Elevate Your E-commerce: A Guide to Setting Up Shop and Choosing the Right Merchant Services Partner

Elevate Your E-commerce: A Guide to Setting Up Shop and Choosing the Right Merchant Services Partner

In the bustling realm of online business, creating a robust e-commerce website is not just a choice; it’s a strategic move toward success. Whether venturing into e-commerce for the first time or looking to enhance your existing platform, this informative guide will walk you through the fundamental steps and shed light on the significance of achieving E-commerce Excellence by teaming up with a reliable merchant services provider.

Crafting Your Digital Storefront

First, select a user-friendly platform that aligns with your business needs. Platforms like WooCommerce or BigCommerce offer customizable templates, making creating a visually appealing and functional online store easy. Pay attention to intuitive navigation, precise product categorization, and responsive design for optimal user experience.

Secure Payment Gateways

Secondly, integrating a reputable payment gateway ensures customers can make secure transactions. SSL certification is a must for encrypting sensitive data. Well-established payment gateways are recognized for their smooth and secure checkout processes, contributing to building trust with your customers.

Inventory Management and Fulfillment

Thirdly, efficiently manage your inventory with integrated tools that track stock levels, notify you of low inventory, and streamline order fulfillment. Platforms often offer integrations with shipping carriers for smooth order processing and reliable delivery.

Mobile Opimization

Fourthly, given the surge in mobile users, optimize your e-commerce site for mobile devices. A responsive design ensures a seamless shopping experience, boosting customer satisfaction and increasing conversion rates.

The Importance of a Trusted Merchant Services Provider

Lastly, while setting up your e-commerce site is crucial, partnering with a reliable merchant services provider is equally vital. With over 15 years of experience, Summit Payments understands the intricacies of online transactions. Our solutions enhance operational efficiency and reduce costs, providing a competitive edge in achieving E-commerce Excellence.

Why Choose Summit Payments

In the dynamic realm of e-commerce, a finely crafted website is your pathway to success. However, achieving E-commerce Excellence requires partnering with a trusted merchant services provider. Summit Payments brings expertise, security, and cost-effective solutions to elevate your e-commerce journey. So, contact us today at 720-789-7928 or visit our Contact Us to take your online business to new heights.

Remember, in the digital era, success is not just about what you sell but how seamlessly you can sell it. Elevate your e-commerce game with Summit Payments, Your Trusted Partner in Merchant Services.

Food Truck Point of Sale Essentials

Food Truck Point of Sale Essentials

The successful operation of a food truck depends on many factors, but one of the most important is speed of service. 81 percent of all transactions are cashless, so having an efficient means of accepting credit cards is one of the best ways to keep your line moving. One way of doing this is incorporating a sophisticated point of sale (POS) system that includes payment processing software. Not all POS systems are created equal, however. In addition to being able to accept card payments, there are a few key features that a good food truck POS should not be without. 

Top Food Truck POS Services

1. Offline Capability

As a food truck vendor, you cannot always guarantee that you will be within range of WiFi. A good POS should offer full functionality even when offline. Many POS systems utilize a cloud backup system that will sync new data once you are back in range of WiFi. This is ideal and provides peace of mind should you have a bad connection or no internet access.

2. Inventory Monitoring

Food truck service can be chaotic. You are running through so many customers so quickly that, suddenly, you might run out of something without realizing it. Certain POS systems, like Revel, keep track of your stock and automatically update menus according to what is available. This can prevent unnecessary closures or refunds to disappointed customers.

3. Marketing

A good food truck POS should offer some form of marketing to existing and potential customers. Square, for example, provides both free and paid email marketing based on your customer profiles; Touchbistro comes with automated popup suggestions for a logical upsell. Whatever you use, your POS should offer some means of reaching new customers and increasing the amount they spend with you. 

4. Contactless Payments

In the wake of COVID-19, many individuals still prefer to have as little in-person contact as possible. The best food truck POS will be able to accommodate contactless payments. One method is by generating a one-time QR code that can be used for ordering and payment. Rezku and Square offer this as an option.

