Tip#1 Know who you are working with.

The structure of the credit card processing industry is complex and confusing.  To have a successful processing relationship, it is important to know who does what with your pricing, money and equipment.  The people you deal with with fall into three distinct categories.

They are:

  1. The Sales Organization
  2. The Processor
  3. The Equipment Provider

1) The Sales Organization

These are the folks who are responsible for getting you up and running to take credit cards.  They are responsible for three functions.

  1. Program and Pricing
  2. Equipment Setup
  3. Ongoing Sales Support
  4. Bonus – A good sales organization will be able to help with ongoing customer service management, PCI Compliance and Business Development strategies such as loyalty and gift card programs.  (to name a few)

Most merchants don’t have the good fortune of getting effective results in this area.  It is all to often that the salesmen employs the age-old strategy of “sign and dash”.  Be sure to work with A+ rated business that come from a qualified referral.

2) The Processor

This is the entity that has the warehouses full of computers that tell the banks where to send the money.  Unlike the sales organization, this is the entity that handles the money.  The old adage “Garbage in, Garbage out” is never more apparent than with the processors function.  The processor inputs the setup of the merchant into the system based on the exact instructions from the sales organization.  If the ISO has properly instructed the processor on how to set up your business, then you are off and running.  If not, more problems will follow.

The major payment processors are Paymentech, Elavon and First Data.  (We use First Data because of their size and A+ BBB rating)

3) The Equipment Provider

Your equipment provider has the function of taking the transaction information from the customer at the point of sale and conveying it to the payment processor.

Depending on the requirements of the business, equipment needs could range from a simple terminal, to a complex point of sale system, to an online gateway for internet-based transactions.  In each instance, the business will have a vendor/manufacturer that will handle the support for the designated equipment.  “Garbage in/Garbage out” applies here as well as it is in many cases the responsibility of the sales organization to instruct the provider on the proper set up for the business.

As you search for the right processor for your needs, keep this information in mind.  Like us, the best processors are experts in each of these areas.  A+ BBB ratings and business referrals go along way in weeding through the vast expanse of processing options.

For more information on what Ignite Payments can do for your business, please connect with us now.