When seeking to open a merchant account in order to accept credit card payments for your restaurant, you have many options. However, even with ample research, it can be difficult to choose the right merchant account services partner, since many providers are not upfront about all the fees involved and contract provisions required.
Because of this, many restaurant owners often find out too late that they have been taken advantage of, are losing money through excessive fees and percentages, and are unable to switch merchant services providers due to a contract.
To help narrow down the search for the right merchant services provider, make sure you ask these three important questions before signing that dotted line.
1. Is there a contract?
You don’t want to be locked into a contract for your other vendors, so why is it okay for payment processing companies? Pick one that offers very short contract lengths, or better yet, no contract at all. This will give you a chance to feel comfortable with the provider and the option to switch without hassle if the need arises.
Typically, if a provider requires a long-term contract, you can be pretty confident that you won’t be receiving dedicated customer service. Since these providers know they have your business for an extended period of time, they can typically outsource their customer service to a sub-standard company with no penalties – which is never the ideal situation for you and your team. It goes without saying that restaurants can get hectic, and the peace of mind of knowing that help with your payment processing is just a call a way makes a world of difference.
2. What are your fees beside interchange?
Being aware of all the fees beforehand can help you make an informed decision and avoid surprises on your statement later on. Many merchant services providers have a wide range of fees that aren’t always disclosed upfront, so you need to be certain to find out everything you can.
Traditional providers rely on the fact that the average business owner does not understand interchange, so they include markups and fees to increase their profits without ever being asked to explain why. If you are upfront and ask about interchange “plus” fees, you’re almost guaranteed to have a more honest conversation about all-in costs.
3. What Does Your Customer Service Look Like?
The best merchant services providers are those that offer strong, valuable and friendly customer support. A good provider will be more like a partner and less like a third-party company that just takes advantage of every credit card purchase. By reading reviews and testimonials, and speaking with staff, you can better gauge what the customer service of a particular provider may be like.
Accepting payments quickly and easily is core to the success of your restaurant, and making sure everything runs smoothly is top-of-mind for you as an owner. When something goes wrong, or you simply have a question, being able to rely on your provider for immediate assistance is key.