Signing up with a credit card processor is a big step for small businesses. It allows small business owners to accept more forms of payment, which in turn drives revenue by making it easier and more appealing for customers to shop in the store. Before signing an agreement with a credit card merchant service processor, however, it is important to get all of your questions answered so that you know you are putting your business in the best position moving forward.
Start by inquiring about and understanding any contract requirements, as well as any processing rates as they relate to various types of cards. Get these rates for all cards, including corporate and rewards cards, in writing, so there are no surprise increases down the road. In addition, talk to your processor about American Express transactions, as well as the procedures for fee deductions from your account and if they offer next day funding. Finally, research a potential processor and consult other small businesses about their merchant solutions so you do not get stuck in a situation that does more harm than good.
10 Questions Every Small Business Must Ask Their Credit Card Processor
Merchant Service Advocate
1) Is there a contract? Can I see the details before signing up?
Never sign a contract for your services, and always read the small print before you sign.
2) what do you charge for rewards and corporate cards as well as debit cards?
• There are usually different costs for debit cards, rewards cards and corporate cards, but some processors will only quote you the lower rates.
• Make sure to get in writing or check your statements for rates on all card types such as rewards and corporate cards.
• A Leap Payments consultant can offer you a free evaluation on your genuine cost to accept credit cards and share all the details, so you understand exactly what you will be charged.
3) Do you charge the same rates for American Express transactions and process them through the same account, or do I have to sign up separately and pay more for American Express?
• processors will usually have you sign up separately with American Express and you pay higher rates and a separate monthly statement fee for American Express.
• You will then be charged transaction fees for each card you accept and have multiple statements each month to see your balances.
• Leap Payments does not have monthly or additional transaction fees and offers a combined monthly statement with the same rates for Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express transactions. Don’t pay more for American Express cards.
4) How many will I pay for my terminal, or do you support my existing terminal?
• A fully functional terminal only costs about $199, therefore, you’re better off buying it yourself rather than paying extra fees and entering into a long-term contract.
• Look for a catch with companies that offer a free terminal
• Leap Payments shows all terminal costs on their website, so you can make the best decision possible when deciding on whether to buy or lease a terminal.
5) Do you offer interchange plus pricing?
• Most processors will not offer interchange plus pricing because it makes them less money than other pricing structures.
• Other processors will only offer this service to merchants who process more than $50,000 monthly.
• Learn more about interchange plus pricing by visiting LeapPayments.com
6) Can I get next day funding*?
• Most processors like to hold your money and credit your bank account within 2 to 5 days after the transaction has been processed.
• Leap Payments offers next day funding* when a transaction is settled before 10:00 pm Eastern Time, or if you really need a late cutoff time, we can offer an 11:00 pm cutoff for an additional fee.
7) When are fees deducted from my account?
• Most credit card processors will add their fees to daily transactions to ensure they get paid first and to hide the total amount of fees.
• Leap Payments will deduct fees once a month to help their clients balance their books accordingly.
8) What’s your Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating?
• Before signing up with your processor, verify their ratings by visiting BBB.org.
• Leap Payments has a proud A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
9) If I process less than $1,000 per month, will I be charged a monthly minimum?
• Avoid processors that charge you a monthly minimum.
• Some processors want to ensure that you pay a monthly minimum fee, plus your monthly fees so that they make their money first.
10) Who will service my account after I sign up?
• The right answer to this question should be “the person who signs you up”, so that you can hold them to their promises. If they off-load you to a customer service team, then buyer beware as you must have everything in writing and you must call the customer service line directly to see how long it takes you to receive support. The last thing that you want is a problem on your merchant account and then have to wait an hour on hold to talk to a service rep in a far-off land.
• Try Leap Payment’s customer service out right now. Call us at (800) 993-6300 and you’ll hear a friendly voice from a live human who wants to help your business.
*Next day funding is not guaranteed for all merchant accounts. Available only for qualifying merchants. To see if you qualify, call (800) 993-6300 now and speak to an account specialist.