How To Set Up A Merchant Account: A Step-by-Step Guide

As a business owner, you might already know that debit and credit card payments can be processed through merchant services. But the process of actually getting a merchant account is not that well known. This is primarily due to the various steps that are involved in setting up payment methods through merchant account providers.

Even if it might seem a little tricky at first, signing up with a conventional or online merchant account services provider is really quite simple. You’ll need to take your time to understand the underlying aspects. Once you have sufficient knowledge about merchant account services, you can move forward with signing up for traditional and mobile payment processing solutions with ease.

From a high-level view, once you’ve chosen your preferred account provider, you’ll need to submit an application with a variety of documentation, like your business license and credit history. Once the provider approves the application, you go through the underwriting process and then set up your new equipment and software. After that, you’re up and running.

Of course, that’s a bird’s-eye view. With this in mind, let’s dive into a detailed overview of how merchant services actually work, more about what goes into the process of opening a merchant account, as well as what to look for when searching for the right merchant account provider.

  1. How Merchant Accounts Work
  2. Identify the Kind of Merchant Services You Need
  3. Determine Merchant Account Costs
  4. Find the Best Merchant Account Provider for Your Business
  5. Submit Your Merchant Application
  6. Set Up the Merchant Equipment and Software
  7. Start Processing Payments

Understand Just How Merchant Accounts Work

Before you start the sign-up process with merchant account providers for your small business, let’s first look at how these services work.

Setting Up A Merchant Account_Your Business_Merchant Account Provider_Payment Processor_Body Image

Setting up your merchant account involves a relationship between three parties:

  1. The Merchant. This refers to you and your business.
  2. The Acquiring Bank or Merchant Account Providers. This is the entity you will sign up with to hold your merchant account and receive funds from customer payments.
  3. The Payment Processor. This refers to the entity that manages and authorizes the actual transactions from credit card companies such as Visa, Mastercard, and American Express that you will accept payments. They are responsible for ensuring funds are transferred so that businesses get paid on time.

The Merchant Account Process

The set-up process for a merchant account actually begins with the need to start accepting card payments from your customers.

To do that, you then need to enter a contract with an acquiring bank or a reliable payment solutions provider. These solution providers then let you select which credit card networks, such as Visa or Mastercard, you will accept payments from.

No matter the type of merchant account you want to set up—conventional, mobile, or online merchant account services—the involvement of the acquiring bank/payment provider, as well as the credit card network, remains a constant feature.

Whenever a customer submits their payment via a card reader or enters its details on your checkout page, the information is processed through your acquiring bank or payment solutions provider.

From there, it’s handled by the credit card networks such as Visa or Mastercard, which authorize the payment and transfer it to your merchant account.

The payment procedure goes through multiple steps to complete. But even then, the process is completed within a few seconds.

Learn What Kind of Merchant Services You Want

The first step in signing up for a merchant account comes in the form of deciding what kind of services your business needs.

Keep in mind that the primary goal of signing up with merchant account services is to accept credit and debit card payments and not depend on cash transactions.

However, the right merchant services provider will arm you with all the payment options and resources your business needs to go even further than that. It also supports the ability of your business to create a higher quality of service for your customer, while also saving your company money.

In-person Payments

If you run a brick-and-mortar store, then going with a conventional point of sale (POS) terminal is a good idea. POS terminals can process payments by syncing with the merchant software on your register.

Mobile Payments

If you require a mobile setup, then you can go with mobile payment processing solutions. These modern card readers are wireless and can attach to your iOS or Android devices to process card payments remotely. (A common example of a mobile card reader are Square readers. If you’ve been to a food truck, chances are you’ve seen a Square reader.)

In addition to simply accepting credit card payments on a mobile reader, you’ll also want to find out if you can take digital wallet payments like PayPal, Venmo, or Apple Pay. 

eCommerce Payments

Conversely, if you have an online business, sign up with a merchant account provider that provides you with an online payment gateway. This allows you to accept online transactions over the web and receive them directly in your bank account via your merchant services provider.

Over-the-phone Payments

Similarly, if you process payments over the phone, then you can sign up for a virtual terminal that will allow you to enter the customer’s card details manually into your system.

An Important Piece to Consider: Depending upon the type of merchant services you want to set up, you should ensure you also receive the proper payment processing equipment needed to accept your preferred credit card payment types.

This equipment comes directly from your acquiring bank or merchant services provider and has different costs associated with it. In the case of online payments, this comes in terms of software and payment gateway support and has a service fee associated with it.

Merchant Account Costs

Regardless of the type of payment solutions you end up choosing from your service provider, you will have to account for a variety of fees to be able to benefit from them.

These costs include but are not limited to:

  • Setup Fee
  • Monthly Maintenance Fee
  • Transaction Fee
  • Credit Card Processing Fees
  • Equipment Fee
  • Early Termination Fees
  • Chargeback Fees

In most cases, transaction fees represent the bulk of fees charged by merchant account providers. Most providers take a cut out of each sale plus a small transaction fee. This pricing model is known as flat-rate pricing, and the transaction fee percentage is based on your sales volume.

While this payment structure works well for businesses with low credit card transaction volumes, it can get pretty costly for high-volume merchants. Thus, they usually go for a pricing model commonly known as interchange-plus or interchange markup pricing. In this case, the provider will charge you the exact interchange rate for that transaction plus a set fee, often between $0.02 and $0.15. Because interchange rates vary depending on the banks and payment type involved, some transactions will end up much cheaper than flat rate. 

However, that method can end up still costing high-volume businesses a lot —and it makes it extremely difficult to predict how much you’ll owe in fees each month. 

This is where Stax can give businesses an advantage. Instead of taking a percentage of your sales, you’re simply charged a flat membership fee for access to wholesale interchange rates. Stax’s payment structure is often more cost-effective and can save businesses up to 40% in processing costs.

It’s also important to note that all merchant account providers work upon the same underlying process, but not all of them have equal services.

Some excel in terms of supporting mobile payments. Whereas, others take pride in delivering additional support with their services.

Depending upon their services, these vendors also charge different fees for the same payment services.

For example, some acquiring banks will charge you their service fee as well as the credit card network’s processing fee on each transaction. On the other hand, modern service providers often offer reduced costs that are included in their monthly fees. It’s factors like this that can help you differentiate between various merchant account providers and understand your potential expenses between processing rates, annual fees, and additional fees.

Paying close attention while comparing the costs of acquiring banks or service providers is key to finding the best merchant account provider for your business.

Compare Different Merchant Services

Since you can accept credit and debit card payments in a number of ways, it is essential to choose an acquiring bank or account provider that supports all your needs.

For instance, if you need a way to accept credit cards in the form of traditional, mobile, and online payment methods, then your selected payment processor must offer services that allow you to support them all.

Doing so helps you manage all your finances in one location.

In most cases, it also saves you from paying additional setup costs or higher equipment fees.

Additionally, when doing a comparison between each service provider, you should also look at the types of businesses they serve and their customer support.

Some payment processors also have different restrictions for what they consider high-risk businesses, as well as how they handle PCI compliance.

Submit Your Merchant Application

Up until a few years ago, getting a merchant account was a very complicated and grueling process. Submitting your business license, physically verifying your business location, and providing your credit score information were all part of obtaining a merchant account.

But thanks to the advancements in financial technology, the process is now super easy and can be completed in minutes. You just need to contact the right provider that uses modern solutions to process all applications.

Visit the Merchant Account Provider’s Website

When you have done your research in terms of payment services, costs, and overall reliability, simply visit the website of the acquiring bank or payment solutions provider to apply for a merchant account.

Select the Required Services

Sign up for the kind of merchant services you need for your small business. You’ll need to specify your needs for conventional and/or mobile payment processing solutions.

You will also need to move forward with choosing the necessary equipment for your solutions.

A great merchant account provider will have experts on hand to help you with the selection process and make sure you are making the best decision that fit your needs.

Submit the Required Details and Documents

Follow the process of filling out all the required details about your business. This will often require your personal information, business information, as well as any additional data that applies to your case.

Depending on the provider, this may feel like the most time-consuming step in the application process. But it is one of the most important as these extra steps really help in ensuring your business is protected and able to truly maximize all the merchant service providers can offer.

However, with a little bit of planning, this can be easily checked off the list. You simply need to put together the necessary information and documents, which the financial institution will then use to verify and underwrite your application.

Here are the most common documents and details required by merchant services providers during the application process:

  • General info and business documentation, including your contact information, and employer identification number (EIN). articles of incorporation, business license, credit history, etc.
  • Your business’ financial statements. This includes your business bank account statements, balance sheets, cash flow, income statements, records of credit card transactions, etc.
  • Other supporting documents, may include a business plan, voided checks, forecasts, marketing materials, etc.

Provide Additional Information if Necessary

Depending upon the efficiency of your chosen acquiring bank or payment provider, you will receive an update on your application status in just a few days. Your application may get approved, or the provider might require some additional information to put it through. Submit the details and move on.

Go Through the Underwriting Process

Once your information is submitted, the provider will review and analyze your application to ensure accuracy and evaluate risk. Known as the underwriting process, this step is necessary to determine your eligibility for a merchant account.

This step can take a few minutes to several business days depending on your provider, your industry, and the type of business you have. High-risk merchants may take longer to underwrite.

Setup the Merchant Equipment and Software

The next part of the process is receiving your equipment and setting up your software until you can start using the required merchant services. Upon approval, you may also need to make payments for equipment costs and service fees.

Most merchant account providers make this process easier by providing extensive onboarding support—often even a support person to walk you through set-up. By following the provided instructions and seeking help when you need it, setting up your merchant account is simple.

Enjoy a World of Efficiency and Superior Business Processes

By turning to physical or online merchant account services, you do not just welcome additional payment methods. You also improve and scale your business operations effectively.

Using traditional, conventional, or mobile payment processing solutions allows you to:

  • Increase your sales.
  • Improve your financial management.
  • Become more efficient in processing payments.
  • Expand your business operations to include more avenues of delivery.
  • Deliver a better customer experience through multiple payment methods.

If you are on the fence about signing up for merchant services, then this will be the time to make a decision. Move forward with easily integrating modern payment solutions in your day-to-day business operations.

At Stax, we take pride in offering easy-to-use yet highly efficient payment solutions to our clients. From conventional POS support to online merchant account services, we can fulfill all your merchant account needs and help you scale your operations to the next level.

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FAQs about Merchant Account

Q: What is a merchant account?

A merchant account is a service that enables businesses to accept debit and credit card payments by processing them through the merchant services. This process involves the merchant, the acquiring bank or merchant account providers, and the payment processor.

Q: How does a merchant account work?

Setting up a merchant account involves a relationship between three parties: the merchant (you), the acquiring bank or merchant account provider, and the payment processor. When a customer submits their payment, the information is processed through your acquiring bank or payment solutions provider, then handled by the credit card networks, which authorize the payment and transfer it to your merchant account.

Q: What is the process to set up a merchant account?