5. Loyalty Program

It’s never a bad idea to encourage customers to come again, and a loyalty or rewards program is a great way to accomplish this. Most POS systems have the capability of creating a custom loyalty program, as well as custom gift cards. 

6. Online Ordering

In previous years, food trucks were more of an in-the-moment kind of experience. Nowadays, however, most food truck vendors have the option to order your food online and pick it up in person. To stay competitive, you will need a POS that allows for online ordering and syncs with your available inventory. 

7. Customized Tipping

Again, over 80 percent of transactions these days are cashless. This means your tip jar might be woefully empty if you do not offer a means of tipping electronically. A food truck POS should give customers the option to tip in varying percentages or enter in a custom amount. 

Get Help Finding the Right Food Truck POS

There are many great options for your food truck POS, each with its own associated fees, contracts, and services. A merchant services broker is familiar with all sorts of payment processing and POS systems and can help you find the one that is just right for your business. Summit Payments helps all sorts of business owners in Colorado pair up with their ideal merchant services provider and point of sale system. Contact our office today to get started. 

What Are Virtual Credit Cards?

What Are Virtual Credit Cards?

Recently, the use of virtual credit cards (VCCs) has become a popular means of paying for goods and services online. VCCs are temporary credit card numbers that allow a consumer to complete a transaction online without providing their real account number. This can add an extra layer of security to purchases involving credit cards. 

How Do You Get a Virtual Credit Card?

VCCs are provided as a service by certain banks and credit card companies. If your card provider offers this feature, you can request a virtual credit card through the company’s online portal or associated mobile app. Capital One’s Eno, for example, is an online virtual assistant that generates random credit card numbers for members. 

Once you submit your request, you will be issued a temporary credit card number, expiration date, and security number. Transactions using VCCs will show up on your bank statement as if you had used your regular card number. 

How Do VCCs Keep You Secure?

Many virtual credit cards are designed to be used only once. This means that, as soon as a payment is complete, the credit card number is no longer valid. In such cases a shopper need not worry about a data breach, since their credit card number can no longer be used by anyone.

In other cases, a virtual credit card may have a longer expiration date. In the event of a security issue, you can simply cancel the virtual card instead of having to close the entire account and wait for a brand new card to be issued. 

Some virtual credit cards also allow you to set spending limits, which can protect you from fraud and also help you budget for certain vendors. 

Cons of Virtual Credit Cards

Like most forms of payment, VCCs are not without their drawbacks. The main issues arise when a physical card is needed to verify a transaction. For example, many hotels require you to present the card with which you booked a room online. If you used a VCC, that number will not match and could cause issues with confirming your reservation. 

You may also run into issues with returning goods to a merchant. Although VCCs are becoming much more commonplace, many stores still need a credit card in order to provide you with a refund. If you do not have a matching physical card for them to swipe, you may be forced to settle for store credit instead of a refund. 

Keep in mind, also, that virtual credit cards can still be subject to cyber threats. If your VCC is not designed for single use, the number can be stolen and used to make fraudulent transactions. If you have more than one VCC, it will be extra work to monitor all your card numbers for unauthorized purchases. 

Keep Your Business Secure

Accepting credit cards is essential in staying competitive as a business. Finding a merchant services provider that is within your budget and keeps your customer information secure is one of the most important steps you can take to grow your business. 

If you need help finding the right way to accept credit card payments, contact Summit Payments Co. We can match you with the right provider and help you negotiate the most reasonable fees available. 

5 Questions to Ask Your Merchant Services Provider

5 Questions to Ask Your Merchant Services Provider

Before you decide to go with one merchant services provider or another, it is important to have an honest and thorough discussion. The right fit is crucial in helping your business save time, money, and stress in the long run. Asking the right questions is a great place to start, and a good merchant services provider should have no reservations addressing any of these concerns. 

1. What Do You Do?

As a business owner, you’ve probably been told that you need merchant services. But that doesn’t tell you much about what, exactly, a merchant services provider does. Ask your potential provider for specifics about what services they offer and how it will benefit your business. 

In a nutshell, a merchant account enables a business to accept payments by credit or debit card. Card data is handled by a payment processor and transferred securely to the business bank account, where it is received as funds. Beyond this, your merchant services provider should be willing and able to answer all your questions about the specifics of payment processing, including security, data storage, fees, and more.

