Thursday, 10 January 2013

Tis the season to be switching

Top of the New Year’s resolution list for many businesses will be to drive down their costs by switching their core services. Electricity supplier, mobile phone contract, stationery provider are all up for grabs. Yet, in this rush for savings, card processing services are often overlooked. It has been notoriously difficult in times gone by to change financial services providers – as Ed Balls put it, individuals are more likely to change their spouse than their bank account!

So is it really that complicated to switch your card processing?  No, it’s not but, frankly, companies offering card processing don’t make it easy! 
We can’t even agree on what we call the services (acquiring, card acceptance, merchant services, credit and debit card processing) let alone how the charges are named (Merchant Service Charge, transaction fee, merchant discount rates!) 
Add to this a diverse range of services being offered and the perceived hassle of switching which can be quite a technical challenge, and it’s no wonder the reaction of most business owners is to glaze over and shy away from looking at switching their payments provider.
That, however, would be a mistake. The good news for businesses is that it’s really not that complicated to save money on your card processing by following a few simple tips. During January 2013, CashFlows will be helping you decipher the jargon associated with accepting credit and debit cards from your website and understand what to look for in a new deal. Top of our list are some key do's and don'ts: 
Do's
·        Check the key prices of any provider to make sure you really are getting a saving, particularly:
o   Set Up Fee
o   Monthly Fee
o   Merchant Service Charge (a percentage for credit card transactions, a flat fee for debit card transactions)
·        If you need support re-integrating a new service, make sure you get a dedicated Relationship Manager, who can guide you through the process
·         Stay on the lookout for promotional offers at this time of year – this can include waived monthly fees or savings guarantees
Dont's
·         Don’t accept being told that it’ll take 3-4 weeks to set up a new account  
·         Don’t assume that the bank that provides your business banking service will offer the best deal on your card processing
·         Don’t pay any kind of set-up fee – why should your business be penalised for switching your card processing?
At this time of year, many businesses will get an unpleasant surprise when they see their December card processing statement and realise how much they are shelling out each month to accept credit and debit cards. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be providing some insider information to help you source the best deal and with a bit of persistence, you can kick-off 2013 with some savvy switching and sensational savings! 

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