Merchant Cash Advance for Web Businesses

cash advance loans online 10 June 2014 | 0 Comments

Many businesses are increasingly choosing to start doing business online either as an additional avenue for revenue or as their sole avenue for revenue. With more and more consumers turning to the web rather than traditionally seeking out products and services within their area it is become more important for online businesses to be able to adapt to a constantly changing landscape. Alongside the general costs of doing business, online businesses often have to pay for numerous costs associated with their online resources including the costs of servers, bandwidth, and access to the Internet along with their online communications.

 

When it comes down to it some web businesses can find it particularly difficult to receive financial assistance during harsh times. With the instability of how business is done over the Internet, it can be particularly daunting for a business to adapt to the increasing costs of online services and equipment. In the cases where a small business loan is not possible, a merchant cash advance service can be the next best alternative.

 

Finding a Need vs Having a Need

 

When entrepreneurs look at financial assistance there is a common misconception which needs to be addressed. With the rise of investors injecting money into online businesses it is important to understand the difference between finding and having a need. Often businesses search for new uses of capital that they do not properly earn through the course of doing business. This is often referred to as finding a need for their business. Having a need involves the need naturally occurring through the course of business.

 

Many businesses find new online services or resources that could help make things easier on their business. It could provide their business to offer new services or benefits to their current customers in addition to new customers. While these opportunities are particularly interesting to business owners, many businesses make the flawed assumption that while it is something they need to expand into, it is not a need of the business at the current time.

 

At the opposite end of the spectrum are those needs that arise when a business is gaining and influx of customers but needs to be able to expand to more servers or integrate new services within their offering the account for the increase in interest. In this case, this is having a need in which a need naturally arrives for the business.

 

While merchant cash advance loans online can provide a business with an opportunity to expand into new areas and potentially increase their revenues, a merchant cash advance is best suited for the needs which naturally arise for a business which are absolutely vital to the operation of a business. The major difference between both uses of a cash advance involves whether revenue is possible without that funding. A business must be able to survive in order to be able to expand.

 

The Cost of a Merchant Cash Advance

 

Obtaining a merchant cash advance is not necessarily cheap. While small business bank loans are an opportunity for a business to receive a low-interest loan from an established financial institution, a merchant cash advance is a private contract based on a business’s history of established credit card transactions. Rather than paying back a fixed amount over a period of time, a merchant cash advance is paid back based on daily credit card transactions from clients over a period of time. While a merchant cash advance generally doesn’t involved putting up collateral, it is important for a small business to understand that a merchant cash advance is also a more expensive form of financial assistance.

 

A merchant cash advance involves a premium for the use of the cash advance as opposed to a straight interest rate from the bank. The premium could be a large percentage in addition to the original loan. It is important to understand your financial obligations to the merchant cash advance company prior to starting the service.

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Getting a cash advance for your online web business.

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Enhancing The Point Of Sale Display In Your Store

pos system 9 June 2014 | 0 Comments

Stores make money everyday when they process credit cards and accept cash at the point of sale.  In order to make the most the money, it is imperative that stores have the best point of sale display.  Fortunately, there are simple ways that any store can enhance the point of sale area to maximize the sales process.

 

The Right Equipment

 

For starters, every store needs the best point of sale display equipment.  Stores should invest money on quality registers that are easy to operate and perform quickly.  This equipment makes a difference.  It eliminates stress during the point of sale, and it also minimizes the occurrence of errors.  Even better, good equipment increases the average transaction time, making for a happy customer.  Stores on a budget need to be creative when they are looking for good point of sale equipment.  Although they may not be able to afford brand new equipment, there is always the option to rent equipment from a merchant account provider or to purchase used equipment.

 

User Friendly

 

Furthermore, the equipment should be user friendly for both the cashier and the customer.  Many of today’s point of sale display systems are interactive with the customer.  This usually facilitates the needs of the customer and speeds up the average transaction time.  In fact, the best point of sale display systems minimizes the communication required between the cashier and customer.  This allows the cashier to focus on accuracy during the point of sale without interruption from the customer, and it helps to eliminate many common errors.  In addition, customers understand what they are paying for during the transaction.  Therefore, they are less likely to return with questions or complaints.

 

Visually Pleasing

 

Although the point of sale process centers on equipment, smart stores work to enhance the area with visually pleasing items.  Keep in mind that the cash register is rarely visually pleasing; however, other items might be visually stimulating to a customer and promote a better overall experience.  The following items are visually pleasing and suitable at the cash register.

