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As a business owner, you want an online payment solution that is fast, easy to use, reliable, and secure. But with so many different fees and providers to compare, searching for the right processor for your business can be a bit confusing.

This guide provides 20 questions to ask each payment processor you are considering. Once you have the answers to these questions, you should be better equipped to assess each processor and find a solution that best fits the needs of your business.

Funding

The topic of funding covers how money is moved around between your customer, your payment

processor, and your bank. Here are some of the most important questions to ask:

  • How soon will I receive my money?
  • How often are deposits made to my bank account?
  • Will this work with my existing bank account?
  • Is there a monthly minimum or maximum deposit?
  • Will international sales be deposited in my local currency?
     

You need to know when your money will be deposited into your bank account because it impacts your cash flow. Waiting days or weeks to access funds can make it challenging for a business to operate day to day.

It’s important to ask potential providers about their transaction cutoff time frames. Customer transactions are processed in batches, and there are cutoff times that determine whether a transaction will be considered a part of today’s batch or the next days. The importance of cutoff times will vary by business, location, and nature of your business.

For example, if you’re on the west coast, a cutoff time of 6 PM EST might be restrictive. If you’re a restaurant and make most of your sales during the dinner rush, you’ll probably want a later cutoff time.

Look for features like next business day deposits to improve your cash flow. At Elavon, we provide Fast Track Funding to ensure you get your money as soon as possible. Gain peace of mind that your funds will be deposited when you need them—no guessing the exact hour of arrival or wondering if the funds will arrive before a withdrawal hits your account.

Processing Fees

There are many different fees a processor may charge, and they can add up if you don’t understand what they are and when they apply. Some of the most common fees are:

  • Interchange Fee – charged by the issuing bank on each transaction
  • International Fee – a fee charged on non-U.S. cards presented for payments in the U.S.
  • Chargeback Fee – applies when disputes arise due to fraud or faulty goods / services
     

Below are questions you should ask about processing fees:

  • What is your complete fee structure?
  • Is there a cancellation fee?
  • Can I review a sample monthly statement?
  • Am I being quoted a teaser rate?
  • What kind of customer service do you offer?
     

To understand exactly what you’ll be paying, look for a provider that is transparent about their rates and is willing to work with you to help you find opportunities to save money. Ask about their complete fee structure, whether there is a cancellation fee, and if you are being quoted a teaser or introductory rate.

Request to review a sample statement so you can see if your statements and records will be transparent and easy to understand. You want to know what to expect and should look for reporting that you won’t struggle to decode each month. Ask the processor to go through each section on the statement to ensure you fully understand all the information presented.

You will also want to select a processor with excellent customer service in case any issues arise with your processing. Find out if 24/7 help is available from a live agent. This is essential for troubleshooting during a busy sales rush or addressing questions about a statement when you’re working on your bills in the middle of the night.

Security

The financial impact of a security breach can be significant. According to the Ponemon Institute, in 2018 the average cost for each lost or stolen record to a business containing sensitive and confidential information was $148 per record. The average cost of a data breach jumped to $3.86 million globally.

Security breaches cost your company more than just money. They can take valuable time away from your business, erode customer confidence, and damage your reputation.

Across the board, consumers want to know that they can shop with confidence. Think about it—would you share your data or shop at a place that you know had been compromised in the past?

Here are some of the security-related questions you should ask the payment processors on your list:

  • What security solutions do you have?
  • What liability risk do I run?
  • What fraud protection solutions do you offer?
  • Are your systems PCI-DSS compliant?
  • How is customer data protected during processing and at rest?
     

Current regulations and certain state laws place more responsibility for protecting cardholder data on businesses. There are information security standards for organizations that handle major credit card brands called Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard PCI-DSS. Failure to meet industry and regulatory data security standards can result in fines, a loss of income, and negative brand perception.

It’s increasingly important to ensure your payment processor prioritizes security and has a proven track record. Look for state-of-the-art security solutions that protect data both in transit and at rest, like encryption and tokenization. Encryption digitally scrambles numerical information for security purposes, while tokenization converts or replaces the numerical cardholder data with a unique token value to be used for subsequent transactions. Find out what your liability risk would be, and if a potential provider’s systems are PCI compliant.

Ecommerce Platforms

There are many ecommerce platforms that allow you to quickly set up and launch an online store without the need to build a custom website. Examples include platforms such as, BigCommerce, and Magento. Using one of these platforms simplifies the process of launching a store, quickly making your products available to customers online.

In addition to processing payments for your business, an ecommerce platform can help you add new sales channels in seconds, manage unlimited products and inventory, fulfill orders in a single step, and track sales and growth trends. Before you can capture sales, you will need to integrate with a payment processor. That’s why you’ll want to shop for an online payment processor that’s compatible and easy to integrate with the most popular ecommerce platforms. This way, you won’t be tied down if you want to try a new solution in the future.

Here are some questions to ask when evaluating a payment processor’s ability to integrate with ecommerce software:

  • How much technical know-how do I need?
  • Will it work with popular shopping carts and gateways?
  • Can my customers pay with their preferred payment method?
  • Can I send invoices?
  • How is the network reliability and performance?
     

Considering Elavon?

We’d love to learn more about your business and discuss if we may be a good option for you. We think you’ll find we’re the innovative, secure, and global partner for your payment processing needs. Our secure solutions help reduce PCI compliance scope and our 24/7 in-house customer support and dedicated client relationship management are there to help when you need it. Our payment gateway is compatible with many leading ecommerce platforms.

 

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