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Payment Processing Service Advice for Small Business Owners |®

4 Telltale Signs You May Need Help with Your Payment Processing Service


All is well at your small business when, suddenly, you notice an employee swipe a customer’s card multiple times and then look up for help. Is there a card error or is the payment terminal down again?

Few situations bring a small retail business to a stop like technology issues — or, more specifically, faulty payment processing equipment with sub-par service to back it up. Learn from these common payment technology issues to help you choose and partner with the right merchant services provider.

Sign #1: Unreliable or Faulty Equipment

Perhaps you’ve known about some wear and tear to your payment terminals since the start of business, and maybe the previous business owner even mentioned that some of the payment devices needed updating. Adding troubleshooting or even updating this equipment to your important list of to-do’s is not something that any store owner wants to do. In fact, addressing these issues before they arise is probably the very thing you expect your current service provider to do for you.

When you identify that your payment equipment features and functions are unreliable and hard to use, it may be time to consider other options. And when you do, you want to be sure your new service provider offers a level of service that will prevent these situations in the first place.

Sign #2: First Statement Charges Do Not Match Original Offer

Another common sign that you may want to seek a new provider is that the once-proclaimed “great and unbeatable offer” you received from your current provider suddenly reflects various hidden, back-end or excessive charges. These can include manual transaction fees, monthly services fees, recurring payments or equipment leasing, just to name a few.

Keep a record of the original contract as a means to compare the services you accepted against future bills. Review the contract again and highlight all important key points, especially the cancellation of service clause to maintain your proactive edge. When in doubt, never hesitate to contact your service provider for clarification and correction requests to unreasonable fees or services you did not authorize. And if you repeatedly find inconsistencies in fees, it may be time to reevaluate and seek help from a specialist or new merchant services provider.

Sign #3: Unexpected Rate Increases

Even if all services align with your original contract, you may find unexpected rate increases. For example, if your monthly minimum requirement is not met or your business had excessive chargeback fees this month, some service providers deem that such charges are subject to additional fees or “downgraded rates.”

Once you’ve identified the need to seek help and explore other options, you can avoid similar situations with your new payment processing services provider by ensuring that any new contract you sign also protects you and the pricing your business has been quoted. Or, even better, simply seek a service provider that does not enroll you into a contract at all. Many business owners are surprised to find that there are options that not only guarantee rates and fees for a period of time, but also offer contract-free processing. Do your homework, ask a lot of questions and, if you are still unsure, seek help from a specialist or another knowledgeable source you feel you can trust.

Sign #4: Customer Service & Technical Support Are Missing in Action

Lastly, it’s a clear sign that it’s time to replace your merchant services provider if customer service and technical support seem out of reach. Whether this comes to light after you manually troubleshoot the payment processing equipment yourself or when you’re simply unable to get help understanding your statement, a lack of service and communication from your provider should be an immediate red flag.

While establishing a direct connection with the same customer service representative or technical support agent may help, you must first establish communication to do so. If you choose to seek out new services after identifying this as the problem, be sure to ask about things like dedicated account agents, after-hours support and other available resources.

The right service provider for your business is one that guarantees continual, prompt and accurate 24/7 support from an experienced staff to steer your business clear of delayed assistance when you need it most.

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