What Are Merchant Services
Merchant services are a service that allows merchants to accept electronic payments. The process involves gathering transaction data, providing authorization, and collecting funds from the issuing bank and sending payment to the merchant. Although it is automatically associated with credit and debit cards, there are other payment methods processed by merchant services.
1. Gift Cards – This method of payment is quickly becoming popular as more and more people choose to give these to friends and family. Payments for these cards have already been collected, and these can only be used at the specific merchant it was bought from. There is no need to worry about fraud, and it does encourage higher sales. Consumers with gift cards often end up purchasing more than what the card is worth. Merchant services allow businesses to be able to process these types of transactions.
2. ACH or Automatic Clearing House – Most merchants opt not to accept check payments because of the high occurrences of fraud and the long process it takes to collect funds. However, with merchant services, check clearing becomes more manageable as it too is processed electronically. Just like plastic, checks are run through machines that automatically verify different elements on the check to reduce the risks of fraud. First Data Merchant Services is one of the providers that can offer this service. Merchant services also allow checking accounts to be used without the need to write a physical check, thus making the process more efficient for both the merchant and the customer.
3. EBT or Electronic Benefits Transfer – This is more commonly known as food stamps. The only difference is that the EBT can be used to purchase nonfood items. Funds are loaded onto the accounts and consumers can use it at merchants that can process electronic payments the same way credit or debit cards are used. With a lot of competition in the restaurant industry, providing your diners with different ways to settle the bill can be a huge advantage. This is one of the many reasons why your business needs merchant services. But to be able to take advantage of this service, you will need to have a merchant account. A merchant account is where the funds collected from the accounts of consumers who used electronic payments will be transferred to. This is one of the basic requirements of merchant services.
Features of Merchant Services
The best merchant services come with various features to help enhance the payment process at your restaurant. Listed below are some of the most common features offered by providers such as QuickBooks merchant services.
1. Security – One of the greatest fears of consumers nowadays is fraud. Safe Smart Living lists some alarming statistics on identity theft. One of the most common causes of concern is the over a billion PII leaked in 2014 alone. With these many cases of fraud, it’s easy to see the importance of advance security features. Quality providers have various ways to protect your customers’ identity from fraud. This includes comprehensive authentication procedures as well as data encryption. It ensures that PII is kept safe and your system cannot be used for malicious activities.
2. Speedy Processing of Payment – Electronic payment systems help make everything faster. You can efficiently handle credit card or debit card payments without your customers having to wait for a long time. Since merchant service providers link the process to your point of sale system, it is done almost automatically. There is no long line of tickets that can be chaotic especially during rush hours. You also reduce the risk of food items being charged to the wrong table. Reviews of merchant services by restaurant clients find this feature as one of the most beneficial. It speeds up the process but does not compromise accuracy. Your employees can easily handle the payment processing without having to worry about complaints or worse chargebacks.
3. Mobile Payment – Increasingly customers use mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, it has become necessary to be able to cater to this market. If your restaurant business offers online orders, then it would be beneficial for you to have this added feature. Merchant services for restaurants allow you to accept payment from android or apple, so it is more convenient for your customers.
4. Support – While the system may be easy to use and rarely experiences downtime, quality providers understand that you need encounter hiccups every now and then. This is why they ensure that you receive support anytime you need it. The support offered is not limited to just someone being available at any time of the day; it also includes reports that you can access whenever necessary. Merchant service providers give you the tools to understand payments made by your customer. That will make it easier for you to see patterns and identify any suspicious spending activities so these can be addressed much sooner.
When choosing a merchant service provider for your restaurant business, make sure to check what features they offer so you can find the right fit.
Increase Restaurant Profits with Merchant Services
Enhancing your restaurant’s payment process with merchant services can certainly help improve your operations and not to mention your profit. Below are some of the ways it can increase revenue.
1. Expands your Market – By accepting more methods of payment, you can attract more customers to your restaurant. There are over 400 million credit card accounts in the US. These account holders use their cards for virtually everything and that includes eating out. When you limit the type of payments you accept, you also limit the number of customers who can dine at your restaurant. Using merchant services at your business will let you cater to folks who use their checking accounts, debit cards and even the ones who are on EBT. That means you open yourself up to a wider market of diners. And with more people coming in to eat at your restaurant you’ll certainly see an increase in revenue.
2. Keeps Customers Happy – When people go out to eat, the last thing they want is to have to worry about anything. Your ultimate goal is for your customers to have a pleasant experience at your restaurant. This means not having to stress over payment options and PII security. It also means not having to wait for a long time to get the check or their card back. When customers are happy, they become loyal diners who are less likely to go to your competitors.
3. Improves Wait Staff Efficiency – In order for your restaurant business to show a profit, you would need to ensure that your costs don’t skyrocket high. Having an efficient wait staff would help you keep your operating costs in check. Merchant services used in restaurants are often integrated into POS systems on mobile devices. Wait staff can easily learn the system as the interface works in a similar way as other applications. This reduces training time as well as errors common during the learning curve.
4. Improves Repeat Business and Referrals – One other benefit of merchant service that impacts revenue is that when customers are happy with your service, they will keep coming back. And what makes it even better is that they will spread the word about your business. Word of mouth advertising can help increase your customer base. Almost 90% of consumers trust reviews that they either see online or get from friends and family. You can take advantage of this number with payment processes enhanced by merchant services.
5. Saves Your Business From Fines – While PCI compliant systems may seem like a huge investment, it does protect your business from hefty fines. Unprotected PII may result in your business having to pay fines. With the advanced security features of merchant services, you can avoid putting your business in a position where the data you handle may be compromised.
6. Improves Payment Process Efficiency – With merchant services for your restaurant, you can reduce the occurrences of chargebacks. These are credit or debit card charges that get reversed when disputed. In the restaurant business, this is often the result of the customer getting billed incorrectly. It can be due to mixed orders or extra items being added to the ticket. These can be avoided with the help of efficient merchant services. With a lot of competition in the restaurant industry, you need all the help you can get to win and keep customers. And enhancing your payment processes can be a step towards a successful business.
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