Setting up a merchant account involves first knowing the kind of services your business needs. Services can range from in-person payments, mobile payments, eCommerce payments, to over-the-phone payments. Next, the merchant should compare various service providers for support, costs, and reliability. Once a service provider is chosen, online applications can be filled out and documentation such as general info, business documentation, business’ financial statements, and other supporting documents can be submitted for review and underwriting. Lastly, set up the equipment and software provided by your acquiring bank or merchant services provider.

Q: What costs are associated with a merchant account?

The costs associated with a merchant account may include setup fee, monthly maintenance fee, transaction fee, credit card processing fees, equipment fee, and early termination fees.

Q: What are the benefits of using a merchant account for my business?

Having a merchant account helps a business increase its sales, improve financial management, become more efficient in processing payments, expand business operations, and deliver a better customer experience as it provides a wider variety of payment options. It also has the potential of saving up to 40% in processing costs for high-volume merchants by using payment structures like Stax’s that charge a flat membership fee instead of a cut from each sale.

Q: What are the key factors to consider when choosing a merchant account provider?

When choosing a merchant account provider, consider factors such as the types of payments they can handle (traditional, mobile, online, etc.), the types of businesses they serve, their customer support, PCI compliance, their pricing structure, and the associated fees for their services.

Q: What happens after the merchant account is set up?

After the merchant account is set up, merchants can start using the required services to process payments. This starts with setting up merchant equipment and software and making payments for hardware costs and service fees. The provider typically provides comprehensive onboarding support to simplify the setup process.


 

11 Easy Ways Businesses are Accepting Payments Online

When the world wide web became available to the public in the early ’90s, the growth of eCommerce and online shopping wasn’t far behind. With triple-digit growth seen annually since its emergence in the mid-1990s, online shopping now accounts for 13% of all U.S. retail sales.  Clearly, accepting online payments is no longer an option for your business—it’s a must.

One of the major benefits of accepting payments online is the ability to get paid faster and in some scenarios, expand your revenue outside your local area of business. For professional service businesses such as legal consultations or therapeutic services online invoicing lets customers and clients the ability to pay for your products and services from anywhere at any time.

Whether you’re currently transitioning your company to a digital format or you are interested in finding a more convenient approach to get paid faster, here are 11 ways your business can accept payments online.

Accepting Online Payments using Credit and Debit Cards

As a business owner processing payments using a credit card or debit card is most common. The process uses an ACH transfer (Automated Clearing House transfer) or the transfer of money electronically from the customer’s bank account through the ACH network to the merchant’s bank account.

These transfers don’t require a payment gateway to be processed (although you do need a merchant account). ACH payment transaction fees are usually lower than credit card processing fees and are charged either per transaction or at a flat rate. For scenarios where the card isn’t present, you can use its details to perform contactless payments via online or digital payment gateways.

Mobile Payment Processing

As payment technology continues to advance financial institutions are increasingly providing customers with the ability to use mobile phones for banking transactions. This increases your customer’s ability to pay for just about anything from anywhere. Accepting mobile payments saves time by allowing you to collect compensation right from your phone or tablet.

With additional payment processing methods such as Apple and Google Pay on the rise, cloud-based payments have become a necessity. Most credit card processors use cloud-based technology, so your data, as well as your customer’s information, is secure. In other words, mobile payments are secure, fast, and convenient.

eChecks Through ACH Process

An eCheck is simply a form of online payment. Money is withdrawn from the payer’s checking account through an electronic funds transfer (EFT). Funds are electronically withdrawn from your customer’s account, sent via the ACH network to the payee’s banking institution, and then electronically deposited into the payee’s account.

eChecks are one of the most popular types of recurring payments. Funds are verified within 24 to 48 hours of the transaction being initiated. Should the payer have the funds available in their checking/bank account, the transaction is cleared within 3 to 5 business days and the funds are moved from the payer’s account to the payee’s account.

Click to Pay Email Invoicing

Email invoicing is the exchange of the invoice document between a business and a customer in an integrated electronic format. Traditional invoicing is manual and tedious, often prone to human error resulting in increased costs and payment processing lifecycles for your business.

Email invoicing or electronic invoicing is an easy and safe way for businesses to send out online payment requests. With a simple click, your customers can open the invoice via email, input their preferred payment information, and pay you instantly.

With email invoicing, you’re also able to schedule payment reminders and recurring payment options for long-term customers.

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Recurring Billing

Also known as auto-pay, recurring billing means the customer has authorized the merchant to deduct payments for recurring goods and services each month from their bank account. Payments can also be made with a securely saved debit or credit card. Recurring billing and payments prevent late fees by processing payments on or before their due date.

Recurring billing is effective for a wide range of businesses. Not only does it decrease late or missed payments, but it also improves your cash flow and assists your business with long-term financial planning.

SMS Text Payment Requests

SMS payments (sometimes referred to as text to pay) allow businesses to request payments and for customers to pay for goods, services, or products via a text message sent from a mobile phone. With the SMS payment system, purchasers send a text message to pay for an item or service.

With a 95% open rate over email invoicing, sending customers SMS text payment requests minimize your turnaround time of getting paid and optimize the opportunity for your customers to pay using digital payment options directly from their smartphone.

Related Article: What is Text To Pay And How Can You Leverage It For Your Business

Contactless Payment Options

Industry data shows that global contactless card purchases are forecasted to hit over $10 trillion by 2027. 

This payment method is clearly here to stay, so if you currently don’t accept contactless payments, now is the time to upgrade your system. 

Offering contactless payment methods provides safe and efficient payment options for your customers. Outside of mobile payment solutions, there are various types of contactless payments, including touch-to-pay credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Google Pay, Fitbit Pay that can be used via smartphone or smartwatch, as well as other contact-free devices.

Virtual Terminal

A Virtual Terminal is a web-based payment application that assists your business with sending invoices, scheduling future & recurring payments, and it securely saves payment information for customers with recurring charges. Fit for businesses that primarily operate over the phone, require online invoicing, or have recurring monthly memberships, virtual terminals incorporate your entire payment experience into one easy-to-use platform.

Built into your integrated payment platform a virtual terminal allows your business to accept a variety of online payment types including debit, credit, and ACH bank payments all from your dashboard.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) Payments

Peer-to-peer (P2P) payments refer to the transfer of funds between individuals or entities without the involvement of traditional financial intermediaries such as banks. These transactions are typically facilitated through digital platforms or mobile applications (like Zelle and Venmo) which connect users directly to initiate the transfer.

P2P payments offer a convenient and efficient way to send and receive money, eliminating the need for physical cash or checks. They are often used for various purposes, such as splitting bills, repaying friends or family, or making purchases from individuals or small businesses.

eCommerce Shopping Cart

eCommerce refers to internet-based stores selling goods and or services to customers. This online shopping network allows people to do business without the constraint of distance and time.

Simply put, once a customer has added items or services to their online shopping cart, they can go directly to the checkout page. There, they can pay with a credit or debit card, processing their payment digitally. This process allows your customers to complete their entire purchase without ever having to leave the business’s website.

Payment Gateway Plug-Ins

A payment gateway plug-in authorizes credit cards or direct payment processing for e-businesses, online retailers, or traditional brick-and-mortar stores with an online presence. Adding a payment gateway plug-in to your business website allows you to seamlessly process payments directly from your web store.

Adding a payment gateway plug-in is an ideal solution for businesses interested in selling goods and services online via an eCommerce store. Doing so makes purchasing quick and easy for customers and expands your client reach, expanding your business’s ability to generate revenue exceeding your local area.

How Can Stax Help Your Business With Accepting Payments Online?

Online payment solutions are crucial to modern business. Without them, you are unable to accept payment methods that are becoming an industry standard.

While card-not-present rates tend to be higher, with Stax you save more on the costs. Not only will your business have access to the wholesale card-not-present rates, but you’ll also gain access to the Stax Platform. This helps your business easily streamline payments, increasing flexibility in how you receive payments between in-store and online.

Whether it’s invoicing, recurring billing, pay by phone, contactless payments, or being able to receive payments through your website, Stax offers multiple online payment options that can help your business succeed.

10 Ways Businesses Are Accepting Payments Online

How to Accept Payments Online: 3 Simple Steps

Every business operating in this current day and age—whether brick-and-mortar or eCommerce—must do so in an efficient and effective manner. A core component of this new era is the speed and convenience of payments. Further, it is crucial for small business owners to be able to accept payments online.

Not only is it a requirement for being up to date with the latest payment processing technology, but it is also a matter of meeting customers’ demands and fulfilling their expectations.

That is why the total transaction value of digital payments in 2023 is projected to reach a whopping $9.46 trillion. With more and more integrated payment platform solutions coming to the forefront, this figure is likely to grow at an exponential pace.

If you have just started your business or want to set up virtual terminals for credit card processing for an older entity, the process may seem a bit daunting. But even if it sounds stressful, it isn’t impossible to understand.

If you use the right kind of merchant services, you can begin to collect payments online in no time. Here’s how you can collect online payments and run your online store.

Step 1: Find an Integrated Payment Solution

To start taking payments online without any hassles, your best bet is to turn towards an integrated payment platform as your payment service provider. This will give you the ability to process and automatically sync major credit cards (e.g. Mastercard, Visa, Discover, American Express), debit cards, automatic clearing house bank transfers of ACH payments, and e-check transactions.

Thankfully, specialized entities provide these integrated payment platform solutions and make the process simple.

Built with scalability in mind, these virtual terminals for payment card processing can help you with accepting credit card payments online in no time using an easy-to-use payment gateway. But they do not stop there. Depending on the kind of payment technology you select, you can also accept an array of other digital payments.

These include but are not limited to digital wallets (like PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc.), recurring billing, email invoicing, text2Pay, and bank account payments.

If you select an integrated payment method, you can also set up your point of sale (POS) terminal at your brick-and-mortar store with it. This way, you can see all your revenues and incoming credit card transactions in one place.

With Stax, you can offer a variety of payment options to your customers including credit and debit card payments, mobile payments, ACH transfers, eChecks, and contactless payments. You can even create customizable, professional invoices for your customers or send them a checkout link via text or email to get paid faster.

Step 2: Making Payment Provider Comparisons

You may have seen it firsthand.

It’s common (and widely expected) for your customers to shop around for details at other payment service providers before going with what you have to offer.

Similarly, you need to make proper comparisons between integrated payment platform services before selecting one for your online business.

Here, you will need to keep some key factors in mind. These aspects include but are not limited to:

  • Functionality. Check what kind of features and integrations the solution offers. Does it help you keep your customers’ information safe by ensuring PCI compliance? Does it allow you to integrate your most commonly used business apps with its APIs?
  • Ease of use. Evaluate how easy it is going to be for your employees to learn and use the solution.
  • Variability. Check if the payment service provider is only offering virtual terminals for payment card processing or if you can accept multiple payment methods.
  • Cost. Compare processing fees and costs between other payment service providers to make sure you are paying competitive prices. While there’s no way to accept online payments for free (because of the non-negotiable interchange fees set by card networks), look for a merchant account provider that doesn’t charge a host of additional fees or markups. Typically, they would pass on the costs of interchange and their markup in the form of monthly fees or transaction fees. As such, providers like Stax which offer membership-based pricing with no hidden fees or markups, are the most cost-effective for growing businesses.
  • Customer support. Evaluate the level of customer support offered by each provider to ensure that you receive prompt assistance when needed. Look for providers that offer 24/7 customer support through multiple channels such as phone, email, or live chat. Read reviews and testimonials from existing customers to get an idea of their satisfaction with the provider’s support services.

