How to Choose the Payment Products and Services That Are Right for Your Business Needs and Long-Term Goals

So you’ve decided it’s time to start accepting credit and debit cards but you would rather not have to speak with a sales agent just to determine the type of payment services you need. With the simple quiz below, you may not have to.

Get a better understanding of which payment solutions best fit your business by answering these six easy questions. If you’re not currently accepting credit cards at your business, select the answer that best fits the way you currently take payments.

1. In which way do you most often accept customer payment?

A)     Face to face at your business

B)     Over the phone or via mail orders

C)     At customer locations or “on the go”

2. Which of the following do you currently have at your business?

A)     Credit card terminal or POS system

B)     A computer with software to accept payments

C)     Smartphone, tablet or other wireless device

3. Which of the following best describes what your business offers?

A)     A variety of retail products

B)     “Niche”/specialty products limited to only a few items

C)     Consumer services or consulting

4. What other types of programs do you need or want at your business?

A)     Gift certificates or gift cards

B)     Automatic recurring payments for your goods or services

C)     None of the above

5. What new technology have you heard about regarding payment products that would be important to your business needs?

A)     Terminals that can take Google Wallet or EMV cards

B)     Software on your PC that allows you to add a device to swipe cards

C)     Access to view business transactions on your phone

6. What best describes your immediate business goals?

A)     My business is ready for quick growth. Bring it on!

B)     I want to grow, but slow and steady wins the race

C)     I have all the business I can handle for now

If more than three of your answers were A: You are probably a business that takes payments primarily face to face with your customers who has little or no need to accept payments by phone or through the mail. A more traditional “countertop-style solution” for accepting payments is likely the best fit for you. “Countertop Solutions” typically consist of a credit card terminal or point-of-sale device with a card swipe or “chip” reader, paper receipt printer and good expansion capabilities to add services such as gift or loyalty cards as your business grows.

If more than three of your answers were B: You are most likely a consumer services–oriented business that would be a great candidate for what is referred to as a “Virtual Terminal Payment Solution.” While you sometimes take payments face to face, having the ability to securely run transactions on your PC with options for automated recurring billing and manually entered card numbers is often the simplest and most efficient way to manage your business payments. A Virtual Terminal Solution can often provide a lower upfront cost for equipment, while also giving you flexibility in how and when you accept payments, while also offering advanced solutions for service-based (i.e., frequent, long-term) payments.

If more than three of your answers are C: You are most likely a good fit for a mobile payment solution. You probably find that many of the payments you receive today are either at the customer location, or away from your business’s “back office.” With advancements in mobile technology such as smartphone and tablet devices, and many readily available payment apps designed to accept credit and debit card payments, a mobile payment solution can allow you to ensure less expensive and more secure face-to-face customer transactions anywhere your smartphone currently goes. Many mobile payment solutions are even beginning to offer advanced functionality such as inventory tracking and customer sale history to help you keep track of all of your business payment needs on the go.

The Bottom Line

Understand, there is never a perfect “one-size-fits-all” payment solution for everyone. Your business is unique and is only limited by your imagination. Therefore, it will often have unique payment needs.

However, understanding your closest fit can help you to establish good conversations with potential service providers and ensure that you are off to the right start. Understanding the common options that are offered can also help to relieve many concerns about taking electronic payments in the first place.

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