Part of being a small business owner is accepting the fact that in order to accept payments via credit cards, you will have to pay a processing fee. Merchant companies generally charge up to five percent on all of the proceeds you gain from sales made with plastic. That includes the cost of processing and interchange, as well as transaction fees.

If you think that simply choosing to refuse to take credit cards is a good idea, you would certainly be bucking the trend. In fact, Javelin Strategy and Research predicts that a mere 23 percent of point-of-sale transactions will be conducted in cash by 2017. Meanwhile, credit card purchases will rise from 29 to 33 percent by that same year.

It isn’t true that making the choice to accept plastic necessarily has to mean that your business hemorrhages money. With some patience, care and strong research, you can reduce these fees.

Do Your Homework Before You Choose A Credit Card Processor

There are a lot of fish in the sea when it comes to credit card machines for small business owners. Prices vary widely, as do the levels of service. Some merchants may offer a price that is attractive, while also hiding undisclosed fees that you can only find through careful reading of the contract before you sign it. When searching for the processor that’s best for you, begin with a basic Google search. Once you find some viable candidates, go to the website of the Better Business Bureau to check if they are fully accredited and find out if any customers have complained about them. When you have a list of acceptable possibilities, ask the following questions:

  • Including all fees, what is the total rate?
  • Are there penalties for canceling?
  • Is it required that you sign a contract?
  • Are there any fees for service, statements or applications?

Don’t be afraid to talk candidly with merchants.

Avoid Manual Entry

To save costs, swiping is always preferable over manual entry. This is because putting in a customer’s card information by hand can result in mistakes. Moreover, criminals frequently use this method to make purchases when they do not have the physical card.

The truth is that most people strongly prefer to make their purchases with credit or debit cards. Cash is becoming the reel-to-reel tape of the small business community. Accommodate this preference by accepting credit cards, but stay smart. With a little planning and information-gathering, you can bring the associated fees down to a manageable level.

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