The question has been posed time and time again and the answer is relatively simple. The reality is that the ability to accept all major forms of payment is most preferred. Some businesses will accept a personal check and in-turn, accept more unnecessary risk than is advised to do so.
So there are a couple options for both processing credit cards as well as accepting checks that can not only make your customer base feel more comfortable doing business with you, but cause a substantial increase in the amount of sales for that given month. For some time, MasterCard and Visa were steady with almost the same risk profiles associated with their credit cards which ended up to be towards the lowest rates available in order to take credit cards. Then came the Discover card. This card from within the fee structure was always a little higher on the rate profile and carried with it many more feature benefits than either MasterCard or Visa. The card issuer, in this case Discover, could then pass part of these rates to the consumer in the form of benefits, e.g., frequent flyer miles, points toward products or services etc.
All cards are not created equal. The rates usually fluctuate between 2%-4% of the total transaction. Many in the affluent market segment usually use AmEx for their purchases in order to take advantage of the points offered by American Express usually on their travel expenses and reimbursement packages. On the flip side to this coin, the merchants have to eat the cost of the transaction while the consumers are protected. This is for many merchants a difficult choice. Credit cards processing in the United States currently runs over 75 million transactions per day on average, so there is a wide spectrum of products that card issuers can offer in order to service the consumer accordingly. The ability to take credit cards is a choice by most merchants while for instance in Chinatown Flushing, Queens, New York, the entire city runs on cash only because Chinese merchants do not wish to pay taxes and also do not wish to create a record of the transaction.
American Express offers your business the ability to accepts credit cards from an affluent market. This market has by far the largest purchasing power in the world. The largest recorded transaction was for a Yacht for over $24 million on a Black American Express card. American Express is very vigilant when it comes to card protection services. They have careful fraud monitoring programs in place that make sure that if there are any transactions that are out of the ordinary or just plain, not supposed to be there then the merchant services account will “red flag” the transaction and prompt the machine to need approval either by telephone conversation that the person who is holding the card, is in fact the person that is the owner of the same card also. Processing credit card transactions is vital depending on your market segment. (more…)