In the world of merchant services, ISO's and large processors alike are creating massive competition when it comes to trying to gain your business for accepting credit and cards. This may seem great from the merchant perspective, as competition typically breads cost effective, simple, and well-put together programs in order as merchant services providers need to compete with one another for business. In an ideal situation, yes, business competition is great, vendors must deal with what the market will bear, and unless all merchant services providers decide on a price point, and no one decides to drop it, pricing could be beneficial to both the merchant services provider and the merchant. But it does not always work out that way, in fact, it rarely does.
With the increasing of ISO's and processors that are continuing to look for ways to attract merchants, price of programs are becoming the focal point for merchants, regardless of how risky a decision that is. It is understandable to have a large part of the focus for a merchant services program be on price, as this typically comes out of your bottom line each month, and depending on the types of volumes your business does, and the types of card types your business accepts each month, monthly fees can become an expensive cost. But price is only the most important factor in the absence of value.
It is important to recognize that merchant services providers have not changed their entire business model to accommodate lowering their merchant services fees in order to contract more merchants. The fees may have dropped, but most merchant services providers have to make up for those lower costs somewhere else. And more often than not, you will not know where they cut corners until it's too late.
Some merchant services providers will focus on the price, and never go into detail about the additional features, if any, with regards to the program. Service and support are those additional details that you, as a merchant, need to take into consideration. It is always important to take into consideration what your merchant services program costs you and your business, but service and support need to be at the top of your priority list. There is nothing worst than having to turn a customer away, or be unable to process a customer’s payment due to a technical difficulty, or a system error. Get your problems resolved quickly and effectively through a merchant services provider that prides themselves on their ability to manage their merchant’s expectations, and remedy a situation quickly and easily.
There have been numerous occasions where merchants have been frustrated with their monthly statements because they are unable to decipher them, have no idea where their charges are coming from, and why they are paying for interchange differential fees, foreign card fees etc. Before contracting with a merchant services provider, ask the right questions about how their merchant services program is going to work with your daily operations, and reconciliation. It cannot be all about price, because the other factors will fall by the waist side, and eventually will cause your problems down the road.
With merchant services providers, take advantage of getting to know their business as well. How their company works, where they are based out of, and what kind of industries, if any, do they specialize in. Every business is unique, and you need a unique program for your business. Some merchant services providers are unable to customize solutions to fit your business needs, and even though their price point may be lower, be weary of box in one solution. They will come back to bite you.