 

•             Colorful shelving and stands

•             Flowers

•             Balloons

•             Framed signs

•             Pens in an adorned cup

 

Stores also need to understand that certain items at the cash register are not visually pleasing and can even be very distracting to a customer.  For example, a cash register adorned with various loose papers and advertisements looks cluttered and confusing to a customer.  Promotions and other sales should be clearly identified.  They should also look professional and presentable to the customer.

 

Grab And Go Items

 

Grab and go items are also effective at enhancing the point of sale display area.  In addition, these items can easily increase sales.  What are the characteristics of good grab and go items?

 

•             Grab and go items are small and easy to pick up at the last minute.

•             Grab and go items are inexpensive compared to other items in the store.

•             Grab and go items are interesting to a customer.

•             Grab and go items are desirable to a customer.

 

Thus, it makes sense for candy and nail polish to be placed around the point of sale display area.  These items are inexpensive, small, and desirable to a customer.  This would not be the case for larger items like paper or cereal.

 

Clean And Organized

 

In addition, the PoS System area should be clean and organized.  Customers function better in clean areas that are not cluttered.  After all, no one wants to make a payment using a dirty machine.  This uncleanness often results in lost customers and a poor reputation.  Also, when it comes to organization, do not mistake organized for simple.  The point of sale area can be filled with exciting grab and go items, pretty signs, and a vase of flowers.  However, these items need to be displayed in an organized fashion that makes sense to the customer.  Too often they just look cluttered.  When this happens, the point of sale area is ineffective.

 

Customer Feedback

 

Another great item to include at the point of sale is a request for customer feedback.  This request can come in a variety of ways.

 

•             Many stores request customer feedback on the receipt.

•             Some stores have a box for customers to insert comments.

•             Other stores offer questionnaires or surveys to help them evaluate their performance.

 

Customers like to provide feedback.  Even better, when stores ask openly for feedback, customers often view them in a positive light.  After all, stores who do not want feedback could be worried about what they will learn.

 

Shopping Bags

 

During the point of sale process, there is usually an exchange of goods.  The customer pays the store money.  In return, the store gives them products.  Nearly all stores use shopping bags during this exchange.  The right shopping bag can enhance the point of sale experience and satisfy the customer.  However, not all shopping bags work well for each point of sale.  At a grocery store, for example, customers are often concerned with function over look.  They usually leave with multiple bags at a time, making their shopping bag priority ease of use.  On the other hand, customers who shop at fancy department stores often prefer to leave with a fancier shopping bag that they can carry around the mall.  This bag not only pleases the customer, but also can serve as an effective advertising tool for the store.  Although there is no right shopping bag, smart stores utilize this item to enhance the point of sale experience and generate sales.

 

Presentable Cashiers

 

Finally, every point of sale display is enhanced with a presentable cashier to facilitate the transaction.  Many stores require cashiers to wear uniforms to help them stand out.  In addition, they can also impose certain rules on cleanliness and grooming.  For example, the cashier could be required to tuck their shirt in while working.  Clean hands could also be a requirement.  These rules are not meant to be extreme, but to promote a positive point of sale experience for all.

 

Remember, when stores make an effort to enhance the point of sale, results come.  Sales increase, customer satisfaction is strong, and employee performance is high.

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How to enhance your pos system.

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What To Look For In A Credit Card Processing Company

credit card processing fees 8 June 2014 | 0 Comments

If you own your own business, then you probably know that many people these days don’t carry cash on them very often, and prefer to pay with their credit card. If you don’t have a card reader or any credit card processing internet services, then you are unable to accept that type of payment, which can lead to you losing a lot of customers. In fact, it is estimated that businesses that do not accept credit cards lose up to 80% of their potential business. That statistic alone tells you that in order for your business to be as successful as possible, you are going to need a card reader, and the sooner you get one, the better. The good news is there are many companies these days that can help you get the card reader you need and will take care of the credit card transactions in exchange for a small fee per swipe. There are some companies out there that are better than others, however, so it’s important to know what to be on the lookout for when selecting the credit card processing company that’s best for you. Some of the main factors to consider are which company will offer the most competitive rates, the best reliability and efficiency, and the best customer support and satisfaction.

 

Competitive Rates

 

Sometimes, it is a bit difficult to tell which company really offers the best rates. The reason for this is because there is more than just one factor that plays into how much you are really paying. For example, you will need a card reader in order to be able to start taking credit cards. Some companies will lease these out to you, but that is typically not your best option as these costs add up to quite a bit more than if you had just bought the machine from the beginning. Therefore, it is normally in your best interest to buy the equipment if at all possible instead of leasing it. Some companies will give you the card reader for free, which is a great advantage and can save you a lot of money. In addition to purchasing or leasing a card reader, some companies may charge a startup fee. This should be a small fee and if a company charges you a large amount, it is probably best to select one of the other credit card processing internet companies. There is sometimes a monthly or annual cost on top of credit card processing fees. It is also important to be on the lookout for companies that have a lot of hidden fees, as these can add up quickly and without your knowledge. You can usually find out how reputable the company is by conducting an online search. This will tell you how honest the company is and how their rates compare to others. The rates you will be charged depends on a couple different things, such as how long you have been in business. Thankfully, most companies that offer credit card internet processing services will give you a free quote, so you will know what the fee is before you make your final decision.

