Choosing An Effective Merchant Account For Your Retail Business

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Operating a retail establishment is no simple task. It requires a whole lot of work and upkeep. When you are the boss, the success or failure of your business depends on your cleverness and business savvy. Your customers and employees rely on you to make the smart choices that will lead to the prosperity of your business. The only problem is you just can't do it alone. Sure, there are many things you may be good at, but there are also a few times when you may need a helping hand.

This is where a merchant account comes in. These business experts can assist you with all sorts of techniques to help grow and expand your establishment. But before you can get signed up with the right merchant services account, you need to know what options are out there for you. You can't exactly go shopping around for an account when you don't even know what they might provide. Here are a few things you may want to look for in a merchant account provider.

Expedited Check Processing

Since the advent of checks, this form of payment has been a risky proposition for business owners. Unless you actually know the person passing the check, you have no recourse if it ends up "bouncing." For many business owners, this is a risk they just aren't willing to take. And yet, when you pass up an opportunity for a form of payment, you also may be missing out on a sale. With a merchant account provider you can sign up for a program where every check you receive will be guaranteed.

That means you'll never have to worry about that dreaded "insufficient funds" notification ever again. But that's not all. Merchant account providers can also expedite the payment so you receive the money faster than just dropping it off at the bank. They will also provide you with equipment that allows you to digitize your checks. That way, you aren't dealing with stacks of paperwork in your record room either.

Gift and Loyalty Card Programs

One of the keys to success in any business is getting new customers, and keeping the ones you already have. Gift and loyalty card programs are fantastic ways to do this. Gift cards serve as a way for your clients to share their shopping experience with others. That translates to new customers walking in your door. Not only that, but gift cards can raise money in other ways too. Most people never end up using all of the money on their cards, or they don't redeem them at all! In both of these cases, you end up with free money.

Loyalty cards are great ways to keep people shopping exclusively at your establishment. They give customers incentives to come back again and again rather than frequenting the competition. Your account provider will assist you with setting up the perfect loyalty card program for your business.

Credit Card Solutions

In today's modern age, credit card acceptance is quickly becoming a necessity for businesses of all sizes. No longer can you just send people out to find an ATM to get cash. Customers might do that once, but the inconvenience will cause them to do their shopping elsewhere after a while. Luckily, merchant account providers have a wide variety of affordable credit card solutions. Retail swipe terminals are by far the cheapest and most common type of credit card acceptance.

Many business owners are leery of switching to accepting credit cards because they fear excessive fees. However, studies show that very few instances of fraud occur when people make a purchase in person. Hence, your business does not have to pay much of a fee for these transactions. If your retail business is not stuck in one particular location, you can even have your account provider supply you with wireless terminals. Wireless terminals are ideal for delivery drivers, ice cream trucks and any business that has to head out on the road.

Even if your business takes you to obscure places far and wide, you can still count on a wireless swipe terminal. Many of these have a "save and forward" function that allows you to swipe a card and save the information when you are outside of a coverage area. You can simply send the information later on. Virtual terminals are another great way to accept credit cards.

These are convenient for businesses that accept a lot of orders over the phone. Since you can't physically swipe the card, a virtual terminal allows you to log on to a secure website and simply enter the pertinent card information. These are just a few of the many ways that a merchant account can help your retail business. While shopping around, be sure to ask about all the many different ways that your business can expand by teaming up with a merchant account.

Stephanie Washer is a freelance writer who writes about a range of topics including merchant accounts.

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