Step 3: Setting Up Your Payment Solution

Now that you have made your decision about which online payment service provider to go with, it’s time to set it all up.

Some integrated payment platform providers make the onboarding process as smooth as possible. Make sure that you choose a solution that not only provides you with an easy setup but also goes on to offer long-term ease of use.

As a general rule, always keep in touch with the payment service provider while setting up payment gateways or virtual terminals for payment card processing. This allows you to ask questions and get relevant answers during and after the setup phase to avoid any potential issues.

The Bottom Line

At Stax, we make it quick and easy for businesses to accept credit cards in-person, online, and on the go. Through our best-in-class, integrated solutions, Stax gives your business the ability to accept payments anytime, anywhere across Apple or Android applications.

Our smart all-in-one platform is perfect for businesses that need online payment services or take payments over the phone. With simple invoicing, recurring charges, and online bill pay, you’ll get paid faster with Stax.

If you are currently in the process of finding an online payment processing software, reach out to Stax today. Our Payment Consultants will be glad to answer any questions you may have and help you find a solution that’s a perfect fit for you.

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FAQs about Accepting Online Payments

Q: What are some ways businesses can accept payments online?

Businesses can accept online payments through various methods such as credit and debit cards, mobile payment processing, eChecks, email invoicing, recurring billing, SMS text payment requests, contactless payment options, virtual terminals, peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, eCommerce shopping carts, and payment gateway plug-ins.

Q: Why are online payments important for businesses?

Online payments are crucial for modern businesses as they facilitate transactions without the constraints of time and distance. They also provide faster payment processing, thereby improving cash flow. In an increasingly digital world, not accepting online payment methods may limit a business’s customer base and revenue prospects.

Q: Can businesses accept payments via mobile devices?

Yes, with the advancing technology, businesses can now accept payments via mobile devices. This method is convenient, fast, and secure, allowing customers to pay from anywhere, anytime.

Q: What are eChecks and how do they work?

eChecks are a form of online payment where money is withdrawn electronically from the payer’s checking account and deposited into the payee’s account via an electronic funds transfer (EFT). eChecks are popular for processing recurring payments and typically clear within 3 to 5 business days.

Q: What is Email invoicing?

Email invoicing is the digital exchange of invoice documents between a business and a customer. It enables businesses to send out payment requests to their customers online. Customers can then open the invoice via email, enter their desired payment information, and make instant payments.

Q: How does SMS Text Payment Requests work?

SMS payments allow businesses to request payments via a text message sent from a mobile phone. With a high open rate, SMS payment requests offer a quick turnaround time for receiving payments and allow customers to use digital payment options directly from their smartphones.

Q: What are contactless payment options?

Contactless payment methods allow customers to make payments without physically touching payment hardware. These methods include touch-to-pay credit and debit cards, Apple Pay, Android Pay, Google Pay, and Fitbit Pay. They can be used via a smartphone, smartwatch, or other contact-free devices.

Q: How can Peer-to-peer (P2P) Payments benefit businesses?

Peer-to-peer (P2P) payments allow the transfer of funds between individuals or entities without the need for traditional financial intermediaries. They offer a convenient and efficient way to send and receive funds, eliminating the need for physical cash or checks.

Q: What is an eCommerce shopping cart in the context of online payments?

An eCommerce shopping cart is a software application that allows customers to select and store items for purchase while browsing an online store. Upon checkout, customers can pay for these items using their desired online payment method.

Q: What is a Payment Gateway Plug-In?

A payment gateway plug-in authorizes credit cards or direct payment processing for e-businesses and online retailers. This plug-in allows businesses to seamlessly process payments directly from their e-commerce store.

Q: How can businesses set up an online payment solution?

Businesses need to select an integrated payment platform that can process major credit cards, debit cards, ACH payments, and e-check transactions. Comparison of different providers, considering functionality, ease of use, payment methods supported, cost, and customer support is crucial in making an informed decision. After selecting the provider, businesses can set up the solution with the help of customer support from the provider.


 

Understanding Fee Statements: Everything Business Owners Need to Know

Knowledge is power when it comes to winning in business (and life). This is especially true in the realm of fees, fee statements, and payments. 

Virtually all merchants today must accept credit cards and other non-cash modes of payment. And as you know, processing these transactions isn’t free; that’s why you need to understand the fees you’re being charged and ensure you’re not paying more than you should. 

The first step to doing that is understanding the fee statement. Sometimes referred to as a merchant account statement, your fee statement is a detailed record of all transactions processed, associated fees, and other account-related activities over a specific period.

In this article, we’ll help you decode your fee statement, so you can run the numbers and identify areas of potential savings. 

TL;DR

  • A fee statement, also known as a merchant account statement, details all the transactions a business processed, the associated fees, and account-related activities over a specific period. 
  • Not all fee statements look the same. The exact information that’ll be included in your fee statement will depend on your payment processor’s pricing structure.
  • Don’t just take your fee statement’s information at face value. Cross-check the data with your own records and sales reports. This step helps ensure accuracy, uncover potential errors, and confirm you’re not charged for transactions you didn’t process.

Learn More

What is a Fee Statement?

A fee statement, also known as a merchant account statement, is a document provided by your merchant services provider, typically every month. It outlines all the transactions that your business has processed during the statement period, including credit and debit card sales and refunds. 

What Information Can Be Found in the Fee Statement?

The merchant fee statement should detail your account activity, as well as the transactions and fee information for the month. Here’s a breakdown of the key information you can expect when you view your statement.

Fee overview

This section is usually found at the top of the statement, and it shows the total fees you’ve been charged. If you want a quick look at the amount due, you should look here. 

Summary of account activity

Some statements may also provide a quick summary of your account activity for the month. This usually includes the total number of transactions, sales volume, refunds, chargebacks, etc. 

Detailed list of transactions

Your statement will also go into deeper detail about your account activity. This typically means listing each individual transaction processed during the statement period.

Fees charged

In addition to listing the merchant’s transactions, the fee statement also details the fees associated with these transactions, including:

  • transaction fees (interchange, assessments, and markup)
  • monthly service fee
  • terminal fees
  • payment gateway fees
  • early termination fees
  • other incidentals like chargeback fees
  • retrieval fees
  • paper statement fee
  • account fees
  • monthly fees

It’s important to note that not all fee statements look the same. The exact information that’ll be included in your fee statement will depend on your payment processor’s pricing structure. 

For instance, if you’re working with a provider that uses interchange plus pricing, then your statement will likely have a breakdown of interchange fees and the markup of your merchant services provider. 

On the other hand, if you’re using a provider like Stax, which doesn’t charge markups and instead uses a membership-based structure, then your fee statement won’t have those markup costs. 

Example of a Fee Statement

To give you a better idea of what a fee statement can look like, here’s an example of the merchant statement we have at Stax. 

Let’s break down the different components of their merchant account statement. 

  • The amount in the “Total” section represents the merchant’s gross funds, less any refunds and surcharge fees. 
  • The amount in the “Total Fees” section lists the fees the merchant incurred for non-surcharged transactions. 
  • Processing fees are paid for non-surcharged transactions. 
  • The Surcharge column shows the surcharges customers paid, categorized based on the card brand. 

Again, your statement will likely look different, depending on your processors and the payment methods you accept. Hopefully, though, this example gives you a solid foundation for understanding the core components of most fee statements.

How to Access the Fee Statement

Like most financial statements, your fee statement can be sent via mail, or you can opt to go paperless and have the documents emailed to you. Modern payment processors usually have a merchant portal where you can log in and access your monthly statements. 

Note that most paperless options require an enrollment process. As such, if you prefer to go digital and have the documents available online, ask your provider about their capabilities. 

How to Review Your Merchant Fee Statement

Now that we’ve covered the basic anatomy of merchant fee statements, let’s look at the steps you can take to review yours effectively. 

Understand your statement

The best way to make sense of your statements is to understand the basics—i.e., what the different terms mean, the different types of fees, and how they apply to your business operations.

The good news is that if you’ve made it this far, you’re well on your way to understanding your fee statements. 

Set aside time to review these documents

Just like with any important task, scheduling an activity increases the likelihood of it getting done. If you really want to dig into your statements, put some time into your calendar to review them.

Familiarize yourself with your statement fee schedule so you know when it’s coming. Then, block out an hour or so to go through it. This structured approach ensures you won’t overlook or rush this financial task.

Verify the information

Don’t just take any information at face value. Cross-check your fee statement data with your own records and sales reports. This step helps you ensure accuracy, uncover potential errors, and confirm you’re not being charged for transactions that shouldn’t have incurred fees.

Pro tip: Most POS systems offer sales and transaction reports that can help you verify the information on your fee statement. Plus, if you’re using integrated payments, generating payment reports that directly correspond with your merchant account activities is relatively easy. Leveraging these tools can simplify the verification process so you can spend less time drilling down on the numbers. 

Compare the information with previous periods

Compare your current statement with the ones you’ve received in the past. This will allow you to spot trends, identify inconsistencies, and monitor changes in your payment processing costs over time. 

Compare different providers

If you switched providers, it’s also helpful to compare the statements of different payment processors. Which vendor is more transparent? Which one offers better rates? The best way to get answers is to compare and contrast the different statements. 

Get in touch with your payment processor if needed

See anything amiss on your fee statement? Get in touch with your provider and bring up discrepancies, errors, or parts that aren’t clear. In addition to rectifying any mistakes, having these conversations will help you better navigate the complexities of payment processing. 

Bringing it all together

Understanding your merchant fee statement isn’t just about digging into financial documents; it’s about gaining better control of your business’ financial health. Knowing exactly what each line and amount means puts you in a better position to negotiate fees, save money, and run a stronger business overall. 

And if you need a merchant services partner that offers powerful payment solutions, transparent fees, and top-notch customer support—check out Stax Payments. 

Unlike other payment processors, Stax doesn’t take a cut out of your revenue. Our membership model gives you access to wholesale processing fees, which translates to hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars worth of savings per month. Plus, we don’t charge any additional costs, so there are no surprises when your statement arrives. 

Stax also offers a fully compliant credit card surcharging program, which allows you to pass the processing fees directly to the customer, further minimizing your costs.

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FAQs about Fee Statement

Q: What is a fee statement?

A fee statement, also termed a merchant account statement, is a document provided by your merchant services provider, typically every month. It details all the transactions a business has processed, including credit and debit cards sales and refunds, during the statement period.

Q: What information is included in the fee statement?

The merchant fee statement should contain details of your account activity, the transactions and fee information for the month. It generally includes a summary of account activity, a detailed list of transactions, and fees charged related to these transactions.

Q: Does the fee statement structure vary with payment processors?

Yes, not all fee statements look the same. The exact information in your fee statement is reliant on your payment processor’s pricing structure. For instance, certain processors might include a breakdown of interchange fees and their markup, while others might omit markup costs altogether.

