We are about to enter March. By this point of the year, people are starting to forget their New Year’s resolutions and get back to the life they have always known. Many people created resolutions for physical fitness and making sure their life is healthier. However, one resolution any business owner should have made was to make sure their business is fit and healthy for the new year. This includes the one item that many business owners often see as a “necessary evil”: merchant services. While you may not be running to the gym to workout 7 days a week anymore, it is a great idea to determine the fitness of your business, specifically your merchant services account. Make sure making money with convenience is not costing you too much on the back end.
Read Your Merchant Services Contract
Pull out your merchant services contract and read it. Wait…you don’t have a contract. Stop reading this blog and call your provider immediately. Not having a contract is the biggest red flag in any business that you are being taken for a ride. Without a contract, you have no way of knowing what you, as the consumer, are entitled to receive. You have no way of knowing what your fees are set at and how they are increased or when. You are flying in the dark. Imagine buying your home without a contract. Imagine signing up for a credit card without a contract. No other business operates without some form of a contract. Why would you allow your merchant services business provider to operate without one?
If you do have a contract, review it. Look at your terms of service. Examine the fees, increases, and billing practices. Read all of the disclaimers to make sure you know what is and is not included in your agreement. This is the time to call your provider and ask questions that you may have. Finally, do not be afraid to renegotiate your contract. Like many businesses, merchant services providers would rather have loyal customers that are bringing in business, than have to replace customers. Therefore, if you have been a good customer, it is not far-fetched to imagine your provider would be willing to renegotiate your contract to keep you as a customer.
A Second Opinion of Your Merchant Services
In business, it is OK to obtain a second opinion or even a few quotes regarding products and services. The same is true for merchant services. No two merchant services providers are built the same. Therefore, it is perfectly reasonable to get a second quote or opinion regarding your merchat services account and availability. It is always recommended to be an educated shopper instead of taking a vendor’s word at face value
When you do speak with a second merchant services provider, make sure he or she puts everything told to you in writing. IN writing means the merchant services provider stands behind the quotes provided and will honor them at the next meeting. Otherwise, you risk being up-sold with no proof to support your original discussion.