a credit card processing company that offers you other services
Another way to lower overhead costs is to select a partner that also gives you more tools for other aspects of your business so you can streamline operations, saving you additional time and money.
This might include accounting tools, a project management tool or platform, and a collaboration platform, or database function with analytics.
The extra services they offer should be something relevant for your type of business. For example, if you are in the restaurant business, you might want a processor that also offers tools that help you with delivery or pick-up orders.
10. Swipe, insert, or tap away
Rather than manually entering payment and customer information, you can save money by offering a new chip reader or a terminal that allows a customer to swipe their card. Since these have more security features than the previous type of POS equipment, you can enjoy a much lower transaction rate.
11. Insist on a minimum credit card amount for each transaction
You can improve your margin on each transaction by insisting that customers buy enough to meet your credit card processing minimum, which is usually $10 or $20, depending on what you feel comfortable related to your intended margin.
Otherwise, your customers will need to use cash if they want to buy less than that minimum amount. Of course, an additional benefit of this strategy is that customers often impulse buy to ensure they meet the minimum amount because they prefer to use their credit cards for all transactions.
12. Buy credit card terminals versus lease and expand your online transactions
Leasing credit card terminals and POS equipment can add up, especially considering if you had just bought it that monthly charge for renting would not be infringing on your bottom line. By doing this, you can typically depreciate the equipment over time on your business taxes, saving you additional money. New technology, such as mobile credit card readers, are also making it much more affordable to buy this type of equipment.
Enacting these strategies have been proven to lower your overhead costs so you can reap the overall benefits of accepting credit cards at your business regardless of whether you have a physical location, an online store, or both.