Chris Bennet owns a music store here in Atlanta that provides lessons for young children. Chris started his business small, teaching lessons to just a handful of kids – but it didn’t stay small for long. Word spread about the quality of his lessons and soon, new students were signing up by the dozen. To keep up with the rapid growth, Chris hired a staff of music instructors and eventually expanded his offerings, adding a full schedule of dance classes and starting a summer art camp for kids with special needs.
Business was booming, but his customers were asking for ways to pay outside of writing a check each week. Every business owner eventually faces this dilemma – to keep customers satisfied and stay competitive in today’s tight economy, they have to expand their payment options. This includes the all-encompassing piece of plastic, whether credit or debit.
2011 statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau and Federal Reserve show that 181 million people in the U.S. use credit cards and on average, each person carries 7 cards each. 20 billion transactions were made in 2011 with credit cards, totaling $1.9 trillion, or approximately 13% of the gross domestic product.
But to process card payments, business owners need a merchant account, typically offered through payment processors. A recent article in the Journal of Accountancy offers small businesses tips on what to consider when selecting a payment processor. Here are a few points to consider:
- Embrace credit cards: It’s a main way to pay, and customers prefer them. Consider MasterCard and Visa, but also Discover and American Express.
- Consider a check payments strategy: Converting paper checks electronically to ACH can be a great way to ease your “check payers” into more electronic forms of payment.
- Understand the responsibilities of accepting – PCI-compliance: Any business that transmits or stores cardholder data is required to be PCI compliant. Make sure you payment processor has a solid program in place to help your business become PCI compliant.
Bluefin Payment Systems’ PayConex payment platform secures merchant transactions with PCI DSS compliant features including tokenization, end-to-end encryption (E2EE) and transparent redirection, while providing all debit/credit card, ACH and E-check processing. And better yet, Bluefin offers mobile, POS, E-commerce and virtual terminal solutions.
So if you’re starting a new business or even beginning to ramp an existing one up – don’t forget the importance of your payment mix to growth!