Q: How can I access the fee statement?

Fee statements can be sent via mail, or you can switch to paperless versions and have them emailed to you. Many modern payment processors typically have a merchant portal where you can log in and access your monthly statements.

Q: How to effectively review your merchant fee statement?

Initially, you need to understand your statement completely. Cross-check the fee statement data with your records and sales reports to verify the information’s accuracy. It’s good practice to compare your current statement with those from previous periods to spot trends and changes in payment processing costs.

Q: Can the fee statement help me save costs?

Yes. Understanding the fee statement helps you spot potential areas of savings and negotiate fees. Verifying your statement details ensures you’re not being charged for transactions that haven’t incurred fees, thereby saving money.

Q: What if there are discrepancies in my fee statement?

If you identify any discrepancies or errors in your fee statement, get in touch with your provider immediately. They will rectify any mistakes and clarify any information that isn’t clear.

Q: What is credit card surcharging?

Credit card surcharging is a program where you pass on the processing fees directly to the customer, thereby decreasing your costs. This program would be represented in your fee statement.

Q: What is Stax’s pricing approach?

Stax operates on a membership model providing access to wholesale processing fees. This could result in significant savings per month. Stax also offers a fully compliant credit card surcharging program allowing customers to bear the processing fees.

Q: Can my POS system assist in verifying my fee statement?

Absolutely, most POS systems offer sales and transaction reports that can aid in verifying the information on your fee statement. This reduces time spent deep diving into the numbers and simplifies the verification process.


 

10 Best Business Credit Cards for LLCs and How to Select the Right One

Business credit cards are an important tool to help LLCs (Limited Liability Companies) divide personal and business expenses and build a strong enough credit profile to become eligible for business loans and larger lines of credit. 

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, 77% of U.S. adults hold at least one credit card. So by choosing a credit card that offers the right mix of rewards and benefits, LLCs can support better financial health and cash flow while offering valuable perks to business owners.

In this blog, we’re going to cover 10 of the best business credit cards available for LLCs, and what your LLC needs to consider to choose the right credit card for your needs.

TD;LR

  • Business credit cards offer benefits such as streamlined financial management, separation of personal and business expenses, and an enhanced business credit profile.
  • The right business credit card will depend on the type of business you run, whether you are a sole proprietor, and what spending categories you will be using the most.
  • When selecting the right business credit card, LLCs should consider factors such as fees, rewards, features, spending categories, and additional services to ensure it aligns with their specific needs.

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Benefits of Business Credit Cards for LLCs

Financial management

It’s far easier to manage personal finances if your LLC’s ingoings and outgoings are contained to its own ecosystem. A business credit card makes it easy to track and categorize business purchases by keeping expenses isolated to a single account, rather than being split between personal credit cards and business accounts. This minimizes the time it takes to reconcile your accounts at the end of the financial year.

Separation of personal and business expenses

It’s vital that business owners maintain a separation between personal and business spending to ensure accurate record-keeping and minimize personal liability. Having a dedicated business credit card not only simplifies filing taxes and tracking expenditures, but provides more legal protection in the event of a lawsuit or bankruptcy.

Enhancing business credit profile

Separating your personal credit score from your LLC is important to build business credit. A strong business credit score makes it possible for your business to access bigger lines of credit and more generous loan terms, which sets up your LLC for better stability and growth opportunities. Business credit cards are a crucial tool to build creditworthiness by demonstrating that your company has the ability to borrow money and pay it back according to an agreed-upon schedule, especially for startups and new businesses.

Employee expense management

LLC employees need a way to manage expenses effectively so they aren’t having to pay out of pocket for business needs. Employee cards offer an easy way for companies to give select employees a spending limit to manage expenses for either a department or specific business functions. Plus, this makes it easy for LLCs to track spending activity from all of their cardholders with each billing cycle, reducing the administrative burden of processing and checking invoices.

Rewards and perks

Getting a dedicated business credit card allows your LLC to access valuable cashback rewards and bonus points that are tailored to businesses and commercial entities. Other credit card offers include welcome bonuses, travel rewards, rewards points at office supply stores, and more. Using a business credit card to manage large purchases enables you to maximize these benefits and cost savings to improve cash flow. Some credit card issuers also offer useful services such as extended warranties, purchase protection, and travel insurance.

Top 10 Business Credit Cards for LLCs

1. The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card is well-suited for LLCs who want a variety of options for how and where they can redeem points. The card also offers one of the most generous welcome bonuses, which is a great option for businesses that have bigger expenses coming up and want to maximize points earned.

Fees

Annual fees: $95

Variable APR: 20.99%–25.99%

Rewards

  • 100,000 bonus points after you spend $8,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.
  • Earn x3 points on shipping purchases, social media and google ad spend, internet, cable, and phone services.
  • 5x points on Lyft Rides
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards
  • Points are redeemable for cash back, gift cards, and travel experiences.

Features

  • Trip Cancellation/Trip Interruption Insurance
  • No point expiration
  • Purchase protection
  • Complimentary employee cards
  • No foreign transaction fees

2. Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard®

The Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard® offers versatile reward options on all business expenses, rather than specific spending categories. The lack of annual fees and 0% APR makes this card a great option for small businesses that want less costly maintenance fees, though you will need to do the majority of your business banking with Bank of America to access all of the rewards.

Fees

Annual fee: $0

Intro APR: 0% for 9 billing cycles

Variable APR: 18.24% – 28.24%

Rewards

  • Earn 30,000 bonus points after you make at least $3,000 in net purchases in the first 90 days of your account opening.
  • Earn 1.5 points per dollar spent on all purchases.
  • Earn up to 75% more points on every purchase if you have a business checking bank account with Bank of America®.

Features

  • Overdraft protection
  • Unlimited points earning
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Free credit score checks

3. Wyndham Rewards Earner® Business Card

The Wyndham Rewards Earner® Business Card is offered in partnership with Barclays and Wyndham Rewards, and offers small business owners with frequent travel needs a solid option for earning bonus reward points. Wyndham Rewards offers some of the most robust rewards for gas purchases, as well as decent rewards for other business expenses like cellphone bills.

Fees

Annual fee: $95

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 20.99% – 29.99%

Rewards

  • Earn 50,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 in the first 90 days.
  • Earn 25,000 bonus points after spending $10,000 within the first 12 months.
  • Earn 8 points per $1 spent on qualifying gas purchases.
  • Earn 5 points per $1 spent on eligible marketing and advertising expenses.

Features

  • Unlimited points earning
  • Cellphone protection against damage or theft
  • Complimentary employee cards
  • Fraud liability protection
  • No foreign transaction fees

4. The Chase Ink Business Cash Visa Credit Card

The Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card is a good fit for LLCs whose main business expenses are in the office supply and telecom categories. The card requires a less robust credit history than other comparable business cards, which makes it suitable for startups and small businesses that haven’t had time to accrue a higher score. However, the capped bonus rewards aren’t the best option for big spenders.

Fees

Annual fee: $0

Intro APR: 0% for the first 12 months

Variable APR: 18.24% – 24.24%

Rewards

  • $750 bonus cash back after you spend $6,000 on purchases in the first 3 months after account opening.
  • Earn 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services each account anniversary.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases.

Features

  • Referral program for other business owners
  • Recurring billing feature
  • Complimentary employee cards
  • Zero Liability Protection
  • Fraud alerts

5. The American Express Business Platinum Card

The American Express Business Platinum Card is a premium credit card geared towards business owners who want more exclusive travel benefits and rewards, such as airport lounge access and premium check-in privileges. In addition to travel rewards, the platinum card also offers other business benefits, such as bonus points on technology expenses and credit for recruitment websites.

Fees

  • Annual fee: $695
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for Pay Over Time: 19.24% – 27.24%
  • Penalty APR: 29.99%
  • Late Payment: $39 or 2.99% of the amount due (whichever is greater).

Rewards

  • 5X points on flights & hotels booked with Amex Travel
  • Earn 1.5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible purchases at electronics retailers, software providers, and shipping providers.
  • Access to over 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries
  • Up to $200 in Airline Fee Credits

Features

  • No Foreign Transaction Fees
  • Baggage insurance plan
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Dispute resolution

6. American Express® Business Gold Card

The American Express® Business Gold Card is designed for LLCs who are looking for flexibility in spending and points redemption. The 4x points earning feature is well-suited to high-spending businesses whose expenses are isolated to a couple of key spending categories.

Fees

  • Annual fee: $295
  • Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for Pay Over Time: 19.24% – 27.24%
  • Penalty APR: 29.99%
  • Late Payment: $39 or 2.99% of any past due Pay in Full amount, whichever is greater.

Rewards

  • Welcome off of 70,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases in the first 3 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points on the top 2 categories where your business spends the most each billing cycle, plus earn 1X on other purchases.

Features

  • Pay Over Time features lets businesses carry a balance with interest on eligible purchases
  • No preset credit limit
  • Employee cards available
  • Quickbooks integrations
  • No foreign transaction fees

7. Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card

The Bank of America® Business Advantage Customized Cash Rewards Mastercard® credit card is tailored for businesses whose business expenses are focused on one spending category, as this allows them to quickly accumulate reward points. Earn rates can also be boosted if you qualify for Bank of America® Preferred Rewards for Business.

Fees

Annual fee: $0

Intro APR: 0% APR for the first 9 billing cycles

Variable APR: 18.24%-28.24%

Rewards

  • $300 online statement credit bonus offer
  • Earn 3% cashback in your chosen category(includes gas stations, office supply stores, travel, telecom, computer services, or business consulting services.
  • Earn 3% and 2% cashback on the first $50,000 in combined choice category/dining each calendar year.
  • Earn unlimited 1% cashback on all other purchases.


Features

  • Change your 3% cashback category once per month.
  • Fraud monitoring
  • Zero liability protection
  • $100,000 in travel accident insurance

8. Capital One Spark 1% Classic credit card

The 1% classic credit card is a great starter business credit card for LLCs. Although it doesn’t earn the biggest rewards, this card is a good option for businesses with low to average credit scores. Responsible use of the card will help LLCs to build their score to pass credit checks for business loans or credit cards with higher limits. The Spark 2% Cash Plus or Spark 1.5% Cash Select Excellent Credit are also available to those with higher credit scores.

Fees

Annual fee: $0

Variable APR: 30.49%

Rewards

  • Earn 1% cash back on all purchases.
  • No expiration date on cashback rewards
  • Capital One Lounge access
  • Credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®

Features

  • Complimentary employee cards with customizable spending limits
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Extended warranty
  • AutoPay feature

9. The American Express Blue Business Cash

Thanks to its fast approval process for good credit scores, The American Express Blue Business Cash credit card is designed for businesses who want a solid cashback option quickly. The Expanded Buying Power feature is valuable for businesses that face fluctuating expenses during certain stages of the year and would benefit from a temporary credit increase for cash flow purposes.

Fees

Annual fees: $0

Intro APR: 0.0% on purchases for 12 months from the date of account opening

Variable APR: 18.24% – 26.24%

Rewards

  • 2% cashback on everyday eligible business purchases, up to $50k per year.
  • 1% cashback on other eligible purchases after the first $50k spent on your card.

