How to Choose the Right Merchant Service Provider

     Merchant service providers play a significant part in developing any business, including the restaurant industry. If you’re a new business owner, they give you a leg up and help you grow your business in the short-term. This makes them an excellent option if you don’t have enough capital.

    If you’re unfamiliar with what merchant service providers are and what they do, this article will help you better understand them, along with what to consider when choosing one.

    What is a Merchant Services Provider?

    The term merchant services a broad term that can describe a variety of financial services provided to businesses. But the service provided by most merchant service providers is payment processing services, which is an essential function for any retail or wholesale business. In the restaurant industry, this is very important since customer payments are processed in various payment methods.

    Merchant service providers take care of the behind–the–scenes tasks of payment processing for any business. To perform this task, specialty hardware and software need to be installed at the business location. When you go for cash-only payments, you block off a large segment of your potential clientele, which is why almost every business these days opt to use merchant service providers.

    What a Good Merchant Services Provider Does

    If you search for ‘merchant service providers’ on any search engine, you’ll end up with an extensive list of options to choose from. All of them will claim that they’re the best at what they do, but it’ll be easier for you to choose the right one if you know exactly what you’re looking for. 

    Some of the essential highlights of any right merchant service provider are:

    • Competitive service fees for processing payment: Merchant service providers often have multiple types of service charges, including account setup, monthly or annual fees, PCI compliance fees, and more. All these charges can add up to a lot, so make sure they have reasonable rates.
    • Excellent and high-quality customer service: A good merchant service provider should have a quick and prompt customer service. If you have to spend 10 minutes on the line to make a simple query, that’s not a good sign.
    • Provides hardware and software options suitable for your business: There are many nuances and differences in the dining and restaurant industry. Many different business models operate differently. The merchant service provider you choose should meet the specific needs of your business.
    • The system is customer-friendly and provides fast service: A good merchant service provider focuses on speedy transactions, translating into better customer satisfaction on your end. If the service you choose is slow, it will undoubtedly affect your business.
    • Has an excellent track record: While new merchant service providers should get a chance, they should have a minimum track record. Try to opt for a merchant service provider that has a good track record and customer references.

    If the merchant service provider you have chosen for your business meets all these criteria, should you enlist their service? You won’t confirm all the characteristics from their website alone, so to talk to a representative and ask them all the details first hand.

    Consider Your Hardware

    If you’ve already set up your diner or restaurant, chances are you’ve already utilized a POS software to process payments. When choosing a merchant payment and services provider, their software must be compatible with your hardware. Your POS system will, in most cases, have its merchant service provider requirements, which limit compatibility by brand.

    If not, then you either have to purchase/lease new equipment or choose a different provider. Many merchant payment and services providers will try to goad you into leasing their proprietary hardware, but that often ends up being a costly option.

    In most cases, the unique benefits they bring aren’t enough to justify the price. You should only consider doing so if you haven’t set up your business and made massive investments in equipment and hardware purchase. This way, you can optimize the hardware expenses beforehand, eliminating unnecessary expenditures.  

    Partner Your Business with the Right Service Provider

    In the food and restaurant industry, partnering with the right services and brands can significantly impact how your business grows. By partnering with a good merchant service provider, you can ensure positive business growth by using the data they compile on your behalf. So enlist the service of a good merchants service provider for your business if you aren’t already using one.

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