When your business depends on credit card transactions, you don’t want to risk exposure to unnecessary financial risks. Too many business owners don’t have the information they need to protect their bottom line from credit card processing-related threats.
Take these five actions to defend your profits from needless credit card processing costs and fines.
#1. Bolster Your Payment Data Security
Whether your business accepts credit card payments via phone, mail, the Internet or in-person, you need to have robust data security. According to a 2014 study, 43% of all businesses experienced some sort of data breach in the year leading up to the study.
Data breaches cost businesses money. Not only do customers lose trust, but businesses must also pay for a forensic data security audit and card replacement costs. Businesses that have not achieved PCI compliance may also face fines up to $100,000 per month.
Becoming PCI compliant protects your business from these fines. Plus, PCI compliance ensures that your business is providing robust data security as it requires businesses to have strong passwords, protect their data with a firewall and encrypt data when possible.
While protecting your business’s payment data security and achieving PCI compliance requires both effort and upfront costs, the protection these measures offer your bottom line makes them worthwhile.
#2. Understand Your Credit Card Processing Statement
Confusing merchant services statements threaten businesses’ bottom lines. Too often, these statements appear as a random series of numbers that don’t seem to correspond to anything real. Many merchants don’t worry about this, as they signed up for payment processing deals that promised flat rates and the lowest costs possible.
However, deals with suspiciously low costs often have hidden fees that cut into profits. Flat rates, too, may be risky as they may not provide businesses with the best rates on every transaction. To reduce your credit card processing risk, you need to fully understand your payment processing statement. If your merchant services provider is unwilling to explain your statement in detail, that provider may not be the right fit for your business.
#3. Get The Right Payment Technology For Your Business
If your business accepts in-person credit card payments, you need to ensure you have the right payment technology for your needs. The EMV liability shift has changed the landscape of credit card processing risk for brick-and-mortar businesses, with the costs of fraudulent credit card transactions transferring from credit card companies to merchants. Having technology that is compatible with chip and pin credit cards helps protect your business from these costs.
Additionally, acquiring state-of-the-art payment technology helps your business adapt to changes in consumer payment behavior. As more customers switch to mobile payment options, cutting-edge POS terminals and electronic cash registers are enabling businesses to accept these payments.
#4. Properly Process Your Credit Card Transactions
Many businesses have not received proper training or instruction from their payment processing provider on the proper ways to process different types of credit card transactions. For instance, card-not-present merchants that accept credit card payments over the phone could save money on transaction fees by inputting more customer information with every transaction.
You also need to be sure that your merchant services or payment processing provider has properly classified your business. Some providers don’t take the time to fully understand the businesses they work with, which leads to misclassified business types, such as a swipe-based business classified as card-not-present. This could expose businesses to accidentally committing fraud and result in funds being held.
#5. Work With The Right Credit Card Processing Provider
Working with the right merchant services provider is a great way to limit your business’s credit card processing risks. A good provider helps you understand your statement, walks you through the process of achieving PCI compliance, assists you in identify the best payment technology for your needs and provides advice on processing your credit card transactions. Such a provider also offers around-the-clock, multilingual merchant services support to ensure any credit card processing downtime your business experiences is kept to a minimum.
When you safeguard your business from the financial risks associated with credit card processing, you help ensure a healthy bottom line. Take the actions above to protect your profits from unnecessary costs and fines.
Are you concerned that your merchant services or credit card processing provider is the wrong fit for your needs? Download our free payment processing tip sheet to find out if you’re working with the right provider for your business.