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It's Easy For Small Business Want To Accept Credit Cards

If you are a small business in today’s consumer-driven world, you understand the need to accept credit cards as payments for customer purchases. In fact, offering the ability to accept credit is no longer an option, it is a necessity, especially when you consider that according to a recent report at CreditCards.com as of the end of 2010, there were an estimated 488 million credit cards in circulation in the U.S. Add to that the number of debit cards out there, and the total comes in at roughly 520 million cards. With over 176 million buyers using those cards on a regular basis every year, what business can afford not to accept credit cards?

But what happens to many small businesses is they realize they need to accept credit, but are unsure how to go about it. With so many options available today it’s important to do your homework.

Here are tips to finding the right merchant account provider for your small business:

1) A good starting point is to first outline what your needs are now, and what you anticipate them to be as you continue to expand your business. Pay special attention to how your customers currently buy products or services and where you generally meet your clients. Do your clients visit your shop, buy out in the field, on your website, etc.? Knowing this helps you decide on the type of credit card processing plan you need. For example, a small business that operates solely in a traditional store or office setting, will have different needs than say a business that operates out in the field such as massage therapists, trade show and flea market vendors, artists, electricians, landscapers, etc. And these needs will differ from the business that solely does work online. Knowing this ensures you get exactly what you need to make it work.

2) After you know what your needs are, research options and features and then compare providers in order to determine the best online credit card processing company for your business. You now know how your buyers buy from you, so consider what methods of payment would work best for you. Determine if you need to accept credit cards over the phone, need swipe capabilities, a virtual terminal, etc.

3) If you want to accept payments over the phone, look for a company that offers cell phone processing as well as credit card processing on the popular smart phones such as iPhones, Droids and Blackberrys. Also, keep in mind that even if your business doesn’t regularly work out in the field, you can benefit with the ability to accept credit over the phone. According to industry association CTIA as quoted recently in Sun Sentinel, wireless data revenues totaled $46 billion in 2010, up from 41.5 billion in 2009 and 32.3 billion in 2008. That being the case, using a mobile card processing system can increase overall sales revenue for your company; some sources report by as much as 30-100%. Now that’s what you need to grow your business.

4) While comparing companies, look to see what additional options are available. One example of this might be swipe capabilities for your cell phone. This allows easy processing by swiping the credit card rather than entering the card numbers by hand. Not all companies offer this; so if mobile credit card processing is important for your business, find one that does.

5) Also, take into consideration your invoicing needs. Do you need online invoicing capabilities that will allow customers to easily create, track, and send invoices and accept credit card payments instantly.

6) Rates are also an important consideration. Make sure you compare rates to make sure that you are getting the best company for your needs. Also, look for the overall pricing. Many companies promise the lowest rates, but when you factor in all the extras you actually end up paying much more. A few select companies (such as CellCharge, Inc.) will give you a comparison of your current rates and what they offer to see if they can provide better coverage. That’s a great way to determine that you are getting the best possible rate for your needs.  

7) Lastly, look for the providers that offer ease of setup, great customer service and tech support, and a variety of products and features to best serve the needs of your particular business.

The bottom line is that it’s not enough to offer great products and services. You need to make it easy for your customers to do business with you. Using the right credit card processing company is one way to ensure that you are providing your customers with the best service available. Remember, look for the best online credit card processing company by reviewing all that they offer, then sign up, and begin growing your business today.

Cell Charge specializes in setting up merchant accounts to accept credit cards via phone (including smart phones) and other means. Perfect for small businesses & other businesses that want the convenience of offering their clients credit card processing anywhere, anytime.

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