Is your business considering whether to begin accepting credit cards for payment?  While beginning to accept cards for payment is an easy task overall—there are some things to consider and some common pitfalls to avoid.

What’s your business?

Merchant services companies, especially these days, are overrun with chargeback issues and other fraud complaints, so if one of them thinks you pose a risk, you may have trouble getting approved.  If you sell gun parts, adult toys, nutritional supplements, or other products that may be deemed high risk, consider applying for a new merchant account at a company that specializes in similar industries.

Does the processor cater to your business specifically?

There are many different sorts of businesses around today, with payment solutions that encompass all those business models.  For that reason, be sure to research a group of processors that provide a solution that fits your mode.  For example, you wouldn’t get much help with a new merchant account from a processor that only provides physical terminals if you want to utilize a virtual gateway that provides built-in reporting tools, which a physical terminal can’t provide.  As well, you won’t even do very well with a virtual gateway-peddling company if you just purchased NetSuite and want to look into integrated NetSuite credit card processing for the first time.

Payment technology is evolving constantly–now, more quickly than ever as a result of innovation in general and certainly spurned on by recent mainstream data breaches, and many solutions are available to businesses now that simply were not available even last year.  As your business evolves to grow its customer base or expand into other channels like online or mobile, will your processor be able to accommodate your changing needs?  A physical terminal may suffice now, but when you start accepting larger dollar volumes of transactions, and more of those transactions, you may want to switch to a virtual terminal.  A virtual terminal can not only help with reporting tasks; it can also reduce the costs of accepting certain cards for payment–absolutely instrumental to saving money.  The same goes for accounting system integrations for programs like QuickBooks, Peachtree (Sage 50), or MAS 90 and MAS 200 (Sage 100) – and, higher-level systems like Sage 500, SAP B1, NetSuite, Exact Macola, and Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

Like any business relationship, finding a suitable credit card processor for a new merchant account should be an investment, based on a number of factors.