Four Questions to Ask Before Choosing a Credit Card Processor

Card not present transactions

Our economy functions almost entirely on credit cards. Two out of every three dollars that change hands (in person) throughout our commerce system is made with a credit card. And almost 100% of online purchases– with the exception of the extremely small fraction made with checks– are made are made with credit cards. As a business owner, the credit cards payment system that you use has a huge impact on the efficiency of your business, the security of your customers, and even your reputation. If you are shopping for new credit cards payment system, we have put together a list of things you should consider.

Four Things to Consider Before Choosing a Credit Cards Payment System

  1. Does the credit card payment processing services offer around the clock support?
    Not being able to take a payment because your credit cards payment system is down has a horrible impact on your business. Not only do you lose sales while your system is not functioning, the customers who are turned away view your business as disorganized, and most likely will not return.

    One of the first aspects you should look at when choosing a credit card payment system is the level of support that the provider has. A few great questions that will help you gauge this include:

    • Do you offer 24/7 support?
    • If I have an issue, what method would I use to get support (by phone, email, chat, or another method)?
    • Do you have a tiered level of support or do you all users get all-inclusive support?
    • Is you support included in my regular service fees or additionally charged?
  2. What reputation for reliability does the credit card payment services have?
    As we mentioned before, not being able to process payments by credit card because your system is down is no bueno. Although you may not have access to a crystal ball to guarantee that you’ll never have an outage, choosing a company who has a track record for reliability gives you confidence that they will not be unnecessary downtime.


    Talk to other clients who use the credit card payment service and get their opinion of the level of reliability that the service offers. You you don’t have contact with other clients, you can research online reviews. Keep in mind that even a great service will get negative reviews sometimes, but if you see a reoccurring theme of unreliable service, take this as a red flag.
  3. What level of security does the credit card payment provider offer?
    This is probably the most important thing to consider when choosing a credit card payment service. Your customers are entrusting you with their sensitive information when they hand you their credit card. We’ve seen the devastating impact that a security compromise has on a business time and time again. Even huge enterprises, like Target and Sony, have found it debilitating; your small business cannot afford a security breach. Before choosing a credit card payment service, thoroughly inspect that security measures that they have in place to protect your customers’ personal data. Some great questions to ask to ensure your client’s safety include:

    • Do you provide any secondary security services to protect my business from a security breach?
    • What secure payment technology is in place? (You want to hear industry standards like end-to-end encryption and tokenization.)
    • Do you offer any insurance coverage that would pay for the damages if my customers’ data is compromised in your system?
    • Do you have any certifications that shows your compliance?
  4. Review the contract terms.
    You will be expected to sign a contract with whatever credit card payment processor you choose. Before you sign your life away, make sure to read it closely so that you understand exactly what you were agreeing to. Pay special attention to to any additional fees that you may be subject to: cancellation fees, cost for support (see our first point), fees for going over or under a transaction thresh hold. Understand the length of time that you are expected to stay in the contract. If the cost structure of the credit card payment service seems convoluted or lacks transparency, this is something that you should not take lightly.

Do you have any other tips for choosing a credit card payment system? Please share them in the comment section below!

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Sarah Todd

Sarah Todd

Sarah Todd, an investment banker, is a reporter and researcher for one of London’s leading media outlets. Formerly a trader and market maker at FTSE, she turned to media during the global recession. This website features some of her best and favourite articles, from all parts of the business world. Please let her guide you and your enterprise along the path to prosperity.