Features

  • Expanded Buying Power allows businesses to temporarily spend above their credit limit
  • Car rental loss and damage insurance
  • Purchase Protection
  • Extended warranty
  • Global Assist® Hotline travel support

10. U.S. Bank Triple Cash Rewards World Elite Mastercard®

The U.S. Bank Triple Cash Rewards World Elite Mastercard® is a great all-around option for businesses who want to earn rewards in multiple areas while keeping maintenance fees low. The card has one of the longest 0% APR periods on the market, as well as a low threshold to qualify for the welcome bonus reward.

Fees

Annual fees: $0

Intro APR: 0% for first 15 billing cycles

Variable APR: 16.99% – 25.99%

Rewards

  • $500 cashback when you spend $4,500 within the first 150 days of account opening.
  • 5% cashback on prepaid hotels and car rentals booked via the Travel Rewards Center.
  • 3% cashback at eligible gas and EV charging stations, restaurants, office supply stores, and cell phone providers.
  • 1% cashback on all regular purchases.

Features

  • ExtendPay® Plan feature allows large purchases to be split into zero-interest fixed monthly payments for a monthly fee
  • $100 annual statement credit for software services
  • Extended warranty protection

How to Evaluate a Business Credit Card

Identifying business needs

The right business credit card for your LLC’s needs will depend on the type of business you run, whether you are a sole proprietor, and what spending categories you will be using the most. Assessing your needs this way will help you to narrow down the best credit card options that maximize rewards and cost savings. Whichever card you select, you need to be prepared to share the following information:

  • Social Security Number
  • Employer Identification Number
  • LLC registration
  • Personal guarantee

Assessing spending patterns

Small business credit cards frequently offer better rewards for eligible purchases, such as gas stations or office supply stores. It’s important to create a list of your biggest expenses to understand what sorts of rewards will be the most valuable to your business and result in the biggest cost savings.

Importance of reward programs

There’s a wide range of reward programs available via business credit cards, including travel rewards, cashback, or access to various services. It’s important to check the T&Cs of each program to understand the rules surrounding balance transfers, points expiration, and any additional costs to determine which program offers your LLC the best benefits.

Evaluating interest rates and fees

Business credit cards come with different annual percentage rates (APR), annual fees, and foreign transaction fees, so LLCs need to compare options to find out which bank business offers them the best value for the money. It’s important to consider that some cards may offer a favorable introductory APR for the first year after account opening before reverting to a variable APR, so it’s important to read what terms apply and consider the potential impact of these charges on your cash flow.

Importance of considering credit limit

Different business credit cards may offer your LLC different credit limits, so you need to choose the one that fulfills your business’s needs and expected expenses. An excellent credit score is essential for qualifying for a high credit limit. However, be aware that any balance must be paid off to avoid getting into a debt spiral and affecting business profitability.

Review of additional features and services

Depending on the bank providing the credit card, there may be additional supporting features that help you to utilize the card more effectively. This includes budgeting tools, fraud protection, and software integrations that make it easier to run your business.

Final words

Choosing the right business credit card for your LLC is important to streamline financial management, maximize reward earnings, and build your business credit score to access better loan opportunities from lenders. The selection of credit cards above provides a range of options for businesses depending on their credit score, main spending categories, and required credit limit. However, it’s important to assess each card option before committing to ensure you can maximize the benefits, as well as meet any repayment requirements.

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FAQs about Business Credit Cards

Q: What are business credit cards and why are they important for LLCs?

Business credit cards are financial tools used to facilitate business-related expenses. They are essential for LLCs as they help segregate personal and business expenses, improve financial management, and enhance the business’s credit profile.

Q: What are the benefits of having a business credit card for an LLC?

Business credit cards provide various benefits such as improved financial management, separation of personal and business expenses, an enhanced business credit profile, better employee expense management, and access to rewards and perks like cash back or travel rewards.

Q: What are some of the top business credit cards recommended for LLCs?

Some of the top business credit cards for LLCs include The Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card, Bank of America® Business Advantage Travel Rewards World Mastercard®, Wyndham Rewards Earner® Business Card, Chase Ink Business Cash Visa Credit Card, and American Express Business Platinum Card.

Q: What factors should LLCs consider when choosing a business credit card?

LLCs should consider factors such as fees (annual fees, variable APR), rewards (welcome bonuses, reward points on specific purchases), features (purchase protection, complimentary cards), and the nature of their business and spending patterns.

Q: How can a business credit card improve an LLC’s credit profile?

Business credit cards are essential tools for building a strong business credit score. This score enables businesses to access larger lines of credit and better loan terms, promoting the company’s stability and growth opportunities.

Q: How does a business credit card help in employee expense management?

A business credit card allows LLCs to give certain employees a spending limit to manage business-related expenses effectively. It provides an easy way to track spending activity from all cardholders with each billing cycle, reducing the administrative load of processing and checking invoices.

Q: What perks and rewards does a business credit card offer to LLCs?

Business credit cards offer various rewards and perks such as cashback rewards, bonus points on specific purchases, welcome bonuses, travel rewards, points at office supply stores, and more. Some issuers also provide services such as extended warranties, purchase protection, and travel insurance.

Q: Which business credit card is best for LLCs with frequent travel needs?

The American Express Business Platinum Card is popular among business owners who travel frequently. This premium credit card provides exclusive travel benefits and rewards, such as access to over 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and up to $200 in Airline Fee Credits.

Q: How can a business credit card help separate personal and business expenses for an LLC?

A business credit card helps maintain a clear separation between personal and business spending, ensuring accurate record-keeping. This separation also minimizes personal liability and provides legal protection in events like lawsuits or bankruptcy.

Q: What specific benefits do the ‘Chase Ink Business Cash Visa Credit Card’ and ‘American Express Blue Business Cash’ offer?

The ‘Chase Ink Business Cash Visa Credit Card’ offers cash back on office supplies and telecom expenses. In contrast, ‘The American Express Blue Business Cash’ rewards businesses with cash back on everyday eligible purchases, helping to improve cash flow with its Expanded Buying Power feature.


 

How Businesses Can Go Mobile and Increase Sales

The evolution of modern markets and customer expectations have changed the conventional business payments model entirely. In today’s environment, it is now the norm to see a credit card processing terminal at every other vendor. Further, as customers become more engaged with an ever-increasing number of online and mobile options, doorstep delivery for all kinds of products and services is becoming a commonplace preference. But while offering credit card merchant services only needs some simple changes at your end, offering doorstep delivery can be a bit more complicated.

Traditional methods make it challenging to gather and process payment information outside of your existing business and Point-of-Sale systems. However, thanks to modern integrated payment platform services, you can now expand your options to meet today’s customer expectations. By turning to cloud-connected mobile payments you can easily take payments right at their doorstep.

How Modern Credit Card Processing Can Help You Deliver Mobile Services

Today, modern credit card payment vendors have added new ways to help you process your payments efficiently. In addition to traditional on-site payment methods, these integrated payment platform services now offer ways for business owners to use modern devices such as Apple or Android smartphones to accept in-person or online payments.

This way, your employees or delivery services no longer have to depend upon traditional equipment for payment processing. All they need is their phone, with your payment processor app and business’ information. Any payments that they accept are instantly transferred to your merchant account, all without going into the hands of a third party.

As a result, you can deliver your services anywhere you want, anytime you want.

Do you deal with retail products or food delivery? Home improvement services or consultancy? Regardless of the type of business, this method of credit card processing can help you scale it right according to your expectations.

How Mobile Payment Processing Help You Increase Sales

The super-easy way of processing payments at the doorstep is a significant factor in attracting customers to your business. But there’s more to it than meets the eye.

It Offers Clients Peace of Mind

If you offer mobile merchant services as a prominent factor in your solution, you become more approachable and accessible. Customers will ultimately feel more comfortable contacting you for product or service delivery.

It’s because they know that they have the option to make the payment right at their doorstep, after the delivery of their services. This aspect is in contrast to having to pay upfront and risk failure of getting the product and service.

It Promises Additional Security

These integrated payment platform solutions are designed with new security measures. Even being mobile, these payment processing methods are payment card industry (PCI) data security standard (DSS) compliant.

And it protects businesses and their customers against the risks that come with taking their personal and financial information for the payment.

It Encourages Repeat Business

These credit card processing features come together to make your business the go-to choice for your target market. As a result, you can create repeat customers out of what would otherwise be one-time patrons.

This also goes a long way in helping you increase your long-term sales and enables you to scale your business efficiently.

At Stax, we specialize in offering highly secure, efficient, and reliable mobile payment services for businesses of all scales. No matter the size of your operation, Stax can help you accept mobile payments for your services through your preferred Apple or Android devices.

Learn more about Stax services and see how we can help you increase your sales.

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Want to Offer Credit Card Processing For Law Firms? Here’s How To Do It Right

In today’s technology-first environment, SaaS providers must maintain a competitive edge in the market to stand out. While there are many novel software solutions, one way to truly set yourself apart is to offer a comprehensive software solution that seamlessly integrates with payments. 

This is especially important for SaaS providers that target law firms, where a user-friendly experience is necessary to manage a complex work environment. 

In this post, we’ll discuss how software solutions providers that target law firms can offer integrated credit card processing capabilities—ensuring a consistent brand experience and convenient customer experience.

TL;DR

  • There is a lot of overlap between the top software solutions that target the legal profession, meaning that gaining a competitive advantage is imperative. One way to stand out is by integrating payments with your software solution.
  • When integrating payments into a software solution geared towards the legal industry, secure payment acceptance should be highlighted as a benefit alongside the other functionality provided.
  • ABA advice encourages law firms to do their homework and choose the proper functionality—so gaining credibility with the ABA can go a long way in influencing the decision-making process. 

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Why Should Law Firm Software Providers Offer Integrated Payment Processing?

Whether offering general practice management software, document management, calendar management, or other SaaS solutions targeted toward the legal industry, accepting credit card payments in the app or software provides a better user experience for clients. 

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The benefits of offering credit card processing and accepting online payments

It’s widely recognized that the top software solutions tailored to the legal industry typically include the functionality of case management, customer relationship management (CRM), calendar coordination and management, and time tracking. However, there is a lot of overlap between the top solutions that target the legal profession—meaning that gaining a competitive advantage is imperative.

Beyond software functionality, the ability to integrate with a payment processor can set a SaaS solution apart from the rest. For example, Stax Connect’s API enrollment allows for payment enrollment within the app or website—meaning, when law firm clients interface with the solution, they don’t need to leave the platform. This creates a consistent, easy-to-use experience for the customer and allows law firms to use their branding.

Software solutions tailored for law firms can also set themselves apart by accepting various payment methods, including accepting credit card payments, ACH transfers, and setting up payment plans. Given the high dollar amount for many legal transactions, payment solutions should go beyond accepting Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc. Any law practice will benefit from practice management software with integrated payments, and if your software offers both, it delivers a competitive edge.

How to Find the Right Payment Processing Technology Partner

There are many payment processing solutions on the market already, some of which may be in use by law firms as a standalone offering to clients. But SaaS solutions used by legal practices are an excellent opportunity for payment integration. As a software provider, assessing processing fees and transaction fees and finding a fair pricing structure that can integrate with your software is imperative.

