Benefits of accepting credit card payments
You're a business owner. You need to make sales to make money. You strive for a seamless customer experience every time. A critical element that goes overlooked? Flexible Credit card payment options.
Cardholder flexibility and contentment
- You get paid faster- reach your customer anywhere and make it easy for them to pay
- More payment options = more sales
- Build brand trust and authority
- You get paid faster- reach your customer anywhere and make it easy for them to pay.
What does all that mean for you as a business owner?
More sales, more rewards as incentive for your customers to make those big purchases through you, and more customers who want a piece of the pie.
No matter how good the hotcakes are or the signature sauce is, the last point of contact (and possibly the lasting impression) with your customer is paying the bill.
Paying via credit card has become standardized and as intuitive as using FaceID to unlock your phone, and customers have come to expect this payment option to be available.
The catch? It's easier than you think, no really, to start accepting credit card payments.
Get started: How to take credit card payments
You may fall into one of two categories:
- You are looking into how to take payments and setting up your business. Or,
- You are looking for more, alternative, or better ways to take payments.
If you are the latter, skip to the next section, ways to accept credit card payments.
First things first- Setting up your business to take payments
Every new business that hopes to make sales (so most) requires a POS system.
Even established businesses may want to look at how to revamp their POS systems to make processing and receiving payments even more manageable.
These systems are how businesses process transactions and payments.
Still, a POS system can do so much more;
- Contactless payments
- E-commerce capabilities
- Remote inventory monitoring, tracking and processing orders remotely, and many other features that are customizable to your business and industry. A POS system comprises a few essential components. Most card readers accept contactless, keyed, tap, swipe, and insert payment methods for credit (and debit, for that matter) card payments.
Whether that is Cloud-based and mobile, or perhaps all you need is a standard desktop computer checkout. It's as simple as choosing the right payment processing company to match your needs for the right price and features (see why interchange rates ensure merchants have the lowest rates with no hidden fees or contracts.)
Once you've decided which systems you want to work with, you might be wondering how many ways your business can accept credit card payments.
Ways to accept credit card payments
Here are the most common methods and features merchants use to take credit cards:
- Online invoicing
- Virtual terminal
- In-person card transactions (chip and PIN, swipe, tap)
- Contactless payments
- Secure card vault/ remote billing
- Credit card app
Invoicing online: A faster way to get paid
Online invoicing allows you to send customizable invoices to your clients via email or text so you can ditch the snail mail that gets buried under flyers and bills. Some invoicing platforms include an option for customers to pay the bill directly and submit their credit card information in just a few clicks. This tool can even send payment due reminders so you don't have to chase your clients down for payment.
Virtual Terminals: Accept card-not-present payments from anywhere, anytime
Need to settle a layaway or put a deposit for an order? Virtual terminals allow you to take your customer's credit card information remotely and manually key it into a secure, virtual POS. Neither you, or the customer need to be in-store which saves everyone a trip and time.
In-person card transactions
Most card readers are EMV and NFC enabled, and accept all or most credit and debit cards. Taking the time to find the right payment processor and/ or card reader may have added benefits such as sales and transaction history, sales insights and analytics, and even card vaults to store frequent customer payment information.
Contactless payments is one of those buzz words that merchants often hear about. It allows customers to use their credit card via their mobile device, app, or watch. This is a great option for customers who are prone to forgetting their wallet (aren't we all? Just us? OK.) or who are on the go. Contactless payments are secure, encrypted and tokenized, and don't actually require any fancy equipment other than a basic POS setup to start accepting payments with Apple or Google pay for example.
Card Vault: Store customer payment information
There are PCI compliant options such as secure credit card vaults that allow you to take down your customer's payment information once and store it securely for future payments. The next time a client visits your office or needs to pay over the phone, you can simply charge their card on file. It's an easy way to accept a payment that gives you and your client more time back in their day.
A Credit Card App So You Can Get Paid On the Go
The right payments app is going to be your best friend when it comes to accepting credit card payments on the road, and Helcim's app not only allows you to process payments, but keeps track of your inventory, and lets you send e-receipts to your customers. You can even use it in tandem with a card reader or completely on its own.
Which Businesses Can Accept Credit Card Payments?
Do you run a business? Then you probably qualify.
Well, there are a few standards to keep in mind. Still, processing credit card payments is no longer restricted to traditional brick and mortar establishments. It may surprise you to learn of all the non-traditional business models that qualify, such as:
Online and eCommerce stores only (perfect for your vintage taxidermy business)
Freelancers and contractors
Mobile businesses (now customers can pay for your mobile dog grooming service via credit!)
Brick and mortar businesses (still a staple. Never goes out of style.)
Is that it? Not quite yet. First, there are a few things you have to make sure your business is doing to be eligible for payments. That could look like this:
Make sure your business is PCI compliant
Practice safe merchant practices
Preparing your business to be assessed as a low-risk merchant (and get approved) by a payment processor
Accepting Credit Payment Cards Comes With Fees
A major component of accepting credit card payments is managing credit card processing fees. Offering credit card payment options is beneficial to both customers and merchants, however the flip side of this perk for merchants is that they are charged a processing fee for every transaction.
When choosing a payment processor, ask about their credit card fees. The rate per transaction a merchant will be charged is set by the payment processor and depends on the pricing model (see interchange vs. flat rate pricing.)
In the USA, (coming to Canada in October of 2022) merchants are able to recoup the cost (or most of it) by passing a surcharge fee to the customer.
Ready, get set, go! Start accepting credit card payments
So you're ready for the big league?
You've read how credit could be the secret ingredient to attracting all the eligible cardholders and "wow-ing" them with your fantastic credit card payment service. Plus, now you know how can qualify and what you'll need to get started taking credit cards at your business ASAP. One last thing: if you're feeling enlightened about why and what you'll need to get started but still a little overwhelmed with understanding payments, read our blog about how credit card payment processing works to learn about what's going on behind the scenes when a customer makes a purchase.
Dive deeper into accepting credit card payments
Let's be honest; everything is on the internet nowadays. If all the information is out there, how come we aren't all multidisciplinary instrumental geniuses who speak 12 languages with black belts in Karate?
- It can be intimidating to learn a whole new topic and skillset, and
- Who has the time?
All this to say that if you're a business owner, you have a million and one other things to devote your energy to.
Learning about how to accept credit cards can be daunting. That's where the value of a great payments company comes in.
At Helcim, we are all about simplifying and educating our merchants. Our merchant experience team is here to walk you through everything you need to know.
Plus, we've invested the time to create our comprehensive Understanding Payments Guide for those merchants who want to dive deeper.