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How to Process Credit Card Payments at Your Business

How to Process Credit Card Payments at Your Business

As a business owner, accepting credit card payments is one of the best decisions you can make. You may be missing out on huge profits if you still accept only cash payments.

Some small or medium business holders experience difficulties while transitioning to cashless bill payment options. Attempting to configure a method for accepting credit cards?

It is not as complex as it appears. In fact, accepting card payments in-store, online, and anywhere else will make your business more hassle-free overall.

It is genuinely as easy as deciding upon the least expensive and most convenient path for transactions. The route from a customer’s card to your bank account should be uncomplicated.

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To simplify, it is basically a process of just 2 steps:

  • The initial step is figuring out the way you want to conduct regular business with the customers—face to face, through a POS system, mobile device or card swiping. Or you can do this through Smartphone or the Internet (but this can be tenuous).
  • After you choose the best option for your business, you may have to get a merchant account (payment processor or card processor). This will act as the financial middleman, which will approve all transactions and then credit the money into your bank.

Selecting a credit card processor can be a difficult task for some business owners. Since there are hundreds of payment processors available, and with so many options for accepting credit cards, it is easy to get baffled.

Sometimes, it might not be necessary to get a dedicated merchant account, as the payment method you choose could be directly connected to the business owner’s bank account.

To decide which credit card accepting method suits you best and to clear all confusion, you need to know a little about the process involved in each. The 4 fundamental techniques followed for accepting payments through credit cards are explained.

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(Please note you do not have to understand all the technical details involved in these processes.)

Just the simple ones are enough.

1. POS (Point-of-sale) System

A POS system is a comprehensive checkout desk that generally includes a cash register, barcode scanner, printer, touch screen, card swipe machine, an NFC reader (for Android Pay, Apple Pay or Square), and other equipment.

This system demands a payment processing account, however, you may be required to get a merchant account to process such transactions. POS systems are more suitable for businesses that have fixed physical locations. Each of these terminals could be interconnected to multiple cash registers or locations. Or another possibility is their connection with other business divisions such as inventory or accounting.

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2. Mobile card processor

As an on-the-move credit card processing system, you will need a tablet or smartphone that is equipped with software to process any credit card.

This can be done anywhere, regardless of the location.

You may also need a merchant account or payment processor. This may not be necessary, but a card reader might be required, for instance, EMV.

Such specialised credit card readers can be attached directly to the smartphone.

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This mobile technique is good for businesses that operate from varying locations or those who process card transactions from anywhere in a store, or if only a few transactions are done in a single day from a fixed physical location.

3. Card terminal

A card terminal is usually present at all cash registers. It is hardware equipment used for swiping credit cards by hand.

This service definitely demands a separate payment processing account, which is usually a part of this service package.

4. Online payment

An e-commerce business that accepts payments through their online store, blog or website, such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy use this.

Most third party, web-based businesses will not require a merchant account but standalone sites using shopping cart software may need it. It is good for businesses that have a majority of online transactions.

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Adnan Manzoor

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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