 

Reliability and Efficiency

 

When it comes to the reliability and efficiency of credit card processing internet companies, there are several key points to consider.

 

*The amount of time it will take to set up your account.

 

*Whether or not the company can handle the volume of sales you are expecting, especially during potential peak times such as the holidays.

 

*Whether or not the service could slow down or possibly disconnect due to an unstable connection or a high volume of sales.

 

*The number of steps it takes for the payment to be processed; the more steps, the higher chance that there will be a complication.

 

Knowing that your credit card processing company is reliable and efficient ahead of time will help ensure that your business is always running smoothly.

 

Good Customer Support and Satisfaction

 

One of the best ways to find out whether or not a credit card processing internet service is a good one is by looking at their standing with the Better Business Bureau. If they have a high rating, that is an excellent start. After checking there, consider looking at reviews left online about the company. While it is sometimes impossible to tell whether or not all of the reviews are legitimate, multiple reviews saying the same thing will usually tell you whether or not the company is one you want to be involved with. It is also important to look at the amount of customer support the credit card processing internet services have. It can be very beneficial to have a service that offers their customers support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That way, you know that whenever you are having a problem, your issue will likely be resolved in a timely manner. Looking at how easy it is to access the customer support is important, as well. This means looking into things such as how long you will be on hold when calling them. This can make a big difference in how successfully and smoothly your business is run.

 

There are many credit card processing internet companies to choose from, and selecting the one that is best for you and your business may seem difficult, but keeping these key factors in mind can help you make the right decision. Finding out the rates of the different companies can be a good start, but remember that there are often other fees involved, such as the cost of a card reader as well as monthly or annual fees. The reliability and efficiency is important as well, because you need to know that your credit card processing internet service is going to keep things running smoothly, instead of causing additional headaches for you. Lastly, credit card processing internet services with good customer service ratings will help ensure that your business is running smoothly, and even when there are unexpected hiccups, they can help you get back on track. Keep these factors in mind when looking for your credit card processing internet service, and it should be smooth sailing for you and your business.

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Things to consider when finding a credit card processing company.

 

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5 Tips For Choosing a Merchant Account Service Provider

merchant account 7 June 2014 | 0 Comments

When shopping for large ticket items such as a flat screen television or a new refrigerator, most people don’t just walk into a store and purchase the first model they see. Instead, they do their research, read testimonials and read professional consumer reviews. The same savvy shopping techniques should be employed when shopping for the best merchant account services. Here are 5 tips to help you select the best merchant account services for your business.

 

1.            Compare Fees

 

The fees associated with a merchant account can vary greatly from one provider to the next. The best credit card merchant account reviews make it easy to compare fees. Many have a chart that allows you to compare fees at a glance. A common mistake when comparing providers, however, is to simply choose the one with the lowest transaction percentage. You should also compare the two components that make up the transaction percentage:  the base rate and the processing fee. The base rate is typically a certain percentage of the sale, while the processing fee is a flat fee that is charged to your account every time you run a credit or debit card. Even though two different merchant service providers may advertise the same transaction percentage, one may have a lower base rate and a higher processing fee or vice versa. If you process a large number of transactions with a relatively small dollar amount it may be financially beneficial to choose the provider with the lower processing rate. Experts recommend that you calculate your average monthly sales to get a better idea of which combination of fees will be the most economical solution for the unique needs of your business.

 

When comparing fees, you will also want to make sure that the contract is not loaded with a bunch of back-end or hidden charges. These fees may include:

 

•             Application fee

•             Set up fee

•             Equipment lease

•             Manual transaction fees

•             Monthly service fees

•             Termination fee

 

If these fees are not detailed in the merchant account reviews you are reading, you may need to visit the company’s official website. Open a second company in a separate browser window and compare them that way.

 

The best merchant account providers usually do not charge an application or setup fee. If you see this in the contract, however, you can always negotiate. More often than not, they will waive these fees in an effort to secure your business.

