Taking credit card payments is the best way to ensure that customers have an easy way to pay and that you get paid quickly. But accepting credit cards isn’t always easy for small business owners — especially those just starting. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be complicated! You can take many steps before signing up for a merchant account or installing payment processing hardware (or software). This guide will help you decide if it’s right for your business to accept credit cards, how to get started, and what choices are available to you as a merchant. Let’s walk through them one at a time.
Step 1: Determine Which Types Of Credit Cards You Can Accept
Before accepting credit cards, it’s important to understand the different types of cards.
- Credit card: A credit card is a payment method where users are given credit to make purchases on an open line of credit. The user then pays off the balance with interest over time.
- Debit card: A debit card works much the same way as a check. When you swipe your debit card at a point-of-sale terminal, money is automatically deducted from your checking account and deposited into the merchant’s account.
- Prepaid Card: This type of payment device is similar to its cousin, the debit card but differs in one major way—it does not receive funds directly from an individual’s bank account but rather from another source such as employer or government benefits programs (food stamps) or through direct deposit by employers, which makes them ideal for those who may have trouble getting approved for traditional credit cards due to low income or poor credit history but still need something better than cash transactions while they rebuild their financial history so they can eventually qualify for standard accounts down the road!
Step 2: Prepare Your Business To Accept Credit Cards
Next, you’ll need to make sure your business is prepared for credit card transactions—and that’s only if you want to accept them. If your business has a brick-and-mortar storefront, it may be easier for your customers to pay with cash or check than on the spot with plastic.
If you’re planning on accepting credit cards online, though, you’ll need a secure website that can handle the transaction. Your web developer should be able to help with this type of setup.
In addition, it’s important that all applicable laws are followed when accepting credit cards online.
Step 3: Choose A Merchant Account Provider And Payment Gateway
Now that you’ve done your research and set a budget, it’s time to choose a merchant account provider that offers the right mix of services and rates. The right provider will have a strong reputation for security, fraud protection, and good customer service.
The first step in choosing the right provider is checking out their website. Make sure it is easy to navigate and provides all the information you need before signing up. Also, check reviews online or ask around to find out if other local businesses have had good experiences with them too!
Step 4: Sign Up For A Merchant Account
Once you’ve decided on the provider you want to work with, it’s time to start setting up the merchant account. This is a fairly straightforward process, but there are some things you’ll need to know before starting:
- You can only sign up for a merchant account if your EIN (Employer Identification Number) and physical address are set up.
- The provider will provide hardware and software that allows your business to process credit card transactions. They’ll also provide training so that employees can use these systems effectively.
Step 5: Install The Payment Processing Hardware (Or Software)
If you’re unfamiliar with installing hardware, this may be a good time to call a professional. However, if you’re comfortable with doing so, installing the hardware yourself is possible. You’ll need to find an appropriate location for your card reader—you’ll want it accessible but out of sight. Also, consider how easy it will be to plug in and remove. You can buy card readers at most electronics stores or online; they come with instructions on how to set them up and often include batteries as well. If you don’t want to deal with wires hanging around your business, wireless credit card terminals are another option that lets customers pay without needing cables between devices!