6 Ways to Choose a Winning Payment Processor

Image: Chermen Otaraev / Shutterstock

Did you open your bar to spend money or make money? I bet it’s the latter.

Chances are, most of the profit it earns is through credit card transactions, with an increasing number of customers even requesting to use Apple or Google Pay. You may not even realize the extent to which you have control over your payments and that the system you currently use could be crippling your bottom line.

The good news is that there are payment processing companies with a mission to help you drive customers in the door and that have pricing structures that will lead to major savings. 

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We asked industry leaders to weigh in on what metrics they were tracking to ensure proper cash flow, increased profit margins, and operations setup for future growth.

Traditionally, the payment processing industry relies on confusing invoices designed to mask that you’re overpaying and poor customer service that doesn’t compare to what you were promised. From being PCI compliant to making sure you don’t get swindled on price, there are myriad things to look out for.

So, how should you choose a payment provider? By recognizing these 6 things:

1. Your time is money. 

You know this, but are you living it? Here’s what I mean: If your credit card machine breaks, you or your manager will need to contact customer service. This could put you on hold for hours, pulling one of you away from customers. The faulty system is costing you money and the lack of service, even more. You’re unable to accept credit cards until the problem is fixed, you’re losing valuable employee time trying to fix it, and customers are annoyed that they can’t pay their bills. A lose-lose situation.

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2. Your business needs to be modern.

Staying up to date is essential for growth. Making sure that your payments equipment has the latest technology serves two purposes:

  • It demonstrates that you are modern and on trend.
  • You’re keeping up with industry changes that your competition is likely already taking advantage of. For example, the ability to accept Apple Pay or access to speedier transaction processing.

3. You require transparent pricing.

It shouldn’t be easier for you to read in a foreign language than it is for you to read your merchant services statement. Your statement should be clear and simple—it shouldn’t be full of hidden fees and shady charges. Expect transparency—the only pricing model you deserve.

4. You deserve a trustworthy rep.

This industry has a history of using car salesman-like tactics to rope you into lengthy contracts and poorly priced deals. You want to work with a reliable company and a rep who isn’t charging you for the wrong products to benefit his or her own bottom line.

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You also want the kind of provider who gives you the best rate the first time, not as a reaction to someone else walking into your business with a better offer. You want one cost-effective rate from the beginning. If someone offers to match your best offer, they aren’t offering you their best right now.

5. You want to utilize cutting-edge card linking technology that drives profit.

It used to be that businesses wanted to collect addresses. Then it was emails. Then Facebook likes, and cell phone numbers. Now, we’re seeing the emergence of promotions that actually get inside a customer’s wallet. However, this can be costly in terms of financial and human resources. There are payment processing companies who bundle in promotional marketing tools that are linked back to your payments terminal.

6. Your customers want to spend money at businesses that are socially conscious.

Consumers today are increasingly aware of brands and businesses that are dedicated to a social mission and are more likely to support those. A simple way to do this is to choose vendors and partners that are committed to ethical business practices or are built to support a social mission. You can contribute to the larger business environment by selecting a payments partner that has a clear goal of diversity and inclusion.

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Many operators believe they have to choose between saving money and investing in their businesses. When you find the right payments partner, you will find that you can achieve both.

About the Author

Samantha Ettus is the Founder & CEO of Park Place Payments, aimed at helping small- to medium-sized businesses use payments to grow. Ettus is a best-selling author and holds a BA and a MBA from Harvard.

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