Choosing a card payment provider

MD of Suresite Nick Healy outlines what you should consider

26 Jun, 18

Managing director of Suresite Nick Healy outlines what you should consider when choosing a card payment provider.

When you’ve made your sale and it comes to the money shot, it’s too late to realise that all card payments companies are not created equal.

Though the end result remains the same –money transfer from your customers’ bank account into yours – the journey can vary considerably.

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When choosing a payment cards processing provider, it is crucial that you understand the merchant service fee options.

Types of fee

There are two main types: interchange plus is transparent, but more complex and tends to be used by larger turnover businesses. However, you will generally pay less using this fee structure. The way it is calculated is:

Interchange plus = interchange fee (%) + Visa or Mastercard scheme fee (% and pence per transaction) + bank processing fee (pence per transaction).

However, it’s important to note that non-chip and pin verified transactions may be subject to higher or additional fees, since they are deemed non-secure by the bank.

The second fee option is known as blended. This is simply a mixture of the above; however, blended fees may include a set percentage of non-secure fees. This may not work out to your advantage if payments are largely made in the showroom.

My advice is to not just accept the blended rate (many providers will automatically offer this to independents), but also ask providers to calculate an interchange plus rate.

A good card payments company will be able to guide you as to which type of fee is appropriate for your business in plain language.

In all cases, I recommend that you ask suppliers to support their offer with an estimation of fees based upon your own payment history, and if they can’t be this transparent with their pricing, don’t use them.

What’s included?

Other things to consider when comparing providers include:

  • Do they incorporate a transaction authorisation charge or is this an additional fee?
  • Do they offer support with PCI compliance?
  • Will you pay a joining fee and can they offer different settlement terms?

You should compare whether a supplier insists on you buying a new terminal, or if they are willing to support the equipment you are already using (point of sales/website).

Also, check if they provide support at weekends and during evenings, and if so, if out of hours are subject to an additional fee.

Above all, the key to a happy relationship with your card payment supplier is open dialogue. Find out whether they support their customers using human beings or an automated service.

The best providers will give you named contacts that are always only a phone call away. The level of customer service they can offer will make all the difference when something goes wrong at 7.55pm on a Thursday night.

Want to find about what Christer Holloman, CEO of Divido, has to say about the advantages of offering POS finance?

Or, read more financial topics pertinent to independent kitchen and bathroom business.

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Pictured – Nick Healy, managing director of Suresite, which has been established for over 20 years. Its clients include UK-focused companies, major multinational clients and independent retailers