Our ancestors first paid for goods and services by barter, but as trade flourished between communities and continents, there came a need for having a universal medium of exchange. Money allowed for faster and easier business transactions. Metal was first used as money in 5,000 B.C., and coins were introduced only in 700 B.C . in Lydia. Paper money was first used in China in 618 A.D, and it would be centuries later, in the 1800’s, that people would learn to exchange goods through credit. Celluloids were an example of this. Then, in 1950, Frank McNamara and his partner, Ralph Schneider, paid their bill at a restaurant using a small card, as an alternative to cash – this was the first credit card.
In less than 7 decades since it first debuted, the credit card is now the preferred mode of payment for over a third of Americans. Even more people than that would rather pay with a debit card. Only less than a tenth of Americans now prefer paying in cash. For modern businesses to survive and thrive, they must be able to accept payments through credit card.
When people make purchases through credit cards, stores don’t deal directly with the customers’ credit card companies. This is where Merchant Services come in – they act as a middleman between businesses and credit card companies to make shopping as smooth and hassle-free as possible for the customers.
For businesses looking for Merchant Services to process their card transactions, there are factors you must look into before choosing the Best Merchant Services for your business. What may be the best for one may not hold true for the other. Consider the following:
The cost of these Merchant Services will depend on the pricing model used: Flat Rate, Tiered Pricing, and Cost-Plus Pricing. Flat-rate pricing is ideal for businesses that do not process high volumes per month. While this may cost more per transaction, a business is usually not required to pay ancillary fees. Tiered Pricing is the most commonly used model, although it has been criticized for lacking in transparency, with lots of hidden costs.Cost-Plus pricing is most beneficial for established businesses with large transactions, and is recommended by industry experts.
Are you dealing with a reputable company or agent? This is the first thing to consider when looking for the Best Merchant Services. Can you trust them to be transparent when it comes to fees and terms of service? Will they lead you to the right direction in choosing the pricing model that’s best for your business? If anything goes wrong, can you rely on them to immediately answer your queries and help you in sorting problems out?
Before you get a Merchant Service for your business, make sure to do research, inquire, compare, and repeat. Remember: this single decision you make can affect the rise – or fall – of your business.