If your business does not have a credit card processing plan in place to cater to customers who use plastic, you are allowing yourself to lag way behind your competitors. Credit card usage is approaching the $3 trillion mark each year in the United States alone. Customers need the convenience of credit cards in a modern world which demands that every second be used efficiently. Even organizations that have credit card processing in place are falling behind because their system is simply too slow.
Retailers that are forced to pull staff off the shop floor to tend to a long queue of customers are making a monumental mistake. Not only is the customer always right, they are also becoming increasingly impatient. In a society that demands everything instantly, (apparently email is too slow for the new generation) retailers need to speed up their credit card processing system. So how do they do this?
Change The Terminal
The credit card processing terminal is the key to the whole operation. There are numerous terminal options with most organizations opting for the traditional model which have a keypad, printer and magnetic stripe reader. Although these are ideal for companies who are getting used to credit card processing, these machines are being left behind by newer, faster models.
Wireless systems have the advantage of being unencumbered by wires, allowing for greater mobility. That being said, as the terminal will not leave the counter during most retail transactions, a wireless system may be unnecessary for the majority of stores. However, it is vital to find a terminal that is quicker than your current model. It might be a good idea to contact your merchant services provider as they can give advice on purchasing a new model. Look for a terminal that offers reporting features. This will save a huge amount of time at the end of each sales day because it reduces the paperwork mountain.
The traditional method of credit card processing involves terminals operating over a phone line. This results in transactions that can take minutes to complete. If several customers are paying by credit card at the same time, this can increase the waiting period. If your company still uses a phone line, switch to a system that utilizes the internet, either through a PC or preferably, a wireless system. When credit card processing is performed through the internet, you will probably need an extra service provider, also known as a ‘Gateway’. This company helps increase the security between the internet and your merchant provider.
Check with your Services Provider to see if they offer a Gateway. Certain organizations will have it but charge extra while lowering the amount they receive from transactions. Incidentally, back office card processing is another excellent way of speeding up transactions. Instead of having numerous terminals trying to dial simultaneously which slows the process down, a server application in the back office shares the dialout. Large retailers have been using this system for years.
POS System Implementation
Use your POS system to integrate the process of credit card approval. Again, this is a system that has been successfully used by large companies for some time now. This option is a real time saver and will dramatically speed up your credit card processing time. POS systems generally have software products that have the ability to connect to the internet. As already mentioned, this is far superior to using a phone line. The difference between the loading page times of computers that use dial-up and wireless broadband is a testament to this. The majority of POS systems also support a huge variety of terminals so you can buy a better machine too. POS systems will also directly incorporate the information into your sales reports.
One word of warning: Not all merchant service providers or gateways have the ability to work with POS software. Contact your POS representative to discover the providers that can utilize the software.
Train Your Staff
A simple method of accelerating your credit card processing system is by training your employees. Incredibly, some companies do not properly train their employees when it comes to using credit card systems. Without this education, employees will continue to make processing mistakes which will cost time and money. Consumers do not expect to be confronted by an individual who cannot properly process a credit card. This infuriates them and ensures they don’t return to the store. Each organization should teach employees the fundamentals of credit card processing during induction. This should only take a few extra minutes and will result in a vast increase in profits in the long run.
These are easy steps to improve your credit card processing system. Remember, speed is of the essence in today’s society. If your store has approximately 120 credit card transactions in an eight hour day and you shave 30 seconds on average off each one, you are saving an hour a day. For a store that is open six days a week on average, that is an increase in productivity of 312 hours every year or 39 full work days! Imagine what that will do for your company’s profits. And all it takes are a few easy steps. Change your terminal, use an online credit card processing system through your merchant services provider or POS system and implement a better training program for your employees.