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How do merchant services help boost the bottom line?

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Businesses of all sizes are now able to cost-effectively sell their products and services across the globe if they have a merchant account with Web access and online processing. In today’s market, there is no need to invest in pricey point-of-sale systems when you can easily transact business 24/7 by accessing a virtual terminal via personal computer. If a customer requires mobile processing for events such as fairs and art shows, wireless terminals and technology can support that.

Which merchant services are most helpful?
Merchant services provide solutions to meet business needs for many industries and help level the playing field between small and large merchants through:

· Robust online reporting: Provides real-time sales transactions and detail for customized reporting, transaction analysis and trend monitoring.

· Online gateway/virtual terminal: Eliminates boundaries through secure online transactions using any major credit or debit card. A virtual terminal provides the best solution for the “card not present” environment.

· Wireless solutions: Accept credit card payments and print receipts at trade shows, farmers markets and other remote venues through a wireless credit card processing machine. Smartphones are entering the race and provide another avenue for payment processing.

What should be considered when selecting a provider?
Pricing strategies for merchant services are complex and vary dramatically by provider. Consequently, merchants need to scrutinize proposals, review pricing components, calculate the effective rate and estimate the bottom-line impact of each pricing model. For instance, the options available today are bundled, tiered or pass-through. Each includes a per-item fee and discount rate, and each has its own pros and cons — be vigilant about hidden charges. Service levels and reliability also vary by provider.

Surprisingly, some of the biggest processors actually have the least favorable service. Ask to see a copy of the provider’s service level agreement and make sure it has a solid reputation in the marketplace, because success abounds when you partner with a trustworthy merchant services provider.

For additional business resources, visit California Bank & Trust’s Business Resource Center at Calbanktrust.com/Sandiego.

-Submitted by California Bank & Trust

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