Consider whether the time is right to dig in to your current merchant services program.
As a savvy operator, you have a lot of vendor relationships to manage. You have to work with food service, party supply, merchandise, and redemption vendors to analyze inventory usage routinely, forecast future needs, test new products, and examine how well they, and your attractions and programs, are working. Those urgent and important needs don’t leave time for much else. But, it makes sense to review other relationships from time to time, such as making sure that you maximize your CenterEdge partnership by keeping up with the many tools* and training resources available to you.
Your credit card processing program is another critical partnership that should be reviewed periodically. Read on for five reasons that evaluating this program should be much higher on your to-do list.
No. 1: You haven’t conducted an analysis of your program in the last 12 months.
You might think, “I’ve had this account so long, I’m sure I’m getting the best rate possible.” But since we began digging into merchant services, we have found that is most often not the case. For example, each year alone, card brands adjust rates in the spring and the fall, which often leads many processors to increase merchants’ rates unilaterally to compensate for any increases. Other fees, like risk mitigation and various service fees, can be tacked on throughout your contract term, making it more expensive over time.
No. 2: Your business has drastically changed.
Events like, oh say a pandemic, can drastically change your business’ transaction types, average tickets, processing volume, payment acceptance procedures, and even chargebacks. But just because your business has changed doesn’t mean your credit card processing rate has been adjusted along the way. For example, if you made a serious effort to offer contactless interaction by encouraging guests to prebook visits online, your total web sales could be vastly different today than they were at contract signing.
It’s important to compare what you’re paying now versus the rates assessed with your initial set up. As complicated as statements can be, the additional descriptors will often inform you of a potential rate increase. By paying attention to those at a minimum, it can help you from accepting a pricing increase.
No. 3: You want to control costs.
As an effective business operator, cost management is one of your most important functions. But as we discussed last week, combing through statements and trying to figure out where you might be overpaying can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for. Work with a partner who has your best interests in mind and who will educate you on the operational practices that can eliminate fees and fines. Such as:
- Settle your POS nightly to avoid downgraded transactions to higher levels of interchange.
- Ask your guest for another card if the one they present won’t swipe instead of keying it in to avoid a downgrade.
- Use EMV where possible to reduce risk, fraud, and chargeback exposure.
- Ensure that you update your annual PCI compliance questionnaire.
- Check statements for identifiers, such as codes EIRF or NON-Qualified. These could indicate that something is off and help to identify frontline training needs.
No. 4: You want to mitigate risk.
One of the major challenges of card acceptance is the responsibility for risk and liability, which falls on the merchant. Dealing with PCI Compliance regulations and chargebacks are difficult and time-consuming, to say the least. Be sure that you are leveraging the latest payment technologies like EMV, NFC, and other contactless payment forms as they are critical components of PCI compliance and help reduce the risk of fraud.
Fraud like data breaches can be costly in terms of money, time, and - more importantly - reputation. So, your processing partner must be keeping up to date on the right compliance standards, technology updates, and devices that will keep you processing in a secure environment. Some merchant services sales reps will try to sway you with the promise of free equipment, but what they may not tell you is that the “free” devices you get today may be out of compliance in a few months.
No. 5: You want to streamline your vendor relationships with partners you trust.
You already have a lot on your plate, and you shouldn’t have to fight to get reliable support when you have a merchant services question or concern. We have found this to be an issue for clients, which is why CenterEdge has invested heavily in educating our team and developing dedicated resources to demystify the merchant services landscape for you. Make sure when evaluating providers that they are committed to helping you succeed. We can help.
Contact us for a free program analysis to help you determine if your current solution makes the most sense for you or if switching to our in-house solution, CenterEdge Payments, would offer you a turn-key solution that’s simplified to serve you better.
To take advantage of your free program analysis, contact us today.
Miss part one of the blog series? Find it here.