 

2.            Compare Value Added Services

 

More and more merchant account providers are offer services in addition to credit and debit card processing. These services are designed to streamline your business and provide you with a competitive advantage. Such services may include:

 

•             Mobile processing apps

•             Customizable shopping carts

•             Customer information capture

•             Opt-in e-mail programs

•             Real time sales reports

•             Inventory management

•             Customer loyalty cards

•             Gift card programs

•             Payroll services

•             Website design services

 

Some of these services may be included with your contract; others may be available for an additional fee. Most businesses see a significant return on money spent on such services. They can help you analyze purchasing habits and make more money per transaction. Customer information and purchasing habits can also be used to help you build a loyal customer base.

 

3.            Seek Customer Feedback

 

Unbiased customer feedback is some of the most powerful and influential. As a business owner, you probably already know this. Start by asking your colleagues what merchant accounts providers they have had experience with and if they would or would not recommend their services. You can also go online to get even more feedback. Many of the best merchant account reviews include a section for customer comments and testimonials; some even include a client retention rate and an average approval rating. While the exact needs of businesses in other industries will vary from your needs, you can still get a good feel for the quality of customer service and technical support that the merchant accounts deliver.

 

4.            Contact The Better Business Bureau

 

It is always a good idea to contact the Better Business Bureau before signing a contract with a provider for any major service. You will be able to find out if the merchant account providers you are considering have any complaints or grievances filed against them. The complaints may not stem from business owners like yourself, but could actually be filed by consumers. This is one of the few places to find such information.  It is important to select a provider who extends exceptional service not only to you, but also your customers. They should be able to trust that a chargeback will be issued in a timely manner without any hassle should a problem arise the goods or services that they purchase from you.

 

5.            Take Advantage Of Free Trials

 

The Better Business Bureau also recommends that all business owners—small or large—take advantage of free trials offered by online credit card processors before signing a long term contract. Word of mouth referrals, professional reviews and customer testimonials can only tell you so much; the best way to decide if a merchant account provider actually lives up to the hype is to their services out for yourself.  If you are not happy with their level of customer service, speed of funding or any other criteria that are important to the success of your business,  you will have the option of switching to a different provider without breaking  your contract and paying a termination fee. The best merchant account reviews will indicate what companies offer free trial periods. If you like all of the merchant account services and solutions offered by a particular company but they don’t offer a free trial, all you have to do is ask. They may extend you one out of courtesy in an effort to gain your business.  The larger your sales volume, the more leverage you will have when requesting a free trial. Be sure that you know what is required at the end of the trial period. For instance, if you don’t give written notice that you will not be contracting with the company, they may automatically renew your contract and lock you in for a number of years.

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Five tips for finding the right merchant account provider.

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Evaluating Merchant Credit Card Service Providers

merchant cash advance 6 June 2014 | 0 Comments

Finding the best retail credit cards merchant services involves investigation. You’ll need to find out about the customer service of the companies you are considering using, as well as their track record for reliability, accuracy and speed, and their charges for providing service to you.

 

Customer Service

 

With business credit cards merchant services, it is hard to stress enough the importance of quality customer service. Customer service should be high quality in three aspects:

•             Availability

•             Politeness

•             Efficiency

 

Availability

Having a customer service department that is only available during a few hours of the business day is not enough. To be effective, service must be available at least the entire duration of the business day to help resolve problems that arise during customers’ purchasing transactions. It is even better if customer service is available for extended hours to resolve issues that have not been resolved by the end of the business day, in order to start out on the right foot with business the next day. There are also other issues that are best resolved outside of business hours, such as the changing or installation of equipment, or maintenance of equipment, that may require the assistance of the customer service department. These kinds of issues are often best done after hours, when there are no customers needing to make credit card purchases.

 

Availability also can refer to how long you have to wait on hold before being helped or during the course of being helped. How quickly you are able to speak to a live operator, not just leave a message, is important.

 

Politeness

The customer service department of the retail credit cards merchant services you choose should never be disrespectful or demeaning toward you or your staff. Polite, professional communication should be expected at all times.

 

Efficiency

The quality of the customer service department can, in part, be gauged by how quickly they can resolve, or help you resolve, your credit cards merchant services problems. The more knowledgeable and experienced the customer service staff is, the better.

 

Track Record

 

The best business credit cards merchant services have a track record of reliability, accuracy, and speed for processing transactions.

 

Reliability

Having a credit card processor that doesn’t always work is not a good thing for a business desiring a positive reputation with their clientele. Your business will need a processing company does not have a reputation for disturbances in the availability of their servers. Whatever credit cards merchant services you use, you should always be able to count on transaction services to be available for you and your customers to use, without unexpected down time of the server, or other problems that can make transactions impossible.