2. What Security Steps Do You Take?

Security is of the utmost importance when processing credit card data, which can be subject to all manner of fraud. Ask your merchant services candidate to explain any and all security measures they take to prevent data breaches. 

Your merchant services provider should also be willing to help you work toward PCI compliance. This is a set of twelve security requirements developed by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. PCI certification can take time, but it will help you avoid additional fees for non-compliance. 

3. What is My Contract, Exactly?

There is no reason why your merchant services provider should want to hide anything from you within your contract. He or she should disclose all fees and thoroughly review the contract terms with you. Watch out for shady clauses like low introductory rates that will double or triple after a trial period. Ask about locking in your rate and if you are eligible for any discounts. 

A good merchant services provider should want to help your business succeed so you can have a long-term relationship. Hidden fees, unreasonable contract lengths, and too-good-to-be-true intro offers are red flags that you will want to watch out for. 

4. What Happens if I Have a Problem?

The best merchant services providers will be communicative. If you have an issue, your provider should have a way for you to discuss it with a live person and in a reasonable amount of time. Generic customer service lines or chat bots that have you on hold for thirty minutes at a time are no good in an emergency. Ask your provider to be candid about their customer service protocols. 

You can get a good idea of how well your potential provider handles customer service through their online reviews. Check for key words like “responsive” and “above and beyond.” This is a solid indication of their attitude towards helping established clients. 

5. How Long Will it Take to Get Set Up?

The time it takes for your merchant account to be approved will ultimately depend on your type of business and your financial standing, including credit score and any prior issues with merchant services. That being said, the process generally takes anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. If it is taking any longer than that, you may want to try a different provider with more experience in your type of business.

If your business is considered high risk, for example, you will want to be sure you are working with a merchant services provider who has experience in getting approval for these types of businesses. Otherwise, you run the risk of your merchant account being denied and having to restart the process. 

Help Choosing a Merchant Services Provider

Selecting the right provider is essential in helping your business grow. With so many companies to choose from, this can be a daunting and time-consuming task. A merchant services broker is a great place to start to help you filter out the best candidates for your business. Brokers have relationships with many different providers and can help find the best match for your needs. 

If you are a business in need of merchant services, contact Brendon Degner at Summit Payments. Brendon is highly knowledgeable about industry requirements, trends, and common security issues. Call our office today to get started. 

How Does ACH Payment Processing Work?

How Does ACH Payment Processing Work?

ACH payments are a popular means of transferring funds, especially for small businesses. But what, exactly, is an ACH payment, and how is it processed?

ACH stands for “automated clearing house.” This is an electronic network that connects every bank in the US and allows for a seamless transfer of funds via computer. It is, essentially, a way to write an electronic check.

There are many applications for ACH transfers, but some of the more common uses for small businesses include:

  • Automated bill pay
  • Direct deposit for employee paychecks
  • Tax payments
  • Vendor payments 

An ACH payment is also known as an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT). 

What is an ACH Transfer?

ACH and EFT payments utilize banking information to either send or receive money from an authorized account. The transactions fall under two categories: credit and debit.

When the ACH is used to send money, as in the case of employee payroll, this is known as an ACH “credit” transaction. 

When an EFT involves pulling money from another account as payment, this is called a “debit” transaction. ACH/EFT debit transactions are typically recurring bill payments, such as mortgage and utilities. 

In either case, a bank account number and a routing number (or blank check) are required to set up the transfer of funds. Funds are sent and received based on direct communication between the Originating Depository Financial Institution (your bank, perhaps) and the Receiving Depository Financial Institution (your mortgage lender’s bank, maybe). 

ACH Payments versus Wire Transfer

In theory, ACH payments may sound a lot like wire transfer. Funds are sent electronically from bank to bank, after all. This is really where the similarities end, however. 

A big difference between ACH transfers and wire transfers is the time it takes to receive the money. Wire transfers are processed in real time and arrive within hours of the request. ACH payments, on the other hand, are processed in batches around three times per day. This means it can take, on average, 3-5 days to receive these payments. 