What to look for in a payment processing partner 

SaaS solutions geared toward legal services should focus on the capabilities that differentiate their product, and choosing a payment processing service to integrate with that software is an important choice.

Stax Connect is a fully managed payments facilitation ecosystem equipped to handle the payment infrastructure, meaning you can focus on the user experience and software functionality. 

Security is also a feature that should be a leading consideration when choosing your credit card processor. Stax Connect goes beyond PCI compliance to ensure secure payment processing. Our API integrations allow you to accept payments on your platform or website—meaning you’ll never need to worry about the safety or security of payment processing.

When integrating payments into a software solution geared towards the legal industry, secure payment acceptance should be highlighted as a benefit alongside the other functionality.

Leading Solutions Offer Integrated Payments 

More and more, software solutions targeting the legal industry are integrating payment processing solutions into their platform. Just a few examples of this are Clio, Headnote, and Lawpay. 

Clio is a law practice management software that endeavors to streamline case management, billing, and documents in cloud-based software. This is an example of a comprehensive software that manages the client lifecycle from intake to billing.

Meanwhile, Headnote is a platform with automated accounts receivable (AR) and includes an invoicing process. They do not charge a monthly fee and service law firms with compliant ePayments, AR management, and track net-promotor scores (NPS) for law firms. This is yet another example of a targeted software solution that includes payment processing in its functionality.

Similar to the other solutions mentioned, Lawpay is another practice management solution with capabilities including a client portal, CRM, time tracking, calendaring, billing, and more.

What do these solutions all have in common? They are all well-known, leading software solutions targeting the legal industry that offer the ability to accept payments. 

The complexity of operations within legal practices, including multiple projects being simultaneously managed, means that software solutions must be comprehensive and assist legal practitioners throughout the client lifecycle. A critical component of this is the ability to accept payments easily.

Law Firm Payment Solutions—How to Market to Your Target Audience

No matter the practice areas of the law firm, finding a solution that can manage multiple functions—including payment processing—should be the overarching marketing message.

Law firms will prioritize PCI compliance, ease of use, multi-functional products, and endorsement from bar associations to make their choice. 

The American Bar Association (ABA) publishes resources advising law firms on various practice management software. The ABA advice encourages law firms to do their homework and choose the proper functionality—so gaining credibility with the ABA can go a long way in influencing the decision-making process. 

The ABA Journal shares some insight into what considerations law firms should make when choosing their payment processor, including:

Most reputable providers also include trust accounting reconciliation features and options to incorporate your law firm’s general accounting information into your billing system. Of course, each program is unique and offers a different mix of features, so it’s vital to use the invoicing tools extensively during your free trial of the software. 

Here, it’s made clear that no matter the other functionality included, the ability to invoice and accept payments easily should be a primary consideration.

Final Words

Stax Connect is here to ensure your software is equipped with best-in-class legal payment processing solutions. 

Ready to learn more? Contact us today to learn how we can help you deliver seamless payment experiences to your customers that boost loyalty and retention.

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How to Get a Credit Card Machine for Small Business

Are you looking to accept credit or debit card payments for your business? While the process may appear difficult, small business credit card processing is easier than it sounds.

Credit card usage has been on the rise, and this trend isn’t showing signs of slowing down. As of 2020, 79% of American consumers had at least one credit card or charge card, and experts are expecting that number to continue to grow.

Needless to say, small business owners that don’t accept credit cards are leaving a lot of money on the table. If you want to keep up with modern consumers, you need to ensure that you have the systems in place to accommodate their payment needs.

Doing that starts with evaluating different credit card processing services and selecting the right solution for your business.

Credit Card Payments and Your Business

One of the first steps to getting started with credit card processing for businesses is determining your specific needs. Ironing out your requirements will make it easy to evaluate credit card processing companies and figure out the best option for your business.

To that end, below are some helpful questions that can surface your business needs.

What Types of Credit Card Brands Do You Want to Accept?

Understanding what debit card and credit card brands to accept is very important for your business and customers. Credit cards contain their own unique set of rates and interchange fees which can be costly. As a business owner, you pay for the convenience of accepting a chosen payment method in order to accommodate the interests of your customers. Visa and Mastercard are standard, but then you also have American Express and Discover.

It’s important to note that each of these card networks have varying processing fees and policies, so be sure to consider them when deciding on the credit card types to accept.

How Will You Accept Payments?

List the methods you’ll use to accept card payments. Are you accepting in-person payments or online? Will you be accepting mobile payments or contactless payments like Apple Pay? Do you plan to take credit card payment info over the phone? What about online payments?

The answers to these questions will enable you to figure out what hardware and software you need to effectively set up and take credit card payments. For example, if you’re a large retail business that focuses on in-store transactions, then having a robust pos system that integrates with your credit card processor and credit card machines is a must.

If you’re selling online, see to it that your payment processor integrates with your e-commerce shopping cart.

There are many credit card processing solutions you can choose from. Depending on the industry, some payment types will serve as a default with additional options to expand payment collection methods from customers. Customers can make payments on your website or through a POS terminal next to the cash register.

You can process payments on your smartphone with a mobile card reader or you can type payments into a virtual terminal. Payment preferences are continuously changing so it’s important to know how customers want to pay as well as how your business wants to charge.

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How Much Sales Volume Do You Expect to Be Credit Card Transactions?

The number and amount you process are major factors that credit card processing companies consider when setting your rates. As such, you should understand your transaction volume before hunting for a merchant account service.

Step 1: Choose the Right Payment Gateway

The first step to small business credit card processing is setting up a payment gateway account— which is different from a merchant account provider. All your transactions, no matter what type, are channeled through a payment gateway. The payment gateway’s role is simply to decline or approve a transaction. Here’s a look at how payment gateways work:

  • The customer goes through the checkout process and pays for a good or service with their credit card.
  • Next, the authorization needs to be checked. The payment gateway service sends the transaction data to the merchant bank’s processor, who then routes the transaction data to the cardholder’s bank account.
  • The transaction now needs to be verified. The cardholder’s bank will either approve or decline the transaction. Then it will pass that information back to the credit card processors. The processor then passes the information to the cardholder and the merchant.
  • For a card that was accepted, goods or services are delivered. The transaction is completed.
  • The customer’s bank sends the required funds to the credit card processor. The processor forwards the funds to the merchant’s bank. Once you research the different payment gateway options available to you, contact the one that’s right for your business to get started. Be sure to look for the following features when choosing a gateway account for your business.
  • PCI DSS compliant
  • SSL (Secure Socket Layer)
  • eCommerce integration
  • Report generation
  • Customer support

Step 2: Set Up Your Merchant Account

The second step to processing and card machines for small business is choosing a merchant account provider (your payment processor). This involves thorough research into the best credit card processor for your business. Be sure to review not only the credit card processing fees from the payment processor, but also the overall pricing structure.

Some gateway service providers also include merchant services, but you should shop around before settling on that option. You should also note that some payment processors actually have gateway services of their own or have partnerships. It is important to find the right credit card processor for your transaction needs.

You want to find a payment processor that has all the credit card processing solutions you need to make transactions, and you want the best rates for their services.

How To Get A Credit Card Machine For Small Business | Person Using Pos System

Keep These Key Features in Mind When Choosing a Payment Processing Company

Not all payment processors are created equal. To figure out the right payment processing solution for your small business, be sure to take the following factors and features into consideration when researching a credit card processing company.

  • Digital application and rapid setup time. You operate in a fast-paced environment, so it’s important to partner with a payment processor that makes account and equipment setup quick and easy.
  • Favorable pricing structure and low transaction fees. Ask about the pricing model of your payment processor. How much is their markup? What processing fees do they charge? Ideally, your processor should offer transparent pricing and clear details about their rates. Or better yet, choose a payment processing provider that doesn’t take a cut out of your sales. At Stax, you are charged a flat monthly fee for unlimited access to the direct cost of interchange rates.
  • No ancillary or hidden fees (see below). Stay away from providers that tack on additional processing fees beyond credit card processing.
  • Fraud protection. You want a provider that looks out for you and helps prevent fraudulent transactions from taking place.
  • Supports the payment processing solutions you need.  Depending on your business, this may include integration with your POS system, EMV-compliant equipment, support for your shopping cart, POS terminal, virtual terminal, mobile card reader, etc.

Processing Fees You Should Avoid

  • Termination fees
  • Customer service fees
  • Statement processing fees
  • IRS fees
  • Batch processing fees
  • Annual processing fees
  • Contract fees
  • PCI compliance fees

Step 3: Accept Credit Card Payments

Once your merchant account is set up, you’re ready to accept credit card payments. This can be as simple as logging into a software product or entering your customer’s payment information.

In some cases, you’ll need to set up your equipment (i.e., POS system, credit card readers, etc.) Whatever credit card payments solution you choose for your business, it should be simple and easy to use.

If you don’t like the payment processor or the services you’re receiving after a few months, it should be easy to switch payment processors— unless you signed into a contract. Many contracts will have a hefty termination fee you have to pay in order to cancel. Try to get the fee waived or simply choose a credit card processor that doesn’t have contracts.

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FAQs About Getting A Credit Card Machine

Q: What is a credit card machine, and why do I need one for my small business?

A credit card machine, also known as a point-of-sale (POS) terminal, is a device that allows your small business to accept credit and debit card payments from customers. It is essential for modern businesses as it enables easy and secure transactions, expanding your customer base and increasing sales.

Q: How can I get a credit card machine for my small business through Stax Payments?

Getting a credit card machine through Stax Payments is simple. You can visit our website and request a call from our team once you provide some basic information about your business. Once registered, you can browse through our range of credit card machines and choose the one that best suits your business needs. Our team will guide you through the application process and provide assistance every step of the way.

Q: What types of credit card machines are available for small businesses at Stax Payments?

Stax Payments offers a variety of credit card machines to cater to diverse business needs. Our selection includes traditional countertop terminals, wireless terminals for mobility, virtual terminals for online transactions, and mobile card readers for on-the-go businesses.

Q: How secure are the credit card machines offered by Stax Payments?

Security is a top priority for Stax Payments. Our credit card machines are equipped with the latest encryption and compliance measures to protect your customers’ sensitive data. Rest assured that your transactions are safe and compliant with industry standards.


Ready to Set Up Credit Card Processing for Your Small Business?

If you’re looking for the perfect payment processing solutions for your small business, you’ve come to the right place. Stax Pay offers subscription-based integrated payment processing services at a direct cost— without any markups, ancillary fees, or contracts.

What is Business to Business ACH and How Does It Work?

No matter the industry, any company will have significant dealings with other businesses. Whether that is procuring goods or services from a supplier, or working with utility providers, business to business (B2B) transactions are a significant part of daily operations.

When it comes to paying these other businesses, many small businesses still use paper checks or card payments to purchase merchandise and supplies and to pay recurring bills. Though this gets the job done, there is another payment processing option small, medium and growing businesses should consider for their business to business transactions–ACH payments.

