How to Choose the Right Merchant Service for Your Ecommerce Site

PublisherSol Minion Developmenthttps: Ecommerce Merchant Servicesplanningsmall business

If you have an online store or process payments for your services online, user-friendly and reliable merchant services are a must. But like many business decisions, finding the right fit isn’t as simple as checking out user reviews.

Your merchant service acts as an intermediary between your customers, business, and bank so you can accept electronic payments. You’ll be entrusting them with sensitive financial information, so it’s a choice that deserves some extra thought.

Before you take the leap, consider these factors to make a well-informed decision and integrate your merchant service with confidence.

Solid Documentation for Developers

As you start your search, take a minute to look for developer documentation on the merchant service provider’s site. It should be easy to find and written in accessible language. For both Square and Stripe, you can locate documentation and guides within a few clicks when you look under the “Resources” button in each menu bar.

When you’re integrating new software with your existing systems or troubleshooting issues, the last thing you’ll want to do is waste time digging for answers. If the developer you hired needs to spend hours on the phone for support, you’ll probably see it on your bill.

Is the Platform Really Ecommerce Ready?

There are a lot of great merchant services out there, but many of them are better suited for in-person sales with a POS system. Some very highly rated merchant services don’t come with a payment gateway included ― so you would also need to figure in the cost of integrations to process your online payments.

Forbes Advisor recently published a comparison of merchant account services, with a pros and cons list for top-rated companies based on prices, general and advanced features, reviews, and expert analysis.

Is Your Industry Supported?

If your business is in what the merchant service considers a high-risk industry, your options may be limited, and you’ll need to look for chargeback fees. But not all merchant services define “high risk” in the same way, and that designation isn’t only reserved for highly regulated or legally questionable industries.

Real estate, investment firms, and SEO services are among those most commonly considered high risk.

According to analysis from Merchant Maverick, “Ultimately, a high-risk designation is predicated on your business type as well as the policies of processing providers; whereas one payment processor may say your business is high-risk, another provider with different high-risk categories may not.”

That article also includes an exhaustive list of common high-risk businesses ― you might be surprised by how many are on it.

If your industry is high risk, use caution with merchant services that boast instant approval or incentives to apply. They may end up overcharging you later with absurd fees and chargeback rates.

Encryption and Security

Like the other factors we’ve mentioned, not all merchant services are created equal when it comes to security, and you don’t want to put your customers’ data at risk.

Make sure the merchant service you choose is compliant with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS); encrypting and rigidly protecting your customer credit card data. According to Forbes, there are “78 base requirements, more than 400 test procedures and 12 key requirements” to qualify as compliant.

Look for Hidden Fees

Your subscription rate is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes down to figuring out the cost of your merchant service. It’s worth taking a closer look to figure out all the potential fees before making a decision.

Some merchant services will charge a flat rate for each transaction, while others will charge a percentage. Sometimes the cost will vary based on the size of a single transaction, or for multiple transactions. You may also see some adding fees for PCI compliance.

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