Most of the time, seasonal businesses are charged larger fees for processing credit card transactions than their year-round counterparts.
A Comprehensive Guide for Seasonal Businesses on Processing Credit Card
- Providers of merchant account services usually enable seasonal companies to save and facilitate payments made through debit and credit cards.
- When considering a merchant account company to support payments for your seasonal business, you need to evaluate their price points, PCI compliance, charges, and so on.
- Check with the merchant account company for their business working hours, payment processing periods, payment methods, customer service support, and contract duration.
- This article provides useful information for owners of seasonal companies to reduce the fees for processing credit card transactions.
It is usually a challenging thing for a business owner to select a suitable processing company for credit card transactions. The providers might demand more fees for online credit card processing, early account closure, or even choosing a lower subscriber plan.
Seasonal businesses usually have to pay higher processing fees for credit card transactions compared to businesses that work all year. Looking for a suitable card payment company for seasonal businesses might help you get lesser service fees and prevent further charges.
What Does a Provider of a Merchant Account Do?
An important thing to note is that the merchant account works as a different account (from your business account) which is used to collect all cash paid to you by the customer.
The provider for the business merchant account will create the merchant account on your behalf, enabling you to collect payments through debit and credit cards, and will eventually send down the money to a dedicated company account for your company.
Payment Service Business Providers (PSPs)
Small-scale businesses do not usually need to get their own private merchant account for the processing of their debit or credit cards. This is one reason you need to think about using a business card payment provider for a seasonal business.
In the case of PSPs, the business account gets “operated along with other accounts from different merchants” rather than getting a designated merchant ID. Then your charges from a personal account can accumulate if you are not careful. This might end up costing you additional fees more than debit and credit card transactions which in this case may be a good investment to locate a payment gateway.
With PSPs rather than pay annually, businesses are expected to pay on a monthly basis. This can attract lower service charges. But, PSP business accounts have more vulnerability to restrictions. There is also the danger of being closed or suspended in the case of fraud. This might be a difficult problem when a business depends on customers who pay with debit/credit cards.
Natural Merchant Accounts
For companies that need to get their own typical merchant account, they will get their individual merchant ID. This means that your business will be identified to banks as well as other card payment organizations rather than being given an aggregated merchant accounts. Based on a report from Merchant Maverick, providers of merchant account services offer a series of supporting services like PCI security scanning, personalized payment systems for digital payments, ACH channel (e-check) support payments, and other services.
This makes it possible for the account to detect and prevent fraudulent businesses. However, one disadvantage for businesses looking to have their own typical accounts is higher fees. Other relatively bigger businesses or the ones that get bigger payments through cards than cash would get more from such accounts because of the secured system that minimizes the dangers of forfeiting such an account for payment.
Key takeaway: Providers of merchant account like PSPs and natural merchant accounts give businesses the ability to capture and facilitate customers’ payments through debit and credit cards growing your network using partnerships can also be beneficial.
Features for Consideration
Seasonal businesses are able to reduce account maintenance charges by studying undisclosed fees and by looking for a provider which gives businesses a choice to choose their services and the availability of multiple plans. The following points are some of the considerations seasonal businesses should put in perspective when on the lookout for a company account provider for your business.
A lot of providers of merchant accounts offer just only a single plan, which might be harsh on seasonal companies due to the additional fees. A majority of the providers will usually charge more for account closure or leave it active during the off-season.
This might lead to seasonal businesses getting fined with exorbitant fees for maintenance. It is necessary to find a provider which offers various plans. Also, it is truthful with the associated fees and the services of the plan.
Another thing to consider is that seasonal businesses will not have a use for every service that comes with the bigger plans. Certain providers, like Fattmerchant, for instance, charge businesses a flat monthly fee that covers all card payment processing that affects the business.
Fattmerchant offers several available pricing packages, which depend on the needs of the business and your yearly monetary processing amount, which is why it is such a good selection for seasonal companies.
Certain packages attract flat fees charged for all completed processing. However, packages with just a flat transaction charge and monthly fee also exist. Fattmerchant is a provider that you can trust and allows you to choose the fees, plans, and services that you get.
Seasonal businesses with low-volume accounts might want to consider meeting a provider that has flat-rate plans—the providers who have plans with a flat charge. Businesses whose accounts are higher in volume may be looking to use providers that have an interchange-plus option for payment. This makes it possible for you to make the interchange fee put in place by the credit card companies.
It is not easy for providers of business account to just activate or deactivate them. These providers usually lookout for seasonal companies as sources that unreliable. Therefore, providers will usually charge huge fees for account maintenance even when there has not been any payment or a larger amount of money for early account termination.
Seasonal companies looking to terminate their accounts in the offseason will have to choose a provider that doesn’t charge a fee for early termination of the account.
The provider of the merchant account can also charge various other fee types. When you use a provider, there shall always be fees paid by your business for services, which could be every month, every year, every two years, or a fixed charge decided by your account provider.
Also, you will be needed to pay interchange fees that are decided on by the provider of your credit card services, overlooking eCommerce integration can come at quite a cost.