 

Accuracy

The retail credit cards merchant services that you use should have a reputation for accuracy. Customers’ transactions should always have the correctly associated date, purchase amount and other pertinent information. Where Address Verification Services (AVS) are used, it is essential that the system be accurate in order to prevent theft or credit card fraud. If your credit card processing company processes a customer’s transaction incorrectly, that can reflect badly on your business.

 

Speed

One of the main advantages of using credit cards is to make purchases quick and easy. You’ll want to choose credit card processing and merchant services that can process transactions quickly at the point of sale. This will improve your reputation with customers, whereas having to wait a couple of extra minutes for the transaction to process can unconsciously cause customers to dislike shopping with you. Speed is also important when it comes to getting funds deposited into your merchant account. Merchants should not have to wait for weeks before funds from a transaction are finally deposited into their bank account.

 

Charges

 

Most business credit cards merchant services charge many of the same types of fees. Among these are discount rate, transaction fees, monthly and annual fees, termination fees, and others.

 

Discount Rate

Even the best credit cards merchant services require their merchants to pay a percentage of each credit card purchase they process. This is called the discount rate. The discount rate includes the interchange fee, which is the percentage that the credit card brands charge the processor for each transaction. This fee is often the largest portion of a merchant’s cost for using credit cards merchant services.

 

Transaction Fee

Most retail credit cards merchant services also charge merchants a per-transaction fee. This is a flat rate fee that is over-and-above the discount rate. It is the same amount, regardless of the transaction amount.

 

Monthly and Annual Fees

A lot of business credit cards merchant services charge a monthly and/or annual fee. These fees help to pay for the cost of customer service, account maintenance, statements, and other overhead costs incurred by the merchant services.

 

Termination Fees

The relationships between a merchant and merchant services are usually governed by contracts. These contracts usually last for a certain amount of time. If the merchant terminates the contract early, the card processing company stands to lose a significant amount of money. To partially compensate for that loss, contracts often set forth early termination fees in the contract. This way, if a merchant terminates a contract early, they have agreed that they will pay the processor a fee for doing so. Termination fees can be set or prorated.

 

Other Fees

Credit card processing merchant services charge other types of fees as well. Some providers charge a one-time application fee for the initial set up of the account. Not all providers charge this fee. There are also usually fees associated with chargebacks, when a merchant’s customer disputes a charge. This often involves written statements by both the customer and the merchant and is handled for the merchant by the card processing services. The merchant is usually charged a fee for this service.

 

Not all merchants charge all of these fees. Some that do not charge these particular fees make up for it by charging higher rates on other fees, or by adding other fees. To truly get an idea of how much it will cost to go with a particular retail credit cards merchant services provider, you must take into account all of the associated fees.

 

Additional Services

Many merchant services also have a number of other solutions to help businesses. Between providing credit card terminals, point of sale systems, and gift and loyalty card programs, businesses often offer merchant cash advance services to assist businesses with short-term cash advance solutions. Additionally many merchant services also provide security auditing and PCI compliance solutions.

 

Conclusion

The best credit card processing services have high-quality customer service, an excellent track record and reasonable fees.

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Assess merchant credit card service providers.

 

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Advantages of Small Business Loans in Retail

small business loans 5 June 2014 | 0 Comments

The retail industry as a whole is a highly competitive industry constantly strewn apart in different directions from a mix between brick and mortar stores, mail-in catalogs, and online retailers. With the rise of online services there are a large number of businesses both large and small which are making a killing by providing cost-effective goods through an online portal due in part to manageable shipping costs. It is crucial for retailers to understand the dynamics of small business loans and how they relate to retail business.

 

A Difficult Compromise

 

At the end of the day the most important factor for any retailer is whether or not the business is able to turn a profit. For many retailers there is a single time of the year when sales are most important. This time of the year is usually around the holiday season. Since most financial transactions happen during the holiday season it is important for retailers to be able to ensure the latest products are shelved which can lead to a large influx of financial purchases for a business. With businesses where money is tight this can be a very stressful practice.

 

While businesses look to maximize their profit, more often than not there are ways to compromise what seems to be a sacrifice in profit for a larger revenue and, if done right, a larger profit for a business. By utilizing small business loans, it is possible for a business to improve their financial situation simply by being able to stock more goods and offer better deals to their customers. Through a combination of smart stocking and having a larger pool of financial resources it is possible for a business to turn a higher profit and certainly a greater revenue overall from the use of a small business loan.

 

Getting Ahead of the Game

 

It is important for a retail business to assess the need for a small business loan prior to the holiday season to ensure the business will be properly equipped for the holiday rush. Generally prior to Thanksgiving many businesses are constantly assessing certain goods that may be more in-demand than others to ensure they are properly stocked and prominent featured. For smaller businesses this could simply involve ensuring the usual goods are in stock and available in addition to extra goods that their consumers may have interest in.

