Searching For Trustworthy Credit Card Processing Options In Alaska?
Most small business owners in Alaska chose their current credit card processing company based on name recognition and convenience. I asked several successful entrepreneurs, in my home town of Sitka, Alaska how they originally selected their processing company, several merchants admitted to doing no research and opting to process with their local bank.
As most local business owners in Southeast Alaska would eventually discover, credit card processing is all about the details. A reliable credit card-processing service is essential to the livelihood of small businesses. Often times settling for the local bank was only a temporary solution for their growing business needs.
There are several important features every business owner should consider when choosing credit card processing services. It can be overwhelming, below are a few helpful tips to help you decide which option is right for you and your business.
Are Square, Paypal, & Quickbooks Good Options?
Money matters to every business but it is often the smallest enterprises that feel the pinch of additional costs and fees the most. While upfront costs, if any, differ for each credit card processor, it’s usually the fees associated with credit card processing that can be especially convoluted.
Companies such as Square and PayPal do not have monthly service fees and instead take a percentage of every transaction the merchant processes. For instance, Square charges a 2.75 percent transaction fee while PayPal’s fee is 2.9 percent.
These companies are good for business owners who run low volume. If your business does less than $1,200 per month or can go months without running a transaction then Square, Paypal, or Quick Books are hard to beat. You pay more per transaction than other pricing models but with no monthly fees in the long run you will typically come out ahead.
Current regulations now allow merchants to pass that fee on to their customers. If there is little competition for your product or services in Southeast Alaska for examples cities like Sitka, Ketchikan, Juneau, or Hoonah you may opt to offer your customers a cash discount or if they prefer to pay with credit card then pass the fee on to them. It is illegal to profit from these fees so knowing exactly what the fee is essential.
Best Credit Card Pricing for Small Business Owners in Southeast Alaska
Small business does not mean low volume, especially in Southeast Alaska. In 2019 Hoonah, Ketchikan, Juneau, and Sitka yielded large amounts of summer tourism dollars from May to September. Cruise ship volume has seen a steady increase in Southeast Alaska in the past few years, and is foretasted to continue to rise.
Southeast business owners will do millions of dollars in credit card processing volume in the summer of 2020. Making credit card processing fees and account management even more vital to the success of local Southeast businesses. Saving a half of a percent can reduce processing fees by $5,000 to $10,000 a year for high volume accounts. There are huge incentives for business owners to find the right processing relationship in today current economic environment.
Avoiding Downtime In Small Towns in Alaska
Downtime or outdated slow equipment can also cost a small business thousands in opportunities. During large cruise ship days in Alaska having the fastest equipment will increase your revenue. Customers will avoid long lines and move to the next shop rather than wait in line to purchase an item.
People often assume because they live in a remote part of the country they have to settle for slower equipment. This simply is not true in today’s day and age there is no excuse for downtime. Processing over cellular networks, internet, phone line, and offline options allow merchants to avoid downtime in any environment.
Imagine the revenue potential you have as the only merchant with the ability to process credit cards offline during an internet outage! Age of your router and modem can also slow down your processing speed. Many internet providers will upgrade an old modem for free, and upgrade your router for a fee. Call your provider for the latest on equipment upgrades.
How to Choose the Right Processor
As you begin researching credit card processors, be on the lookout for how fees are structured by your chosen provider. Aside from transaction fees, other processing fees to watch for include compliance fees, interchange fees, statement fees, cancellation fees and gateway access fees. Not every provider charges every fee, and some are not automatically transparent if they do, so ask questions.
If a processor is offering incredibly good rates chances are it is too good to be true. Most processors that are reputable have a similar rate structure and will be honest and transparent throughout the process. When merchants choose a processing company based solely on fees alone it usually ends badly.
Essentially, all processors advertise and offer low rates to new merchants to gain their business. Once you sign up you will see your rates increase over time. Choosing a company because the monthly fees are $5 less than the another company is not always the right choice long term. Do a little research and ask around, good companies and sales reps make a difference.
Find out how long other merchants have been with their current rep. If it has been over 5 years chances are they are being treated fairly as long as they pay attention to their processing rates. Avoid being locked in to a long term contract with a new company and pay attention to early cancellation penalties. A good processing company should not trap its customers into a contract.
Customer Support – Avoid Call Center Hell
You will inevitably need help at some point, for some reason, it’s wise to look for a processor that offers customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, preferably with direct help from an account representative.
The best combination is both! Working with a large reputable processing is important for safety and security. These companies will have a 24 hour helpline and access to great systems and usually access to a free account representative.
Working with an experienced, accessible rep with a great reputation is your best option. Sales reps come at no additional expense to the merchant and are an additional resource that can help manage your account.
Just like any occupation there are good ones and bad ones out there so do your research. The good news is it is in their best interest to keep you happy so the good ones will work on your behalf to keep your rates and fees low for the life of your account. Dealing directly with a real person and avoiding call centers can result in saving you a lot of time and stress.
Choosing a credit card processor can be overwhelming if you are in Southeast Alaska! If you are searching for a better credit card processing solution or just starting your business consider Alliance Payments.
Established in 2005 Sitka, Alaska we have grown to be the leading processing company in Sitka, Alaska. Talk to peers, research reviews online and analyze all the fine print. With a little bit of legwork you can ensure that the choice you make is best for you, your business and your customers.