Companies looking to facilitate debit or credit card payments are expected to pay the necessary interchange fees, and these vary due to your card type. Debit cards come with a lesser interchange fee when compared to credit cards.
Businesses who choose a natural merchant account company will pay an additional fee after paying the interchange. The extra fee is the fee from the processing. Payline comes with a calculator that helps you estimate the fees for processing the payment. This calculator is present on the website.
On this same website, you can input the credit card method, the average amount of transactions, and your expected processing volume per month. You get an estimated charge per month for processing, card brand-based average fees, fees per month, and the markups assessed by Payline.
Online and in-Person
A majority of the providers of merchant account accept both online card and in-person payments. It is essential that you are clear on your payment acceptance methods. A majority of providers accept more fees for online or keyed-in payments when compared to swiped cards.
Certain providers like Square charge its users 2.75% for debit or swiped credit cards. It also accepts about 3.5% on the keyed-in payment debit or credit card. Payline users get charged a reduced rate of about 0.25% on the swiped cards. The same charge also applies to its swiped debit cards.
Also, the provider charges between 1.71% and 1.91% for the swiped credit cards. These rates also apply for the keyed-in credit cards. To help reduce costs, it is better to check these rates, particularly as they vary with different providers.
For small-scale businesses, they might want to get a provider who uses a POS device/terminal. These might be pretty expensive to purchase or updated if it comes with separate costs. Certain providers charge more fees for buying, returning, or replacing terminals. When it comes to online transactions, businesses might want to look into what being vendor agnostic entails, as it can offer many benefits to both business owners and customers.
For CDG Commerce, users will get a good POS terminal with any one of its plans. Available plans include one for a $39 monthly fee or a $79 monthly fee with the option for protection in case of equipment replacement.
For online and e-commerce businesses, it would be better to think about the provider that offers payment gateway and POS systems. Shopify is perfect for online-based businesses; it comes with its own POS payment app that processes card payments using a swiper tool that can be attached easily to a tablet or mobile device.
It is also able to gain entry to your store online. Shopify is the perfect choice for seasonal businesses looking to accept in-person payments or payments via online channels and/or smart devices.
The payment gateway for Shopify means Shopify Payments. People who prefer to use a payment gateway from a different provider get charged additional transaction charges by Shopify.
Based on a report by Otava, “a hosting provider that is PCI compliant will have to provide multiple amounts of defense and a safe model for data protection which combines both virtual and physical security methods.
By virtual security, we mean features like authentication, passwords, authorization, etc. In terms of the physical security, we have limited access policies and locks for storage, server, and network systems.”
Merchants looking to get more secured data and business transactions will have to get a merchant account that is PCI-compliant.
If you have a PCI-compliant provider, it should enable a more secured network, protect the card data of the customer, keep a secured network through antivirus software; why also having a procedure to secure business information.
Among the services offered by providers, one important feature that you will want to access from them is customer service. For seasonal businesses, you will want to get a provider that is always available just in case you need to ask questions, solve problems, and instruct customers on the processes involved in opening and closing accounts.
CDG Commerce, Shopify, and Fattmerchant all offer users 24/7 business technical assistance. CDG Commerce works with a reliable family-owned account provider. This makes it possible for it to concentrate on client care services and the improvement of services to satisfy the needs of clients.
The company also promises its clients streamlined transparency, security, control, and a loyal workforce for business growth.
Shopify is happy to let prospective clients know about their various support channels – telephone, live chat, and email – whereas Fattmerchant is proud of its real-time over-the-telephone human communication service.
Key takeaway: If you are choosing to get a provider of a merchant account for the seasonal business, you should think about the provider’s fees, pricing plans, PCI compliance, and other services.
Questions You Need to Ask the Merchant Account Company
Besides getting to know the account features from the provider, you might want to also know more from the provider by getting an answer to these questions:
- When was the company established? The ability for a merchant account company to cater to the credit card payment demands of your company increases with how long they have been in operation.
- What is the estimated amount of time for the processing of a credit card transaction? In certain cases, it can last from one to three days for this to be done. Though the processing time usually depends on whether the customer through in-person or online magstripe, NFC, or EMV payments, the provider of the merchant account services should have the capacity to produce more details.
- Can the company produce references to external clients? One sure way to be certain if your prospective merchant account company is suitable for you is to consult with other seasonal companies that use the services of your provider. Ask the prospective provider for any references, and also try to contact the businesses to get insights from their experiences dealing with this provider.
- What are the supported payment services? There are certain providers of merchant account that might support EMV and magstripe payments and not through NFC because the NFC technology compared to the others is relatively new. Think about the types of payment that your company is looking to accept while you compare different providers of merchant account services.
- What is the nature of your customer support service? 24/7 business phone support could be ideal, but this is not offered by all companies. Ask to no know-how easily and quickly you can get to the provider in the case of any issues or questions.
- What is the duration of your contracts? Most of the time, service contracts for merchant accounts come with terms of three years which renew automatically for either one year or two. But then again, it might be preferable if your company go select the monthly terms plan with no option of “fees for early termination.”
You should request this format of questions from your provider if this is what suits your business. There is no room for negotiation because, after all, providers of merchant account want new clients – including your company.