We often write about ACH payments and how it can save time and money and is a useful way to ensure recurring billing happens smoothly. Additionally, Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments are likely already in use if your business, in the form of direct deposit payroll.

That being said, while ACH payments certainly make things like customer subscriptions and bill pay easier, it’s worth noting that this payment method is also used in B2B settings. In fact, ACH payments can be massively beneficial given the high transaction values between businesses.

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at business to business ACH transfers. We’ll shed light on how they work and cover the basics of how your business can benefit from B2B ACH payments.

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What is Business to Business ACH?

We can break down business to business ACH payments into two categories:

ACH credits, which are funds added to the bank account of the recipient; and ACH debits, which are funds debited from the originator, or business that is making the payment.

These transactions are processed through the Automated Clearing House Network in the same way as business-to-customer transactions.

How Does B2B ACH Work?

There are four steps in business to business ACH transactions: authorization, transaction initiation, payment request, and payment processing.

These transactions are processed as follows:

  1. In the authorization stage, the transaction originator fills out a form authorizing the funds to be debited from their bank account. This form requires the payee to input their bank account number and routing number, along with other payment details.

In a B2B context, this could mean sending a business client an authorization form or a link to a portal where they can enter their banking information. Let’s say you’re a law firm that recently landed a corporate account.

You would need to interface with the company’s Accounts Payable department and ask them to provide the necessary info so you can initiate B2B ACH transactions.

  1. Next is transaction initiation, where the receiver sends the payment and banking information to the ACH provider or financial institution. This is known as the ODFI, or Originating Depository Financial Institution.

Let’s go back to the above example: when it’s time to initiate an ACH payment, the law firm transmits an ACH debit request to its bank, which is considered the OFDI.

  1. Then, the payment request is sent from the ODFI to the transaction payee’s bank, which is known as the RDFI or Receiving Depository Financial Institution.

In our example, the OFDI communicates with the RFID (the client’s financial institution) to pull the funds.

  1. Finally, the payment processing stage is where the RDFI confirms that sufficient funds are present in the originator’s account and proceeds to process the transaction.

Benefits of ACH Payments Over Credit Cards And Other Payments

There are several benefits of ACH payments, chief among them being faster delivery compared to a paper check, and lower credit card processing fees—both resulting in a cost-effective, faster payment option for businesses.

 

For businesses paying bills or ordering supplies and merchandise via paper check, processing times are much longer than with an ACH payment. Some ACH payments process the same day or within 1-2 business days.

 

This speed is important, particularly for businesses that want to be more agile. When you need to make fast decisions and get deals moving quickly, the rapid delivery of funds is a must.

 

There’s also the matter of processing costs. Transaction values are typically higher in the business realm, as companies tend to order higher volumes of merchandise and are more likely to purchase high-ticket services (e.g., consulting work, legal services, etc.).

 

Payment processing comes with a cost, but the good news is that the expenses that come with processing ACH payments are typically lower compared to methods like credit cards. (More on this below.)

 

Lastly, ACH payments can help B2B companies serve clients better, given the increasing popularity of the payment method. According to the National Automated Clearing House Association (NACHA), the organization governing ACH payments, there are an average of 1.4 million ACH transfers every day, a clear indication that check payments are no longer a popular payment method.

Costs Associated with Accepting ACH Payments

ACH transactions avoid the interchange rates associated with credit card payments and the high cost of wire transfers and are a less expensive option for your business. Most businesses pay just 1% per transaction (no matter the size) with a cap of $10. With Stax, ACH transactions cost $.29 on average and are ideal for high-value transactions.

 

Processing fees are much higher for credit and debit card transactions, and depending on the payment processor, can often be a percentage of the transaction amount. For a business making B2B purchases, often of a higher amount than a consumer transaction, these fees can really add up.

 

For businesses looking to implement business to business ACH payments, other benefits include ease of setting up recurring payments and a secure manner to process transactions. Many B2B transactions happen on a recurring basis, and with ACH payments in place, the headache of re-entering card information or updating the expiration date is a thing of the past.

 

ACH transactions are also notably more secure than other payment options; an estimated 75% of businesses have experienced check fraud—conversely, ACH payments are consistently ranked as one of the safest payment methods.

Disadvantages of Business to Business ACH Transactions

There is a clear business case for ACH transactions for B2B transactions. Frankly, there are very few actual “disadvantages” of offering this as an option for B2B transactions you accept and utilizing ACH transfers for remitting payments to other businesses.

 

One potential drawback is that not all businesses will accept and send payments through the ACH network, so consistent and universal adoption may be some time away. That said, it is still advisable to use this for billing and paying other businesses when possible. Your payment processor should have several payment methods available to your business if the receiving business does not accept ACH transfers.

How Can Your Business Implement ACH Processing?

 

To start remitting and receiving payments through the ACH network, choose a payment processor that can accept all forms of payment and integrate seamlessly into your business. There are many options out there when it comes to payment processing, so it’s important to choose a partner that can meet your current and future needs.

Stax is a subscription-based payment platform and can save your business time and hassle by accepting all payment types. With helpful resources and in-depth information, Stax can help you expand your payment processing options to include business-to-customer and business to business ACH transfers.

 

With Stax, business owners benefit from lower transaction fees and transparent pricing. Helpful dashboards help streamline your business operations and best-in-class technology allows you to process all payments easily and efficiently.

 

Accepting business to business ACH transfers is just one of the many ways Stax can help modernize, secure and grow your business.

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How to Get Paid Faster: 6 Practical Tips for Businesses

When you’re running a small business, the last thing you want to do is chase down unpaid invoices and send late payment reminders.

Between dealing with employees, new clients, vendors, and keeping up with the latest trends in your industry, all while trying to stay on top of your to-do list…it’s no wonder many small business owners struggle to get paid on time.

The Impact of Slow Payment on Small Businesses

Not getting paid quickly can have a huge impact on your business.

According to a BESA survey, over 92% of small business owners have had to deal with late payment issues. What’s worse: 37% of them even had reduced their own salary because they were waiting for past due invoices to be paid.

And it’s not just an inconvenience—it’s an opportunity cost: you’ll lose money, vendors, and enough cash flow for other projects (like hiring new employees or buying new equipment.)

This is a huge burden, especially when you consider how much more money you could make if you were able to get paid early—just look at these Fundbox stats: fixing late payment issues could increase your revenue by $31k on average.

While it may seem like late payments are simply part of the territory of being an entrepreneur, there are actually several practical tips you can implement to get paid faster, improve cash flow, and grow your business.

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Check out our tips to start getting paid faster and more reliably:

1. Automate Invoices, Reminders, and Follow-Ups

If you’re a small business owner with limited staffing resources, automated invoices and reminders are a great investment. Industry data shows that the majority of invoices (61%) are paid on time, so simply sending invoices at the right time can help ensure you get paid quickly.

This is where automation comes in. Having a system that automatically sends invoices means your clients can receive and settle their bills in a timely manner—e.g., every first of the month or 24 hours after a service has been rendered.

It’s also worth noting that 61% of late payments are due to invoicing errors. Automation can eliminate mistakes, thus reducing delays in payments. What’s more, most invoicing solutions make it easy for clients to pay quickly, thanks to features like built-in payments, saved cards on file, etc.

In addition, invoice automation systems can  help you follow up with late-paying clients, and they work well as part of the invoicing and billing process.

Not only do they save you time, but they also make sure you can consistently communicate with your customers, as well as get regular notifications if the payment is not made by the due date.

You can also set a reminder email, or phone call payment reminders. This is another way to reach out to your clients and keep them updated on their payment’s status.

2. Provide Flexible Payment Terms

Looking to minimize the risk of being stuck with outstanding invoices and having to wait for your customers’ payments? Here’s an easy way to do it: offer flexible payment terms.

Consider these ideas:

Offer a discount for early payment. This way, your client gets some financial reward for doing business with you and pays you sooner than they would have otherwise. For example, if you run a online store, you can offer a small discount on bulk purchases or offer free shipping if someone pays within a certain timeframe (say, 10 days).

Create a customized payment plan for your clients. That way, customers can pay for their services in easy installments over time. Let’s say you run a local business that sells home goods (like furniture or accessories). You can offer your clients interest-free credit pricing plans over ten, 20, and 30 months.

Offer automatic billing with auto-pay options so that clients don’t have to worry about remembering when their next payment is due—with digital invoices, it’ll just happen automatically.

3. Incentivize Upfront and Early Payments

If you choose to implement this,  make sure your customers know exactly what’s expected of them and how much time they have to pay.

Let’s say that you’re a graphic designer who designs and prints custom t-shirts for your clients. You could typically require a 50% deposit at the time of booking, and then the remainder of the payment upon delivery of the finished product.

However, if you don’t feel comfortable asking for upfront payments from clients who aren’t familiar with your business model, another option is to offer incentives: discounts or freebies if they pay early or upfront.

4. Charge and Enforce Late Payment Fees

This could be a good solution if you’ve had issues with excessive late payments in the past. However, they can be tricky to implement. Not all states or countries will allow businesses to charge late fees, so it’s important to do your research.

Regardless of the payment method you’re offering, be sure to collect your customer’s contact information, and draft clear payment terms to protect your business in your contracts and client agreements.

Include the percentage or flat rate of the late payment fee. You can find industry-standard late payment fees or consult your state’s regulations to determine what you should charge.

5. Accept Multiple Payment Methods

One of the best things you can do to get paid faster is offer convenient payment options for your customers, so they have multiple ways to pay off their bill.

If you only accept cash and card payments, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to increase sales and secure payment.

For example, you could use ACH payments. ACH transfers have lower transaction fees than credit card payments, so they save your business money. They’re a great alternative to check payments because of their security, and they’re simple to set up for recurring payments.

Meanwhile, digital payments such as SMS or Text2Pay can give your customers a convenient way to pay you—plus, they can do it with just a few taps.

These are just two examples of the many ways businesses can accept more payment options as a way to get paid faster. When deciding which payment types to accept, it’s best to think about your business needs alongside the shopping habits of your customers.

6. Use an integrated Payment Processing and Accounting Software

When you use accounting software and payment processing applications separately, it can be difficult to get a clear picture of your financial situation. That’s why it’s a good idea to integrate the two programs if you want to stay on top of your money—and whether or not you’re getting paid on time.

Stax integrates with the most common apps to help streamline and automate your business–and this is especially important with accounting software.

Stax helps get you paid faster. Automated invoicing, ongoing monitoring and real-time reporting are just some of the ways the company helps you streamline your business operations and increase cash flow.

Additionally, you can seamlessly track payments and know instantly which ones are complete and which ones are pending.

Final Words

Late payments aren’t just a minor inconvenience; for some businesses, not getting paid quickly can put a serious strain on cash flow. Fortunately, with the right processes and payment partners, you can reduce instances of late payments and get money flowing faster.

Learn more about how Stax can help your business get paid faster. Get in touch today.

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Hosted Payment Page: A Complete Guide to Creating One For Your Business

When your business is processing payments online, you need to give customers reassurance that transactions will be handled smoothly and securely.

This isn’t just a matter of removing hesitation to purchase—it’s also about making sure that your business isn’t responsible for any data breaches.

