As the year comes to a close, SMEs are facing more uncertainty than ever before. The current economic landscape is perceived to be worse than the pandemic by four out of five SME owners in the UK (79%).
Since the pandemic, accepting credit cards has become a no-brainer for UK businesses, and finding the right payment processing partner has never been more important.
In order to pass money from a customer’s card to your bank account, you’ll need certain things in place, including legal, efficient, and secure payment processing. This is where ‘Acquirers’ or ‘Acquiring Banks’ come into play.
You can learn a whole lot more about Acquirers from this article we wrote earlier this year.
Today we’re talking about the four main questions you should ask a potential partner to make sure they can support your business long and short-term:
1. What are the types of card payments you accept?
Basically, acquiring banks give merchants accounts through which transactions can be processed. A lot of acquirers also have memberships with the card schemes you want to accept, like Visa and Mastercard.
There are strict rules about accepting cards, which the acquirer fulfils and passes on to the merchant. Their job is to act as a middleman between card schemes and merchants, and they check whether you meet the rules and security requirements.
Some acquirers don’t support the Discover Card or American Express, so this is something you may want to check out first if you’re trading internationally.
With the recent rise of contactless payments, eWallets have become prevalent, so it’s equally important that your Acquirer supports Apple or Android Payment systems.
2. What fees do you charge?
It is important for you to understand how much your prospective acquiring partnership will cost you. An acquirer should be upfront about fees and prices. It’s common for acquiring companies to charge a percentage of each transaction but depending on whether the payment is local or foreign, there might be additional costs involved.
Here are some fees you’ll want to know about:
- Fees for joining/applying
- Fees for setup
- Monthly fees
- Charges for transactions, including transaction limits
- Fees for refunds/chargebacks
- Fees for payouts and settlements
- Fees for currency conversion
- Fees for additional features
3. What security measures do you have in place?
When it comes to security, there’s no room for doubt. The acquiring bank assumes the risk of merchant fraud when it issues a merchant account.
It’s easy for merchants to process transactions with stolen card numbers. Whenever cardholders issue chargebacks, they will have to assume financial responsibility and reimburse them.
It is, therefore, imperative that merchants choose acquirers with anti-fraud features, such as 3-D Secure, to comply with secure authentication and PSD2.regulation.
4. How soon will I receive funds from my transactions?
The number of days until you get paid for customer transactions is called settlement periods, payouts, or funding cycles. Your acquirer will transfer money from your merchant account to your bank account at the end of each settlement period. These can be daily, weekly or monthly.
If your business model involves recurring or subscription-based transactions, pick an acquirer that supports them easily.
Bonus question: How do you integrate with my business?
There are two ways to integrate online payments in your SME: through an API or via a dedicated payment page.
By using an API, transactions can be processed through server-to-server communication. First, the merchant collects and stores end-user data, then sends it to the payment service provider.
With the second method, the checkout page is embedded in the merchant’s website, but it’s stored on the payment provider’s server. All data is also collected and processed on the provider’s server.
What’s the best way to get an acquirer?
You might still be wondering what’s best for your business. Taking this decision requires a lot of thought.
With over two decades of experience, Trust Payments’ team is here to answer your questions and make sure your business gets the right solution.
Our TRU Acquiring service is a one-stop-shop for payments, allowing you to accept cards, eWallets and hundreds of alternative payment types across all of your channels globally.
Find out more by getting in touch with us today.