 

Having a plan of action available ahead of time ensures the business will be better equipped to handle the holiday rush before it is too late to properly prepare. Not being prepared is a major fault of smaller retailers who are not used to having a large influx of visitors. Even online retailers can have a hard time being prepared for those visiting their online store to search for gifts for their loved ones. Getting ahead of the game is all about being prepared.

 

It is important to communicate with your bank or financial service prior to the start of the holiday season to not only ensure a small business loan is an accessible solution, but to ensure the funds will be available should the business decide to go that route. Some businesses may have enough funds to cover the goods for the holiday rush which would invalidate the need for small business loans.

 

Other Uses

 

A small business loan is also a great idea for businesses looking for an opportunity to expand their business. There are special loans which aim to help businesses find that second location for their operations or to expand their current operations into new directions. For businesses which produce their own goods, small business loans are also a great opportunity to ensure their equipment is still functioning at maximum utility.

 

At the end of the day a small business needs to properly understand their financial situation prior to taking out a small business loan. It is always a good idea to maintain a positive relationship with your bank to ensure a small business loan will be a solution to your financial woes prior to a holiday rush and during those times when something goes wrong. Having access to a small business loan can be a low-interest solution to financial problems which many businesses and retailers alike face.

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The advantages to using a small business loan.

 

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Point Of Sale Solutions That Work

credit card processing 4 June 2014 | 0 Comments

The process of exchanging goods and services has changed dramatically throughout the last several years.  Technology advances and increased payment options have particularly impacted the point of sale process forcing businesses to adapt.    Today, most businesses have the best credit card processing merchant account to be effective during the point of sale.  In addition, they utilize the following point of sale solutions that work.

 

Updated Equipment

 

First, a business needs updated equipment to function properly during the point of sale.  The best credit card processing merchant account provider can only get a business so far.  For the most success, businesses need proper equipment to process transactions during the point of sale.  Although equipment needs vary between businesses, it is important to have updated equipment that meets the technology standards of today.  For example, a furniture business that relies on hand keying information is not taking advantage of the latest technology standards.  They are limited during the point of sale and have an increased likelihood of errors. Also, during the point of sale, it is very common for the customer to interact with the equipment.  They may swipe their credit card, enter information, or sign for their payment.  Updated equipment makes this customer interaction easy and it facilitates success during the point of sale.

 

Payment Options

 

Furthermore, during the point of sale, businesses need to offer a variety of payment options.  Offering multiple payment options begins with accepting all forms of payment (including every major credit card).  In addition, payment options also involve how the customer pays.  Smart businesses allow the customer to pay in their own way – whether that is by check, online, or over the phone.  Having multiple options not only satisfies the customer, but it also helps the business to collect payment on time.  For example, many utility companies are now allowing a customer to pay their bill in multiples ways.  They can set up automatic payments, pay online, pay over the phone with the help of a representative, or send their payment in the mail.  Having these options has allowed these companies to speed up their collections and it has also made it easier for customers to pay their bills.

 

Alternative Cash Registers

 

Many retail and food businesses also use alternative registers to provide customers with more options to pay.  It is common to see self-checkouts in many grocery stores.  These self-checkouts allow impatient customers to process their own transactions.  Stores actually make more money with this checkout option because they do not have to pay for another cashier.  Also, many retail stores now offer floating cashiers.  These cashiers usually have portable equipment that can be used to process transactions on the selling floor.  This alternative to the cash register helps to minimize long lines and improve customer satisfaction.

 

Sales Analysis

 

The point of sale technology also allows many businesses to analyze their sales throughout the day.  This analysis can help a business determine whether or not promotions are working.  It can also help businesses to meet their sales goals throughout the day.  After all, when businesses have a better understanding of how they are doing, they are more likely to meet their goals and objectives.

 

Merchant Comparison

 

In addition, the point of sale experience is always enhanced with the right merchant account provider.  For this reason, businesses are urged to perform the best credit card processing merchant account comparison.  In particular, they should ask the following questions about a prospective merchant account provider:

 

•             What fees will be charged?

•             How much does it cost to get started?

•             Does the merchant account provide technical support and service?

•             Are the rates offered competitive with other merchant account providers?

•             How long has the merchant account provider been in business?

•             Is a contract required to use the merchant account provider?

 

The answers to these questions will help any business to understand the pros and cons of a merchant account provider and choose the right one.

 

Cashier Training

 

Next, it is common for businesses to utilize cashiers during the point of sale to process transactions.  These cashiers need to have proper training before working with customers.  Training helps the cashier to be more effective.  Cashiers who are properly trained make fewer errors and are able to process transactions quickly.  Training can also help cashiers to understand performance expectations and behavioral expectations.  Also, during the training businesses can identify proper wardrobe requirements for their cashiers.

