How to Compare Credit Card Processing Companies

When it comes to maximizing sales potential, honoring credit cards should be at the top of the list to accomplish sales goals. As of 2021, credit cards are the most common payment option, making up 38% of all customer transactions.     

To run credit cards and debit cards, you will need specific software, hardware, and network connections from a payment processor and merchant services provider. Today, many payment providers have their own models and pricing, and unfortunately, not all companies are forthright and honest. Many companies disguise their fees or limit their offerings to save on costs. 

The better the processor, the more transparent their pricing will be because they have nothing to hide. And the more services they offer, the better they work as a partner toward your continued growth. But there are many other questions to ask to ensure you get both benefits.   

To help you with your shopping, here are some essential traits you should look for when selecting your provider. 

Do the companies offer EMV and PCI compliance?  

We’re starting the list with the most critical detail to spot when shopping: data security. Data security is crucial to protect your business and your customers in today’s market, and it will grow even more important as mobile and online payment capabilities increase. The more you are protected, the smoother your business will run and the less risk you will incur, helping you maintain low transaction fees.   

EMV Compliance consists of machines that support EMV technology, such as chip cards, smart payment processing, and PIN inputting. This technology is safer than swiping and prevents other reading devices from grabbing your information. EMV payment systems are the go-to fraud prevention method and will remain so for the foreseeable future. 

PCI compliance is a set of guidelines for data storage and network security that credit card companies require from businesses to protect customer information and prevent theft by employees or online hackers. You must adhere to these guidelines as a business or face denied service by the companies or higher fees due to your more elevated risk. 

If a provider offers PCI compliance, look for fees for PCI compliance, PCI non-compliance, and PCI regulatory fees. The rates may be high, affecting which provider you choose.   

Do the companies offer additional fraud protections? 

Does the company have additional fraud measures? If so, what are they? The more protection they offer, the more you are protected. 

What transaction fees do they charge?  

Fees are a crucial part of a provider’s profit—so much so that some companies hide fees, and they hide them well. Some fees are also purposefully confusing. In both cases, the company hopes you won’t ask about them in detail. 

Some fees are per transaction, while others bill monthly or annually. They have names like “regulatory fees,” “compliance fees,” and “statement fees.” Be sure to ask about every type of fee and their average cost. 

Do they offer different pricing options? They Should. 

Several pricing options exist, including tiered, flat-rate and interchange-plus pricing. Look for a processor that offers a variety of pricing options. No one pricing option is a one-size-fits-all match for all business types. No one pricing option is necessarily better than another. It will all depend on your specific business needs. Investigate each pricing option thoroughly for your specific business. 

What are the rates for each transaction type? 

Most companies charge rates for each type of transaction based on their risk of fraud. For example, card-present transactions are the cheapest form because they carry the least risk. 

Today, orders can be placed within a store, on the road, via an online shopping card or e-commerce website, and each method has its risks. Rates also change based on the card type (VISA, MasterCard, American Express), the card level, and the types of goods and services you offer. 

Understanding the rates for the most common forms of payment you expect goes a long way in maximizing your profits.  

Setup Fees and Monthly or Annual Fees 

It’s common for processors to include installation and setup fees. You may also encounter annual or monthly fees, compliance fees, and statement fees. Thoroughly investigate each processor and ask specifically about its fees so you’re not caught off guard. If transaction rates seem too good to be true, dig deep into their remaining fees to spot how they make up the difference.  

How long do payouts take?  

In most cases, processors will provide next-day funding or second-day funding, the latter being the default. Knowing how quickly you will get paid can be essential to running your business smoothly. 

What additional services do they offer?  

Having additional services can make your job of owning and managing a business easier, even if you accrue charges for them. After all, your time is valuable, too.  

Is there a limit to how much I can charge?  

Processors can limit the quantity and size of orders—particularly when you are just starting. Limits may be expressed as a dollar limit per transaction or per month or as a flat quantity limit for a given period. Choose a provider that offers you as much flexibility as you need. You may also ask your processor if they would be willing to change any given rules. You shouldn’t be penalized for success. 

How many forms of payment do the companies support?  

The more forms of payment a company honors increases the chance of a sale and lets you accept payment methods that best suit your business model. Inquire if the company honors all major credit cards and services, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay. If the company offers ACH payments, even better. ACH helps you maintain ongoing, monthly payments directly from the customer’s account. 

Can my rates change?  

Yes. It may surprise you to learn nearly every processor reserves the right to change rates at any time—even those with a flat-rate posted on their website. You may consider asking a processor when rate changes are most likely. Be sure to carefully review contracts and pay attention to the small print.  

Are there cancellation and early termination fees?  

Some processors charge cancellation or early termination fees, while others don’t. Be sure to ask so you’re not caught unaware.  

Do I have options of renting and buying terminals and software? 

You may decide to rent for a lower out-of-pocket cost or buy for improved long-term savings. At BNG Payments we offer both options making it easy for you to select the option that’s right for you. 

Shopping tip: When reviewing a provider’s tools, ensure that the terminals work with other providers; otherwise, you may be locked into one provider or forced to pay for new terminals. If you need an online shopping cart, be sure the company’s software is not proprietary.    

What type of customer support is available?  

As you consider processors, be sure to ask about customer support. When you need help, when and how is support available? Choose a processor with a dedicated support team. BNG Payments is known for exceptional customer care through its U.S.-based customer support. 

Shop around for a best-fit provider. 

Asking the above questions will lead you to quality providers, and the more you shop, the better you can negotiate a better rate while meeting the specific payment needs of your business. 

Be sure to include BNG Payments on your list of providers. Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar shop, e-commerce company or a combination of the two, need mobile devices or stationary terminals, we have technology to meet the needs of your business in the most secure way possible. BNG Payments offers industry-leading technology to secure your transactions and simplify PCI compliance.   

Connect with BNG Payments to learn more