Because of this, wire transfers tend to be much more expensive than ACH payments. They are usually employed in case of emergency, while ACH/EFT transfers are utilized for expected or recurring payments. 

Why Would You Want ACH Payments Instead of a Debit or Credit Card?

The main reason business owners like ACH transfers is because they are typically much less expensive to process than credit and debit cards. While credit cards can charge up to 2.5% of the total sales price (plus additional fees like convenience and service fees), ACH merchant services providers generally charge no more than 1 percent. 

This is not to say there aren’t drawbacks associated with accepting ACH payments. Aside from the increased processing time, ACH payments are not guaranteed. Because of this, you always run the risk of an EFT being denied for reasons like insufficient funds. 

Get Help Setting Up Merchant Services

In the end, most business owners opt for a combination of card and ACH payments. They can reap the benefits of quick processing and guaranteed funds in the form of credit and debit cards, while saving money on recurring transactions using EFTs.

Discussing your options with a qualified merchant services broker is a great first step in setting up your payment processing system. At Summit Payments, we are well-versed in all aspects of payment processing, from security compliance to the latest trends. Contact our office to get started today. 

What Colorado’s New Surcharge Law Means for You

What Colorado’s New Surcharge Law Means for You

In the past, Colorado was one of only a handful of states that banned surcharges on credit card transactions. In 2021, Governor Jared Polis lifted this ban and signed a new law which permits surcharges and details how they should be implemented. The law officially takes effect July 1 of this year. Knowing what to expect will help both business owners and customers adapt more smoothly. 

What is the Purpose of a Credit Card Surcharge?

Accepting credit cards costs business owners money. In addition to paying a merchant services provider, there are numerous fees tacked on for things like security compliance, charge backs, and high risk services. 

Adding a surcharge to each credit card purchase helps to offset costs for the business owner and allows them to keep accepting cards as a convenient form of payment.

What are the Colorado Guidelines for Surcharging?

Most states do not have regulations regarding surcharging, so it is considered permissible merely by default. Colorado is unique in that it has a specific law regarding the matter, along with a set of guidelines for its implementation:

Charges are Capped

Surcharges on credit cards will be capped at either 2% of the overall sale amount, or at the amount paid to the merchant services provider. Business owners may choose which method they want to use. 

Any Additional Amount is Considered a Surcharge

In other states, card brand rules apply for whether or not something constitutes a surcharge. Under Colorado’s law, any additional amount applied to a credit card transaction is considered a surcharge. It does not distinguish between various fees, such as convenience or service fees. All count as a surcharge and are subject to the same rules and regulations.

Only Credit Cards Can Carry a Surcharge

Under Colorado’s new law, business owners may add a surcharge to credit cards only. Surcharges may not be added to transactions using debit cards, checks, gift cards, or cash. This is somewhat stricter than other states, where debit cards may still be subject to convenience and service fees. 

Full Disclosure of Surcharging is Required

The Colorado law will mandate all business owners to inform customers about surcharges. This is to be stated using wording provided in the constitution. Merchants must also include the surcharge as a line item on receipts. 

Does it Hurt a Business to Enact a Surcharge?

Many businesses may worry about customer backlash if they start surcharging credit cards. This is a valid concern, especially for your established patrons. No one likes having to pay more, after all, and it may seem unfair to customers who are not aware of the fees associated with accepting credit cards. 

If you have concerns about a surcharge, consider a cash discount program. This is another way that businesses recoup losses from payment processing fees. It involves an overall price hike of around 4 percent, and anyone paying with cash is then given a 4 percent discount. This can have a less punitive feel than a surcharge. No one is charged more for using a credit card, they are simply ineligible for a discount. 

Discounts are typically capped at 5%. The discount must be posted via clear signage and available to all customers paying with cash or check. 

Reduce Your Payment Processing Fees

Unfortunately, fees are a necessary part of being able to accept credit card payments. However, many business owners do not realize that they may be overpaying for certain fees. A merchant services broker is a payment processing specialist that can help you look for ways to reduce or even eliminate certain fees. Contact Summit Payments to find out how you can start saving today.