 

Grab And Go Items

 

Many point of sale areas also display grab and go items.  These items are small in nature and usually inexpensive.  Customers often buy them on impulse while they are waiting in line.  Grab and go items help businesses to increase their profits during the point of sale.  For example, a beauty store can easily increase their average transaction amount by displaying inexpensive beauty necessities around the cash register.  Mascara, nail polish, eyelash curlers, nail files, travel size shampoos, and other small items are likely to be added to a sale when they are properly placed in the grab and go section of the store.

 

Presentable Point Of Sale Area

 

The point of sale area should be presentable in look and feel.  Presentation can make a huge difference in performance, and it begins with a clean point of sale area and cash register.  It is enhanced with the right visuals.  For example, many businesses advertise future promotions at the cash register.  When these promotions are clearly and neatly identified, the business is more likely to experience repeat business.  Presentation also involves behavior and wardrobe requirements for cashiers.  Wardrobe requirements help the cashier to stand out and look presentable during the transaction.  In addition, behavior requirements can eliminate inappropriate and unprofessional behavior during point of sale.  Instead, cashiers can present a positive attitude that is pleasing to the customer.

 

Gift Cards

 

Finally, all point of sale areas should provide gift cards that customers can purchase.  This is one of the easiest ways for businesses to increase their revenue.  Gift cards also help businesses to attract new customers and minimize the loss associated with returns.

 

The point of sale is more than a simple exchange of goods.  It is an opportunity for businesses to maximize their success.

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What To Look For In A Merchant Account Provider

merchant services 3 June 2014 | 0 Comments

Nearly all businesses need to have the ability to accept credit cards.  Fortunately, it is easy for businesses to process credit cards with the help of a merchant account provider.  Since not all merchant account providers are the same, businesses should do their research to find the best merchant account provider.  In particular, businesses should seek to find merchant account providers that with the following characteristics.

 

Low Fees

 

The best merchant account provider is usually the one who offers the lowest fees.  Although businesses cannot avoid the fees that come from processing credit cards, they should seek to minimize them.  Not all providers offer the same fees.  In fact, some merchant account providers charge costly fees that make it expensive for businesses to accept credit cards.  Other merchant service accounts have hidden fees that can cost companies a lot of money.   As a general rule, most rates are similar.  If one appears to be significantly lower, it could be a scam filled with hidden fees.  Make sure to evaluate each rate and compare before selecting the right merchant account provider.

 

Free Application And Setup

 

Many merchant account providers hide fees during the getting started process.  These hidden fees should serve as a red flag to businesses interested in their services.  It is standard to waive common startup activities, including the initial application and setup.  Additionally, businesses should not have to pay installment fees, annual fees, or programming fees.  If the merchant account charged for all of these services, it would be expensive to set up a merchant account.  Good merchant accounts do not cost money to setup.  The merchant should want the business because they make money every time a credit card is used.

 

Low Equipment Costs

 

Setting up a merchant account usually requires individuals to purchase or rent equipment from the provider – especially if they plan on swiping credit cards.  While equipment does cost money, it should still be affordable.  A good merchant will provide decent prices.  Those merchants who have expensive equipment fees are only looking to make money in the short run.

 

Technical Capabilities

 

It is also important that the merchant provides up to date technical capabilities that allow businesses to process their transactions in their own manner.  The following technical capabilities should come standard with a merchant provider.

 

•             Businesses should have the ability to process credit cards over the phone or Internet.

•             Point of sale businesses should have the right hardware to process credit cards in store and get paid on time.

•             The merchant’s system should be easy to use for any business owner – especially for those who are not technologically savvy.

 

The right technical capabilities enhance the business.  If the merchant does not provide proper technical capabilities, they are not fit for business use.

 

No Contract

 

In addition, the best top merchant account provider will not require businesses to sign a contract or lease.  This contract is only favorable to the merchant.  It usually is combined with hidden fees and extra charges that help the merchant to profit and not the business.  Fortunately, good merchant providers are not concerned with contracts.  They retain their customers because they perform as a merchant provider.

 

No Charging Limit

 

Next, it is important to find merchant services that do not have a charging limit for businesses.  Many merchants have limits and will charge extra fees if the business exceeds these limits.  Charge limits are usually fine for small businesses with minimal charges; however, they do present risk.  It is hard to adequately predict exactly how high the charges will be.  Many businesses often underestimate the monthly charges they will make.  Usually the number is much higher because people prefer to charge when they are given an option.  Thus, it might be better for a business to choose a merchant account provider with no charging limit.

