Top Options in Merchant Service Tools:
A multitude of options makes decision making difficult when you are first setting up your merchant account for credit card processing. However, having plenty of choices also helps you tailor your merchant account tools to suit the way you do business, whether in a mobile format, in a fixed retail location or online. The most popular tools among merchants for credit card processing are payment gateways, physical terminal machines, mobile card readers and virtual terminals. Find out the different features of each below.
Payment Portals: Your Gateway to Online Credit Processing:
A payment portal or gateway routes credit card payments through an online approval process. When a customer completes a shopping cart purchase on your website, your cart sends the encrypted payment information to your payment gateway. The gateway may reformat the data for additional safety before sending it to the payment processors associated with your bank.
This service sends the data along to the appropriate credit card company, such as VISA or American Express. Depending on the card type, the card company may issue a payment approval or denial, or it may send the payment to the issuing bank for an approval decision. The bank or card company sends back an approval code to the payment portal, which sends it to you. Despite all of the steps involved, the entire process typically takes only 2-3 seconds.
Credit Card Terminals for Bricks and Clicks:
If your business accepts both point-of-sale credit card purchases in a physical location (bricks), and online credit card payments (clicks), then a credit card processing terminal and a gateway ensure your ability to process both. Types of terminals include:
If you plan to place your machine in a fixed location where you already have a landline phone connection, a traditional swipe credit card reader is your best option. Swiping a customer’s credit card minimizes the risk of fraud. Also, many merchant services charge a lower transaction fee when you swipe rather than key in a card number. A wireless terminal works wherever you get cell reception, freeing up your landline connection.
Mobile Credit Card Reader - Portability Plus:
Several high profile online credit card processors offer mobile credit card swipers for taking payments on the run. This may be a great option for your business because the free hardware easily connects to your smartphone or other mobile device. A mobile credit card reader comes in handy at busy times when swiping customers’ credit cards is much faster and simpler than copying down data. You must download associated software to your device prior to using your mobile credit card reader.
Virtual Terminals Enable Seamless Transactions:
If you have a desktop, laptop or tablet, you have a virtual credit card terminal. All you need is the software or an online terminal account from your provider and a bank account to receive your processed payments. You pay the processing service for account activation, monthly service and transaction fees. A virtual credit card terminal gives you the versatility to accept payments online and offline as well.
When selecting the accessories that fit the way you do business, keep in mind that as your business changes, you can adjust the way you process credit card payments too. The tools and technology currently available keep your payment portfolio scalable.