Out of work and looking to make a fresh start? You’re in good company: small businesses owners have added more than 8 million new jobs to the American economy in the last two decades. As the rates of outsourcing increase — along with corporate “downsizing” and offshoring — more Americans than ever are getting into business for themselves. Although startup costs for a new business average $30,000 or more, taking the time to ensure that your business has secure payment options for customers online and in person can help your new businesses stay afloat in a competitive economy.
Speaking with a payment processing consultant can be a productive first step toward ensuring that customers have access to secure payment solutions. For “card not present transactions,” having secure payment processing is extremely important. Identity theft is an omnipresent threat for people who contract for goods or services online, and merchants around the country report that they are responsible for more than $15 billion in fraudulent transactions and payment disputes every year.
Streamlining websites to provide easy checkout is, of course, an ongoing process, but what a payment processing consultant brings to the table is the knowledge of payment processing services protection for any high risk merchant account provider. For example, certain types of businesses tend to have more disputes and chargebacks than others: an auctioneer may have been in business for decades, but once they shift online they may find a bit of difficulty finding a company that will process credit card payments for them.
Established businesses that are searching for secure payment systems should look for a payment processing consultant that can recommend two things: first, a company that will investigate consumer claims of fraud, rather than simply approving each dispute. Customers may not recognize a company’s name on their bank statement, or they could be conspiring to enact a fraudulent purchase. Banks tend to side with their customers, but a pattern of chargebacks and disputes could point to a larger pattern of intentionally fraudulent purchases.
Second, small businesses that want to sell online should look for a company that can assist them with independent verification of customers’ information. Consumers want to know that their credit card information will be kept secure, and merchants need to be assured that their customers are real people. Third party verification takes just a few seconds and will not interrupt customers’ buying process: in an era where fraud, information and identity theft, and loss of customer data is common, merchants are advised to keep an eye on their chargebacks and to invest in secure payment systems.
The statistics are staggering: each year, more than 1,500 instances of large-scale information theft is reported. Most hackers look for personal information and credit card numbers, and while computer programmers and security experts struggle to keep up, merchants want to be able to promise their customers a secure transaction. Advanced encryption techniques are available, and a payment processing consultant can help businesses prompt their customers to generate strong, secure passwords. Recent studies show that many people use “1234567” or “password” as their passwords, and these are both easily hackable choices.
New check cashing businesses, debt collection or consolidation firms, or even discount travel sites may find themselves labeled “high risk merchants,” which can seem unfair. Qualified, experienced life coaches and motivational speakers are also considered high risk merchants, along with most internet retailers and travel agencies. Why take the time to establish a business, only to realize that payment processing companies want to charge more or even deny your business service?
Finding the perfect payment processing options has to be a part of the startup process, and making sure that customer information can be verified and secured is vital as well. As the American business landscape continues to change, business owners who understand how to handle security risks stand a much better chance of inspiring customer confidence and of generating repeat business.