In today’s consumer word, credit cards are more ubiquitous than ever. A 2014 estimate by the Census Bureau reported that over 72 percent of consumers owned at least one credit card. This translates into 167 million adult consumers in the U.S.
As a result, it is more important than ever to accept credit cards at your business.
According to professionals in the field, some of the most important factors to consider in a credit card processing company are honesty and transparency. Many credit card processing services contain hidden fees that can easily eat into your profits. You want to choose a company that is open and honest about their rates and fee structures.
Other important factors to consider are the needs of your business. You want to choose the right processing option that will be a good fit for your business type.
In the restaurant business, you will deal with people face-to-face because it is part of the service industry. Ensuring you can process your customer’s transaction efficiently is imperative to your operation. You should also determine what kind of service you can afford, which means considering carefully the different upfront costs, processing rates and contracts.
One of the first things to do when choosing a credit card processing method is to determine how you will be doing business with your customers. For in-person transactions, a POS (point-of-sale) system is preferred. Traditional credit card swipers and over-the-phone processing can also be an option.
For restaurant owners, a POS system is usually the preferred choice when the transactions with your customers are done in person.
Another factor to consider is whether to use a merchant account. Merchant accounts function as a financial middleman to approve transactions before depositing the money into your bank account. If your business is small, you can forgo a merchant account and deposit the money straight into your bank account instead.
Credit Card Processing Methods
To choose the right processing method, you should understand how each credit card processing method works. There are three main credit card processing methods used in the food and beverage industry.
1. Point-of-Sale (POS) Systems
POS systems are the ultimate checkout terminal equipped with all your checkout needs. They are complete with a credit card swiper, an NFC reader for accepting Apple Pay, Android Pay, Square, a barcode scanner, a cash register, a printer for receipts and sometimes even a touch screen.
They are ideal for large-scale businesses with many physical locations, such as restaurant chains. They require a merchant account to operate.
2. Mobile Credit Card Processors
Mobile credit card processors are small mobile devices that can be connected to a computer to allow access to the internet or a computer software. They need to be paired with a smartphone or tablet to take payments.
They are best used for businesses with no fixed locations and making low-volume transactions, such as food trucks or event food vendors. Unlike POS systems, they do not require a merchant account to work.
3. Credit Card Terminals
Credit card terminals are the hardware that can read credit cards via a swipe. For credit card payments over the internet or phone, they allow the card numbers to be entered manually. Like POS systems, they require a merchant account to work and are usually offered when you open a merchant bank account.
They are ideal for businesses requiring a simple payment system for processing credit cards, as they are easy to set up and use.
Credit Card Processing Services
Good credit card processing services should be designed with your business’ needs in mind. They should also offer a variety of customizable products and be budget-friendly for smaller business owners to afford.
These services are usually sorted into the size of business they are designed for. Some categories include small businesses and businesses high volume transactions. Below are a number of credit card processing services best suited for the restaurant industry, although beware: not all processing services can integrate seamlessly with marketing programs like Rewards Network.
1. TSYS and First Data
It’s important that restaurants can offer not just magnetic stripe and Apple Pay tap technology to its customers, but that newer cards employing chip technology can be accommodated — and used as intended. EMV technology has been slow to roll out across the United States after years of common use in Europe, but consumers are rapidly coming to expect that technology (and its built-in protections) in their daily transactions.
Square is crowned as one of the winners of the 2017 Best Credit Card Processor by the Business News Daily. Due to its low startup costs and user-friendly features, it was the method of payment for over 446 million transactions in 2014.
To use Square, simply register for a free account and download Square’s app, then plug in Square’s card reader, which you can order for free from Square’s website. Square will also pay for any delivery fees so you will be ready for credit card payments free of cost.
This company offers payment processing solutions for a wide range of retailers, including restaurants. They have been in the payment processing business since 1998 and have helped over 153,000 businesses with their credit card processing needs. Services provided include mobile credit card processing, phone and mail orders, as well as sophisticated POS systems.
CreditCardProcessing.com also offers highly competitive rates. In fact, they are so confident that no other company will have a better rate structure than them, they are willing to offer a $50 AMEX gift card to anyone who can show them a better rate structure from a competitor.
4. Leap Payments
Leap Payments is another credit card processing company offering credit card terminals, readers, mobile credit card processing or complete POS systems for larger restaurants. The company charges no start-up fees, regardless of how much money you process through their systems.
A unique feature of Leap Payments is they offer detailed monthly statements online or by paper. These statements break down everything you have paid for so everything is transparent between you and the company.
Credit cards are used by millions of consumers in the United States and worldwide. Therefore, offering your customers the option to pay by credit card is important to the health and growth of your business.
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