 

International Charges

 

Businesses also need to investigate whether or not a merchant provider will allow them to process international charges.  Many merchant accounts do not offer this feature upfront. When businesses process an international charge, they either receive a substantial fee or they could be shut down.  For this reason, it is important to ask ahead of time regarding international charges.  Most merchant account providers can personalize their service to fit the needs of a business and allow international charges.

 

No Reserve Fee

 

Reserve fees are also common among merchant account providers.  These fees can be troublesome for a business and prevent them from collecting the full amount of money from the merchant.  Reserve fees usually occur when a business is more likely to receive charge backs.  The merchant often holds a reserve of money to cover these charges.  This reserve minimizes the merchant’s risk at the expense of the business.  Fortunately, top merchant account providers will not set a reserve for businesses.  After all charge backs are usually offset when future transactions occur.

 

Good Business Reputation

 

Every merchant account provider should have a good business reputation.  The following questions should help any company evaluate the reputation of a merchant account:

 

•             How long has the merchant account provider been in business?

•             Is the merchant account provider meeting the needs of their current customers?

•             What do customer reviews say about the merchant account provider?

•             How does the merchant account provider treat prospective customers?

 

These questions sound simple; however, the wrong answers to them will tell a business everything they need to know about a merchant account provider.  The top merchant account providers have a good business reputation and can be trusted by anyone.

 

Customer Service

 

Finally, it is important to evaluate the customer service that the merchant provides.  In a perfect world, companies will never need help from the merchant.  Reality is often different, and companies often find themselves in need of the merchant’s help.  It is important to know ahead of time that this customer service can be counted on at any time.  Merchants should provide this support to help their customers succeed.  After all, the success of the business helps everyone, including the merchant, to make more money.

 

Businesses have plenty of options when it comes to selecting a merchant account provider.  Choosing the right merchant account provider takes effort and can make a big difference.

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Merchant Cash Advance: Alternative Financial Solution for Small Businesses

cash advance loans 2 June 2014 | 0 Comments

There are a large number of businesses who for one reason or another are not able to or eligible to receive financing from a bank or financial institution. Whether for reasons of credit or the fact that the business has not established itself well enough, it can be difficult to receive the financing a business needs for operation or expansion. Since 2007 the banking industry has changed in a way that makes it just that much harder for a small business to thrive in a difficult economy. Many small businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to get the finances they need to recover from economic down turn and to get themselves in a financially advantageous situation.

 

For this reason merchant cash advance services serve as a way for small businesses to obtain their short-term financial assistance to help them out. Prior to applying for merchant cash advance loans it is absolutely vital to understand the dynamics involved in how these types of loans work. There are generally no regular fixed payments to deal with. Instead, the lender will obtain their fees through a percentage of the credit card sales made by the business on a fixed basis until the advance is covered in addition to the premium being charged.

 

Each merchant cash advance service has different fees and requirements associated a business’s use of the service. Contrary to other types of small business financing, merchant cash advances require no collateral to be provided. The eligibility for a merchant cash advance and the amount that can be advanced to a business lies solely on the merchant’s ability to process credit card transactions as the credit card transactions are the way the lender will receive their money back over time.

 

The Cost of a Merchant Cash Advance

 

When a small business cannot get finances through low-interest bearing loans directly from a bank, a merchant cash advance is a viable alternative for the business in need. It is crucial for the business to still be able to produce a profit on what is being sold or offered despite taking out the cash advance. While the merchant will receive a financial sum to assist them in the short-term, it is important to understand that there are additional costs associated with the merchant cash advance in the form of a premium based on the amount being loaned. As a result, a merchant cash advance is more costly to a business in the long-term.

 

It is important to be able to weigh the cost of receiving a merchant cash advance compared to the benefit the merchant will receive from using the cash advance service. For businesses which absolutely must obtain financial assistance for the survival of the business, a merchant cash advance can be a helpful resource for the business For businesses simply looking to expand their business, a merchant cash advance may not be the best idea as expansion doesn’t necessarily facilitate growth within a business within the term in which the business would be paying back the cash advance. In some cases it is simply more financially advantageous to sell unused assets in order to pay the costs of expansion.

 

Use of a Merchant Cash Advance

 

Common uses of merchant cash advance loans include:

 

  • Inventory Purchasing
  • Debt Payment
  • Vital Equipment Repair
  • Equipment Rental / Upgrade

 

Often times these types of activities are warranted for the survival and well-being of a business and therefore are essential cases where a merchant cash advance is very much needed. It is important to calculate whether the merchant cash advance could strain the business in the long-term prior to taking out a merchant cash advance.

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