Merchant services: the cost of getting paid

credit card

Taking payment for products or services is central to every business’s operations, but cash isn’t king like it was in the past.

These days, with businesses having online commerce options and consumers having a preference for online and card payments, your business’s merchant services have joined the realm of strategy for businesses of all sizes. Use this quick guide to understanding the nuances of merchant services and discover all-important ways to save.

What are merchant services?

These days, we are so used to swiping a card and making a successful payment as part of our daily lives that we aren’t really aware of the steps that take place in the background (and so it should be!). Merchant services is the phrase defining the transactions that take place behind the scenes in the payment process.



What is the process?

  1. When a customer swipes his or her card, a payment request goes through a payment gateway, which contacts your bank.
  2. Your business bank requests authorisation from your customer’s bank.
  3. Money is released from the customer’s bank account into your merchant account.
  4. Fees are deducted and the final amount appears in your business bank account. This can be a next-day payment or can take anything from two to five working days.

What to think about when shopping for merchant services?

  • Cost: Your merchant service fees will make a very big difference to your bottom line. It pays dividends to shop for the most competitive price. However, this is not always easily done at face value, with factors such as the type of business, risk, and credit history playing a role in the final price.
  • Value: Find out what is included in the package.
  • Transparency: The last thing you want is to sign the deal only to find out about hidden costs after the fact. Work with a provider with a reputation for transparency.
  • Ease: Does the merchant service provider offer seamless end-to-end service? Work with a merchant service provider who takes the time to tell you what kind of services are required for your business needs.
  • Support: Your merchant service provider should have support systems in place so, when things go down, your business doesn’t have to suffer.

Smarter Business is proud to include merchant services amongst its stable of services. Benefits include:

  • Fixed-fee transaction charges
  • Broadband terminals at £12 per month
  • No authorisation and PCI compliance fees
  • No minimum monthly fee
  • Next-day payment at no extra cost
  • 24/7 support
  • Faulty terminals will be replaced the next day

Contact Smarter Business here to find out about how to enhance your business competitiveness and strategise to do smarter business through savings.