With more people shopping online than ever before, it’s not surprising that payment security is top of mind for many consumers. 48% of consumers say they’re more concerned about data security than they were before the pandemic, while 66% say they would never return to a shop where eCommerce fraud had occurred.

So, what can your business do to create a seamless and secure checkout experience?

It all starts with a hosted payment page.

In this blog, we’re going to cover everything you need to know about hosted payment pages, and why they are a great fit for emerging and established businesses.

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What is a Hosted Payment Page?

A hosted payment page (HPP), also referred to as a hosted payment gateway, is a secure portal that enables businesses to accept payments online. A hosted payment page is operated by a third-party provider who offers data security and payment processing services in exchange for a small fee.

When a customer wants to make a purchase, they are directed to this external page to enter their card information. This differs from a self-hosted payment page, where customers will stay on your business’ website for the duration of the checkout experience.

Because your business is not responsible for managing credit card transactions directly or storing payment information, this frees up more time to focus on other areas of your business.

There are various use cases for an HPP. eCommerce businesses can use a hosted payment page to reduce liability and ensure they’re not capturing sensitive payment data.

Hosted Payment Page_Stax Pay Website Payment Link (Hpp)_Body Image
Stax Pay Website Payment Link (HPP)

An HPP is also helpful for businesses to easily accept payments online in versatile ways. For example, if you offer legal services, you could direct your clients to a hosted payment page and complete the transaction from there.

How Do Hosted Payment Pages Work?

A hosted payment page workflow will progress as follows:

  1. The customer or client agrees to purchase your products or services. This could mean adding items to their shopping cart or signing a service contract.
  2. The customer is directed to your hosted checkout page on an external server.
  3. The customer provides their payment details and selects ‘submit’
  4. The payment gateway will process the transaction and transfer money to your merchant account.

To summarize, customers navigate hosted payment pages in the same manner as regular onsite checkout. The only difference is that none of their information (e.g. card number, and other cardholder data) will pass through the merchant’s website.

Why Use a Hosted Payment Page?

For many businesses, implementing a hosted payment page makes a lot of sense. Here’s why.

Secure checkout with less liability

Running a business involves far more than generating sales. If your checkout page is self-hosted, this means you are responsible for the security of the payment process and protecting customer data. The cost of not maintaining Payment Card Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) compliance can be high; if you experience any kind of data breach, your business will be liable for any customer losses.

By using a hosted payment solution, your business is outsourcing data security and authentication to a third party that maintains high security standards. Because online payment data isn’t passing through your website directly, you aren’t responsible for meeting the majority of PCI requirements. This lessens your obligations while still providing customers with a secure payment and checkout experience.

It’s easy to set up

Hosted payment pages are a quick and convenient solution for online stores. Most payment gateways will offer a payment page as an optional extra via open API integration. This means little to no technical work is needed on your end to begin accepting online payments.

Optional recurring billing

One of the biggest advantages of using a hosted payment page is that it opens up new capabilities you won’t find with a standard payment gateway. Many hosted payment pages offer subscription billing, which gives your business the ability to offer recurring services or product replenishment. Additional features like this give you wraparound support and more robust selling opportunities.

For example, if you’re selling recurring services or products, having an HPP provider with built-in subscription features allows you to put your billing needs on autopilot.

Accept multiple payment methods

Today’s consumers expect to make online payments using a variety of methods. In addition to standard credit and debit cards, Buy Now, Pay Later, ACH, and digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay are all standard options that are key to a smooth payment experience.

Using a third-party checkout enables your business to offer customers many different payment options. The more payment types you can accept, the more flexible and friction-free your checkout is.

A streamlined checkout experience

It’s not an exaggeration to say the checkout process can make or break the customer experience. According to Baymard Institute, “a long and confusing checkout” is the third biggest reason for cart abandonment in online commerce.

Even when customers have items in their shopping cart, it only takes one moment of friction to trigger cart abandonment. Whether it’s difficulty entering payment information or the web page being slow to load, the checkout process is full of potential interruptions that cause customers to shop elsewhere.

In the realm of professional services, an unsecured or cumbersome online payments process can ruin the client experience. When your clients can’t make payments easily, they may choose to take their business elsewhere.

A hosted checkout is one of the best ways to simplify the checkout process because it’s designed with your customer’s convenience in mind. From single-page payment forms to guest checkout options, hosted payment pages help to remove many of the barriers that result in cart abandonment.

What Types of Businesses Should Use a Hosted Payments Page?

There are very few businesses that won’t benefit from using a hosted payment page. Here are some instances where a hosted page is particularly helpful:

You don’t want the hassle of managing payment processing. No matter the size of your business, managing a checkout takes up a lot of time and energy that could be put towards generating sales or refining your marketing strategy. By using an external checkout provider, you can let the experts handle your payment page and focus on what your business does best.

You’re considering offering services that require recurring billing. If your business wants to offer a subscription box, some kind of replenishment service, or a retainer agreement,  you need a payment gateway with recurring billing capabilities. By getting a hosted payment page sorted out now, you won’t have to worry about changing your payment processing system in the future.

You’re a large business with more complex PCI compliance requirements. The more transactions you process, the more requirements there are to stay compliant. If you run a sizeable business, the hassle of keeping up with these regulations is very time-consuming. It makes far more sense to outsource PCI compliance to an external service provider to save both time and money.

>How to Set Up a Hosted Payment Page

How exactly can you set up a hosted checkout page? Below, we’ll go over the steps you should take.

1. Choose a Hosted Payment Page Provider

To set up a hosted payment page, your business needs to select a payment processing provider. Here are the key questions you need to ask as you compare different providers and their wide variety of payment solutions:

How do they maintain PCI compliance?

Not having the burden of PCI compliance is one of the biggest benefits of using a hosted payments page. But it’s important to note that there are different levels of compliance, depending on the number of transactions being processed:

  • Level 1: 6 million card transactions per year.
  • Level 2: 1 to 6 million transactions per year.
  • Level 3: 20,000 to 1 million transactions per year.
  • Level 4: 20,000 transactions per year.

So, when a provider says they are “PCI compliant” it’s important to dig a bit further to check whether they offer the right level of compliance for your business needs. Stax, for instance, is a Level 1 PCI compliant provider, which means we offer the highest level of security as determined by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council.

What payment methods are accepted?

Not every hosted checkout page will offer the same range of payment options, so you’ll need to consider what payment methods you want to accept.

While just about every provider will process a standard credit card like Visa or Mastercard, they might not accept Apple Pay and Google Pay or ACH payments. If your customers want to pay using these methods and are unable to do so, this could result in a high rate of cart abandonment.

Whatever service provider you decide on, make sure that they offer a wide range of payment options to accommodate your customers. This includes making sure that your page can be configured to accept store-branded gift cards.

Does it offer customization?

The look and feel of your hosted payment gateway might not seem like a top priority, but it’s critical to prevent customers from abandoning cart when they reach your payment form.

Redirecting customers away from your website might save you a lot of liability, but it does have the downside of interrupting the flow of the shopping journey. If your payment page template can’t be branded to reflect your brand identity, security-conscious consumers may decide not to complete their purchase.

Make sure to look for a hosted payment page provider that offers CSS and HTML markup tools so you can customize your page with your company name, logo, and brand colors. Note that customization options are not available within the iframe itself, as this form is protected by 3D secure.

Is it easy to integrate into your website?

Your business doesn’t want to spend any more time than necessary connecting your hosted payment page with your eCommerce store or company website. Your service provider should offer an easy setup process so you can start processing payments quickly. If it requires the expertise of a developer, you may want to look for another solution.

2. Configure the Settings for Your Hosted Payment Page

Once your payment page has been set up, you need to go into the settings tab to make sure that everything meets your specifications.

This includes any customization of your page, selecting available payment options, and setting up CTAs for directing customers to the checkout. In addition to the shopping cart itself, you may have the option to redirect customers to your hosted payment page via email and invoicing.

3. Make a Test Transaction

Ready to start accepting payments? Before setting your hosted payment page to live. Be sure to make a test transaction or two to check that your page is functioning as it should in a variety of scenarios. This includes:

  • Testing out each of your payment options.
  • Using expired credit cards to check for failed payment notifications.
  • Setting up recurring payments (if applicable).
  • Making secure transaction fees are charged correctly e.g. passing them onto your customer.

Final Words

Payment processing is never a merchant’s favorite activity to manage. By bringing a hosted payment page provider into the fold, your business can spend more time focusing on generating sales and customer relationship management—all with the confidence that your provider is handling all the nuts and bolts.

Be sure to customize your page and offer a broad spectrum of payment options to offer a seamless payment experience that keeps customers coming back for future purchases. Remember, a better payments experience = a healthier bottom line!

Looking into ways you can leverage payment links for an even better way to collect payments from customers? Contact Stax to discuss your needs and how Stax Pay helps you go beyond just standard hosted payment options.

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FAQs about Hosted Payment Page

Q: What is a hosted payment page?

A hosted payment page, also known as a hosted payment gateway, is a secure portal that allows businesses to accept payments online. It is operated by a third-party provider who offers data security and payment processing services for a fee.

Q: How does a hosted payment page work?

A hosted payment page works by directing customers to an external page to enter their card information when they want to make a purchase. The payment gateway processes the transaction and transfers money to the merchant’s account. This system eliminates the need for the business to handle credit card transactions directly or store payment information.

Q: Why should a business use a hosted payment page?

Using a hosted payment page offers several benefits. It provides a secure checkout with reduced liability, as the business isn’t responsible for the security of the payment process or protecting customer data. It’s easy to set up, offers optional recurring billing, accepts multiple payment methods, and provides a streamlined checkout experience.

Q: What types of businesses can benefit from a hosted payment page?

Almost any business can benefit from a hosted payment page, but it’s particularly useful for businesses that don’t want to manage payment processing, are considering offering services that require recurring billing, or are large businesses with complex PCI compliance requirements.

Q: How can a business set up a hosted payment page?

To set up a hosted payment page, a business needs to select a payment processing provider, configure the settings for the payment page, and make a test transaction to ensure the page is functioning correctly.

Q: What are the key considerations when choosing a hosted payment page provider?

Key considerations when choosing a hosted payment page provider include their level of PCI compliance, the payment methods they accept, the customization options they offer, and the ease of integrating their service into your website.

Q: Are hosted payment pages customizable?

Yes, many hosted payment page providers offer CSS and HTML markup tools for customizing your page with your company name, logo, and brand colors. However, customization options may not be available within the iframe itself, as this form is protected by 3D secure.

Q: Do hosted payment pages offer recurring billing options?

Yes, many hosted payment pages offer subscription billing, which allows businesses to offer recurring services or product replenishment.

Q: Can a hosted payment page accept multiple payment methods?

Yes, using a third-party checkout enables your business to offer customers many different payment options, including standard credit and debit cards, Buy Now, Pay Later, ACH, and digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay.

Q: What is the role of a hosted payment page in PCI compliance?

A hosted payment page helps businesses meet PCI DSS compliance by outsourcing data security and authentication to a third-party provider. Since online payment data isn’t passing through the merchant’s website directly, the business isn’t responsible for meeting the majority of PCI requirements.