5 ways that a merchant account delivers better results for small businesses, and what you can expect once you sign up with a payments provider.Read more
18 November 2021
Small business owners have so many competing priorities when it comes to doing business efficiently and effectively. To increase sales, improve customer service, and challenge competitors, you need to make it easier for your customers to do business with you. One important consideration available to small businesses is to offer convenient and flexible ways for customers to pay for products and services by accepting card payments in person or online. To do this, you need a merchant account.
Setting up a merchant account is not just about giving customers the facility to pay by card, and smart business owners understand that they need to get the best value possible when selecting a payments provider. Whilst a merchant account can be set up in a matter of days, realising the full potential of your merchant account can easily be overlooked.
In this article, we outline 5 ways that a merchant account delivers better results for small businesses and what you can expect once you sign up with a payments provider.
Make it easy for customers to transact with you by giving them the opportunity to pay securely by card, either online or in person. Whether you have a market stall, an eCommerce website, or a business that has traditionally dealt in cash only, customers today expect to be able to pay for goods and services with their credit or debit card. Existing customers will benefit from having more ways to pay, and the credibility that comes with accepting card payments can attract new customers.
If you are a start-up trading online or offline, it is worth bearing in mind that 67% of customers now expect brick-and-mortar stores to accept contactless payments, therefore the question is not if you should take card payments but how. With a merchant account, you can take card payments in person, online, or over the phone.
Businesses who do not offer the facility to pay by card may be perceived as outdated, or out of touch. When setting up a merchant account, small business owners have to prove that they are a legitimate business that can be trusted. Potential customers are more likely to transact with businesses that have a degree of legitimacy, and this alone can lead to a broader customer base and increased sales. Furthermore, with the contactless limit at £100 currently, customers are able to spend more in one transaction using their card.
Setting up a merchant account is just the first step in improving how you do business. Your account will give you access to a full portfolio of products, services, and offers that have been designed with your unique business challenges in mind. Talk to potential payment providers to find out what additional products and services you could benefit from when you set up a merchant account.
For example, if cash flow is a concern and you would prefer not to wait the typical 3 to 5 days for card payments to reach your account, for a small monthly fee you can get your money on the same or next day.
If you are storing, processing, or transmitting cardholder or sensitive authentication data, Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) applies to you. It is important to renew your PCI compliance annually, as the financial implications of a security breach can destroy your business. All acquirers impose financial penalties for non-compliance. Payment providers know what you need to do to be compliant and a small monthly fee will ensure that you don’t have to worry.
When you run a small business you need to keep on top of your accounts to operate effectively. With a merchant account, details of all card transactions are provided in your monthly statements, helping you to maintain accurate accounts and understand where your sales are coming from. Access to accurate sales data can provide invaluable insight when it comes to understanding your customers, making decisions about your product offering, and monitoring sales trends.
A good starting point is to familiarise yourself with the hardware that is available to ascertain the best fit for your business. Our website covers card machines for small businesses in great detail.