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The facts about accepting credit and debit card payments
Tina Zimmerman and Dan Cuniberti, Business Sales Consultants for Wells Fargo Merchant Services, dispel myths about what it takes to process cards.
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Business owners have a lot of preconceived notions about what it takes to accept credit cards, right? They say it’s too expensive or that cash works just fine. Sometimes we hear that it’s too much of a hassle or just too complicated.
Really those are just myths. I mean, once a customer really takes a look at what we can do, they see that as more than a customer convenience. It’s a solid business investment.
My name is Kent Ipsen. I’m the president of Skipolini’s Pizza. We own and operate four restaurants in the East San Francisco Bay area and we’ve been making award-winning food for the last 35 years.
In today’s marketplace it’s really unrealistic to think that customers are going to come in with cash in their pocket. It’s a credit society. Consequently, to expect people to pay by cash and check is just unrealistic, so to give them the options to pay by credit card, debit or gift card allows us to do a lot more business. We would lose so much of our corporate business if we did not accept credit cards. Businesses just don’t do business by cash and check anymore, so you would be committing kind of business suicide if you didn’t offer credit card, debit card services to these customers because they just would not patronize your establishment without it.
Cash only used to work for small items like newspapers, coffee and sandwiches, but like Kent said, people just don’t carry cash like they used to.
I know. Customers out there, they carry their credit and debit cards and that’s how they want to pay, and for making large purchases they want to use their credit card to get rewards like airline miles or cash back at the end of the year.
I hear stories like Kent’s all the time from my small business customers. That’s what they tell me, “I love being able to accept the types of cards that I want to and the types of payments that I want to.” So my customers also say the ATM experience, if they have to shift their customers over to the ATM and maybe incur a fee, that really impacts their shopping experience.
Yeah, and I see out there with my customers, once they start accepting credit cards they really see the benefit of it. Their customers like to pay by credit card and they can take credit cards in their store, over the phone or online.
I mean, going with a bank like Wells Fargo is something that’s good for them and one of the benefits that they get from going with Wells Fargo is if they’re a business customer they get soon-as-next-business day funding, which is a huge benefit to them and their cash flow.
My customers tell me by adding merchant services it helps them increase sales, improve their cash flow and broaden their customer base.
MYTH: IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE TO PROCESS CREDIT CARDS
One of the things that I hear from my customers is, “This is going to be expensive,” and they just don’t understand the costs that are going to come from this, but I like to let them know that the revenue that they’re going to get back from this, it’s going to outweigh that stuff. It can be tax deductible for them, not only on their rates but also on their equipment as well.
Right. And so after the initial set-up fees, which would include their equipment, the primary processing costs come from something called “interchange rates.” The interchange rates are set by the networks, like Visa and MasterCard. These fees are then passed on to the merchants by the credit card processing company. Since we’re talking about rates, you know one warning I always give to the businesses I talk to is watch out for those low rates you see advertised online, right, because when something appears to be too good to be true, it usually is.
And so that’s where we come in. We help you understand what affects the rates and how we can help you control them.
What I really like about their statements is that everything is really easy to follow and it saves me time. I don’t have to go digging through the statements and try and uncover some sort of hidden fee. It’s just not there. Everything’s right in front of you and it’s very easy to go down and follow exactly the fees and things that are associated with your credit card transactions.
MYTH: BANKS AND PROCESSING COMPANIES ARE ALL THE SAME
Originally when we started our credit card processing we had gone with a credit card operator that was renowned through the nation to deal with restaurants, so we went with them thinking that, that was the best choice. So when we were approached by Wells Fargo we were a little bit hesitant. We thought, “Well, everyone else is doing this, you know, I don’t know.” Then they went over their statements. They went over the statements that we had and showed us many of the hidden charges that were being assessed to us, and so it was a real eye-opening experience for us and we realized that Wells Fargo was a much, much more competitive program and a better way to go for our restaurant.
So business customers always think that going with a generic vendor is always best for them. They think that they’re going to save costs somehow, but really we know that’s not the case, correct?
We hear this a lot. And one of the things why we like to tell them that it’s not is because banking with Wells Fargo, you increase your cash flow.
And Wells Fargo does a great job of getting information to our merchants on how they can protect their customers’ sensitive data.
Yeah, so we do that with one-on-one customer service, newsletters and something that we do with our reporting tool called Client Line.
Right. It’s a great way for customers to access their information.
So this is where the customers can really get engaged on what’s best for them and security standards.
There are a lot of advantages to merchant services, but when you work with Wells Fargo we can help you grow and protect your business.
MYTH: IT’S TOO HARD TO SWITCH PROCESSORS
The thing I like best about Wells Fargo’s merchant service especially when you’re starting up is they send out a representative. They pull out a statement and they explain clearly, exactly what fees are associated with the services, and it gives you a level of comfort that you’re being taken care of. They also showed us how to use the machine properly, how to swipe a card properly so that you’re not improperly charged for the wrong type of usage. So they really hold your hand through the entire process and when they walk out the door you feel like you’re good to go.
So the first things I hear you know when we go to the customer is it’s going to be too much for them, and what they’re worried about is interrupting just their day- to-day stuff, and then also their contract. What do they do about that?
Right, but it’s easy for us to address those concerns when we’re talking with our customers, right? We know there’s going to be no down time. Once we set the merchant account up for our customers we send them out the credit card terminal programmed and ready to go, so all they have to do is plug it into a power outlet and a phone line and then call the merchant activation group for training or call someone like you or myself. And as far as a contract, they may qualify for a program that we have that we can reimburse them for part of those fees.
So really here we have a play and play terminal and with that we have other benefits, as well. If we have cash flow we can help with that, with soon-as-next- business day funding. We have payment card industry security standards and what that does it just keep the customers up-to-date on what they need to know about what’s out there these days. We have customer service 24 hours a day and all of this comes with a great relationship with us, the bankers and with the customers.
When I came over to Wells Fargo, they appointed a relationship manager and over time our relationship has blossomed. It’s funny; it sounds like a husband and wife team, but from a financial aspect it’s a really, really great partnership. I genuinely do appreciate the relationship that I have with Wells Fargo and when I initially started going with them I was a little bit concerned because it is a relatively big bank, and you know the reality of the whole thing is that they give you a small bank feel.
For more information on Wells Fargo Merchant Services visit www.wellsfargo.com/biz/merchant.
1) Customers enjoy the convenience of paying with credit and debit cards.
2) Processing rates may vary for each transaction.
3) Data security regulations that affect business owners change frequently.
4) A processing partner can help you navigate these issues.