How to Choose a Merchant Card Processor

September 25, 2018 Admin

How to Choose a Merchant Card Processor

For most business owners, it won’t come as a surprise to learn that nearly 66% of all in-person transactions involve plastic. That’s why choosing a merchant card processor, the “link” between your business and the credit card networks, is so important. Without a processor, you can’t accept debit or credit payments. What’s more, the right processor enhances your customer’s experience, increases their satisfaction, and brings in more money for you in the long run.


Many factors determine pricing, including the number of transactions you process, how those payments are accepted (i.e. online, in-person), and the kinds of cards you want to accept. It’s important to know your current and projected level of transactions to receive accurate pricing from potential vendors. Find contractors that charge a flat fee and don’t lock you into a contract. If you think you’re not getting the whole story, it’s essential to investigate further and trust your instincts.

Cash Flow

Processors use different systems that affect the time it takes for funds to reach your bank account. Make sure you know when you can expect your money to be deposited to maximize your cash flow.

Systems Integration

You’ll want to connect your current POS and accounting systems, CRM, or ERP software to your merchant card processor. With a fully integrated system, you’ll save time, labor, and money on migrations that would otherwise have to be done manually. Carefully evaluate your current and future needs, and be sure the system you choose works best to meet them.

Customer Service and Support

Many owners accidentally overlook customer service because the sole focus is on getting the job done. There will be a time when you need to access customer support and talk to an actual person, not an automated system. Use a payment processor that offers 24/7 customer support with live agents. This will decrease frustration for both you and your customers.

Security, Fraud Protection, and PCI Compliance

40% of all financial fraud is credit card-related. Therefore you need to make sure customers feel comfortable using your payment processor. You’ll want a merchant card processor that uses tokenization, meaning it translates credit card data into a token that is indecipherable without the key. This way, hackers can’t steal the information.

All businesses must certify that they are PCI compliant, meaning they meet industry requirements to store credit card information securely.

Payment Gateway

A payment gateway lets you accept online payments, saving you time and money and giving your customers more flexible options to pay. Choose a payment gateway that you can integrate with your financial software, complete with unlimited transaction history, custom reports, and secure data tokenization.

The bottom line is that choosing your merchant card processor is as important a decision as any you make. Take the time to talk to other business owners, conduct online research, and analyze the “fine print” of proposals you receive. Taking the time to do your homework will pay off in making the best choice for your business.

Trust Citizens State Bank

A successful business starts with a strong team. Here at Citizens State Bank, we are honored to be part of that team for so many established and emerging business owners and would like the opportunity to do the same for you. You can also visit our business resources hub for more content related to small business financing.

Running a business comes with challenges. At Citizens State Bank, we work to understand your business goals and needs, tailoring your business financial planning to what works best for you.

If you have any questions about merchant card processing, don’t hesitate to contact one of our Citizens Bank customer service team members. Our team has over 200 years of business lending experience, and is happy to give you advice, no strings attached. You can also visit our blog for more tips and advice about small business banking.

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The views, information, or opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Citizens State Bank and its affiliates, and Citizens State Bank is not responsible for and does not verify the accuracy of any information contained in this article or items hyperlinked within. This is for informational purposes and is no way intended to provide legal advice.

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