If you’re a retail entrepreneur or small business owner, you likely have given some
thought to how to accept payments from customers, and/or you may have even gotten
past the “thinking stage” and invested in some point-of-sale (POS) equipment.
But whether you’ve reached this latter stage or not, you’ve probably realized that
accepting payments from customers often isn’t as straightforward or as painless as you
might have once imagined it was. Flexibility, power, and cost are all important elements
for POS systems and merchant account providers. Not every POS system for merchant
sales is created equal, and not every merchant account provider offers the same
services and benefits.
Below, we’ll examine a bunch of the factors that can make a POS system and a
merchant account provider great — or not — depending on whether they’re offered.
Does the POS system you have (or the one you’re considering) come in different
forms? Is there a version of it with a dedicated screen that can take cash in a cash
drawer? Is there a version that’s smaller for more mobile or ad hoc transactions? Can
the system handle both swipe and chip transactions?
Can you customize an order by just tapping a button? Can you email receipts or send
them by text message? Can you use any wireless service provider for an internet
connection? Is there an offline mode for situations when the internet is out? The more
versatile your POS system is, the more it can adapt to the needs of your business.
Custom and Scalable Payment Solutions
Is the POS system you have or the one you’re considering flexible, so you can handle
as many transactions as your business has every month (up to, say, a million) and in
whichever form — via a dedicated POS terminal with a cash drawer or via a mobile
handheld device — regardless of the type of business you have and what size it is?
Data Stored in the Cloud
Where does the POS system you have or the one you’re considering store its data? Is it
stored in the cloud, so it’s accessible in the case of an emergency or if there’s, say, a
power or internet outage? Systems that store data internally or locally may not be able
to function in emergencies or in cases of service outages.
Does the POS system you have or the one you’re considering offer a dedicated app for
both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets? Does this app let you see all your
crucial business numbers (including completed sales, pending sales, taxes, discounts,
and tips) in one place? Does the app get updated regularly? All current POS payments
tech should offer this as part of a minimum feature set.
Hidden Fees or Costs
Many merchant account providers have a rate they charge for transactions where a
credit or debit card is swiped and a different rate for when a card number is keyed in.
There are also early termination fees, PCI compliance fees, and equipment leasing
But does the merchant account provider you have or are considering have no hidden
fees or costs that might only be mentioned, say, in the provider’s contract fine print? If
you can, you should work with a merchant account provider that offers completely
transparent pricing, with no hidden fees or costs, so you can hold onto more of the
profits of your business.
The longer one of your customers has to wait for their transaction to go through, the
more that customer may believe it’s not dealing with a “real” business but instead is
doing business with a company that has a shoestring budget, or even worse — a
company that might not be legitimate. Transaction speed is often underestimated in
terms of customer service and putting a consumer at ease, convincing them that they’re
dealing with a credible, established company. Certainly, at large retail firms, transaction
times never seem to be that noticeable. Ideally, chip payment card transactions should
go through in less than three seconds.
How Secure Is the Transaction?
Quick customer transactions are great, but they need to be secure as well. Does the
POS system you have or the one you’re considering use industry-leading technology to
protect payment and customer information with end-to-end encryption and data
tokenization? If it has a mobile equipment option, is there a capability for user logins
with a fingerprint?
Even if a customer’s transaction time is quick, the real question is — how fast is their
payment made available in your company’s account? Is this time just a few short hours,
not days? For businesses that need immediate funds availability to place orders and
pay expenses, the old saying “time is money” is especially applicable in this case.
How powerful is the POS system you have or the one you’re considering? Can it
perform other functionality besides handling transactions — for instance, can it manage
employees and track and update inventory? Can it generate detailed reports and offer
new insights every week, so you can discover new patterns and trends in your sales
and figure out what your business needs to do to improve?
In comparing various POS systems and merchant account providers, they ought to
“check every box” for each of the factors listed above (i.e., every question should be
Bonita Payments, a New Orleans based merchant account provider, supplies Clover
POS equipment for payment processing that satisfies all of the above criteria and more.
To find out more about Bonita Payments and Clover POS systems, speak with a
representative at (844) 650-1883 or email.