It would be completely ignorant of me to not acknowledge that it is the month of love with Valentine’s Day popping its head above the Covid-19 lockdown clouds. Personally, not a fan, not in a Victor Meldrew way (for those not old enough, Google that name, it will be worth it), but it does feel like a massive marketing ploy. However, given the circumstances and as I am missing everyone, it does give me the opportunity to spread some love from afar for my favourite type of business…. Small Businesses!
This month I want to offer some free business advice by covering the topic of Card Payment Machines, or Credit Card Machines, PDQ Machines, Credit Card Terminals, all the same things, yet just like how they are referred to, they also vary wildly on costs dependant on your requirements and the supplier. So how do you get the best value for money with payment machines? Read on:
Firstly, it is important to understand there are two main elements:
- A Payment Terminal – Also known as a Point-of-Sale terminal, credit card terminal or EFTPOS terminal, is the device which interfaces with payment cards to make electronic funds transfers.
- Merchant Account – A type of business bank account that allows you to accept payments in various ways, typically through debit or credit cards.
Looking at them in a bit more detail the actual card terminal suitability will be dependent on how you want to take payments from your customers:
- Face to face or over the phone.
- Portable so you can move around.
- Mobile to take payments out & about.
- Integrate with an Epos machine.
Then you also must consider how the device connects with your bank, e.g., telephone line, wi-fi or gprs as this will also determine the stability of your device, which is imperative for providing good customer service.
With card terminals, you will be in a contract from 12 months up to 5 years. Much like energy/phone bills, the longer the contract you take, the cheaper the costs will be. However, a mistake I often see with particularly a start-up business is not checking out the full cost over the term of contract as a means of understanding the true expense of the agreement.
So, the second part of having a card terminal is the requirement of a merchant provider to work with card machine. Again, much like you would compare the market with mobile phone deals or utility suppliers, you really should shop around to compare merchant providers as they will charge for their services.
Searching for a merchant provider feels complicated, but it really does not have to be. To accurately quote you, a merchant provider will look at your average transaction size, percentage of debit/credit/commercial card mix and monthly card turnover, so have these to hand before you start looking around, then also follow these tips:
- Looking for a provider via a search engine, will firstly show you businesses that have good marketing, so do not be wooed by the first page of results, keep shopping around and comparing.
- Really consider how you predominantly process payments now and then in the future. If you have a business plan which shows expansion or increase in sales, ensure you are taking this into account.
- Avoid longer contracts if you are a new business, until you get going, you will not have an accurate idea on transaction sizes, percentage of debit/credit card mix etc, so you do not want to be tied into anything that is not supportive of your business in the longer run.
It can all feel a bit overwhelming and time consuming, and you are not alone in this thought as I hear this from clients all the time. So, there is one more route you can take my dear readers, and that is utilising me, an independent broker. My sole purpose is to seek the very best contracts for you that not only provides you with the right terminal for your business, but also does not cost you loads of money, so you take home more of that hard earned cash.
I have worked with hundreds of clothing, food, and beauty businesses over the years to ensure they have the very best card payment deals. In fact, my repeat business is high because my clients always comeback when their contract is ending to challenge me to find another good deal… which is a mission I love to accept and succeed in! I promise to make the whole process straightforward and non-jargon, but do not take my word for it, here is what some of my clients say:
“Stop looking & lock in with these guys, great rates, money deposited into your account swiftly with a great transparent back office for your own viewing. I couldn’t recommend Carl more highly, made the process seem easy & this was my first time using a card machine in my business!” – Jim Phipps
“Excellent service and saved my business 80% on card payments. Highly recommended. Many thanks” – Neil Bennett
If you fancy a chat, want to pick my brains, or just send me some valentines love, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Take care everyone and stay safe.