Credit card processing is quickly becoming essential for small businesses. As more and more customers are beginning to rely on debit and credit cards to make purchases, it’s important that your business is ready to accept cards. Many consumers have switched almost entirely to making payments with credit cards, and they may only carry around a small amount of cash at any given time. Finding the right credit card processing company for your small business can be difficult because you have so much on your plate. Or maybe you’re not tech savvy and don’t really know what you should be looking for. Instead of getting discouraged, follow these three credit card processing tips that will help you choose a credit card processor:

Embrace credit card purchases

“Cash only” is on its way out. In fact, according to, 78 percent of Americans now carry less than $50 in cash at any given time. When a customer is in a store and finds out that the company doesn’t accept credit cards, it may be difficult to close the sale. Instead of reaching into their wallets to pay with a credit card, they’re forced to leave the store and find the closest ATM to withdraw cash. Or, even worse, they may decide to take their money elsewhere.

Small business owners are often hesitant to accept credit cards because they believe that credit card processing is expensive and difficult. However, it’s not nearly as expensive as losing sales. Start doing some research into different credit card processors and find one that’s best for you. Once you’ve signed up for a merchant account, you’ll get decals from the major credit cards such as Visa, Discover, American Express and MasterCard. Put these decals on your store window or registers to let customers know which credit cards you accept.

Find a reputable company

Before choosing a credit card processing company, make sure you do your research and find one that’s known for treating their merchants well. When you’re searching for a reputable company, here are a few questions to ask:

  • Is there a cancellation or early termination fee?
  • What fees will I be charged aside from the cost of each transaction?
  • What happens if I’m seen as a “high risk” business?
  • What encryption and security services are offered?
  • What customer service support is available?

Do your research before negotiating

Before you can negotiate the best credit card processing fees, you need to know what’s feasible for your business. Know where your money is going and how much you can actually afford to pay in credit card processing fees. Additionally, you can negotiate better deals when you understand what fees are negotiable and which ones aren’t. There are two areas of cost that your credit card processor won’t be able to change: interchange and assessments.

Interchange is the rate that card-issuing banks charge the processing banks to accept their credit cards. Interchange fees are the same for all credit card processors, and you can view the actual interchange fees for different credit cards by visiting their websites. Assessments are a series of rates and fees charged by credit card companies such as Visa and Mastercard. Like interchange fees, assessments are the same for all processors. The area of a credit card processing fee that is negotiable is the credit card processor’s markup over interchange and assessments. This is the area you want to negotiate.