Seven Ways to Lower Your Monthly Processing Costs
The holiday season is almost upon us, and a lot of our merchants will be processing more transactions and higher volume. One of the easiest ways to reduce processing expenses is to process your business’ transactions correctly. Here are a few small steps that could save your business big this holiday season:
1. Upgrade to EMV if you have not already. The rules and regulations regarding EMV implementation have been in effect for over a year now, but some merchants are still swiping chip cards. Inserting, or “dipping”, the new chip cards provides you and your customers with more security, not less. Not having an EMV-ready terminal also makes you liable for any fraudulent or disputed transactions.
2. Avoid hand-keying transactions where possible. It is less costly to insert or swipe a credit card than it is to manually enter a card number. If you are entering a card number because your terminal is no longer accepting the physical card, call your merchant services provider for technical support.
If it happens to be time for you to purchase a new terminal, that will still be less expensive than continuing to key in transactions if you don’t need to. However, if you cannot avoid processing hand-keyed transactions, or it is necessary to your business, be sure to enter the AVS (address verification) information for each transaction. By not entering this information, your processing fees will be even higher, and your transactions will be less secure.
3. Be PCI compliant. PCI compliance is not intended to be a buzzword or a once-a-year checkup. It was designed to be a conscious, ongoing effort. In addition to monthly noncompliance fees, merchants could face large fines and fees from Visa and MasterCard if a data-breach or security compromise occurs when the merchant is out of compliance.
If you are unsure of your PCI compliance status, contact your merchant services provider. For more information on PCI, visit AMG PCI.
4. Reduce chargebacks where possible. Even the most security-conscious merchants can face chargebacks. Having a clear return policy, training employees on proper transactional security measures, and preserving all transaction documentation for 3-6 months can help reduce the risk of chargebacks.
5. Avoid common merchant account scams. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Be wary of any salespersons who claim that they can get you a better deal or a free credit card terminal. This “better deal” and “free terminal” can end up costing you thousands more in processing costs and fees per year. And, as most business owners know, NOTHING is ever “FREE”! Regardless of who the salesperson claims to represent (whether it is “Visa and/or MasterCard” or “your merchant services company”), always call an official, published company number to verify the salesperson’s legitimacy.
6. Take care of your processing equipment. Whether you have a mobile swiper or a top-of-the-line POS system, your processing equipment is an investment. Mount your credit card terminals onto a countertop or other surface, especially if they are handled frequently. Most importantly, plug your credit card terminal into a surge protector; a power surge WILL destroy the machine beyond repair.
7. Use the proper software and capture additional information. When processing large commercial card (purchasing, business, and corporate cards) transactions, consider upgrading to software that captures additional cardholder information. Also, if you process a large amount of mail/telephone order transactions, use Address Verification Service (AVS) on every transaction.
These few simple tips can help any merchant reduce their overhead – and a lot of potential headaches – this holiday season!
If you are not a client of Advanced Merchant Group and are interested in lowering your monthly processing rate, feel free to call us directly at 877-997-9473 or send us an e-mail.