Accepting card payments: Which solution is best for your business?


Today, customers expect to be able to pay with their card--it's part of the experience, just like the services offered or the advice they might receive.

Adèle Manseau | Desjardins Group

These days, you rarely see customers paying with cash. The question is no longer if it's a good idea for merchants to accept card payments, but rather when, why and how they should do it. 

Manh-Linh Tran and Sabrina Larivière, Monetico payment solutions specialists with Desjardins, spoke with us and answered these questions.  

When?
Sabrina says: "You should be thinking about how your customers will pay before you officially launch. It's the same as choosing your employees and suppliers. And since paying with a card saves everyone time, there's no reason for you to wait. I don't think I've ever met a customer who likes waiting--or an entrepreneur with time to waste!"

"It's okay if card payments weren't your original choice. If it wasn't an option back then, or you just added an online store, don't worry!" Manh-Linh continues. "It's never too late to get started, and you can always improve. Remember, even if it's not the choice you want to make, it's one you'll eventually have to make, since customers will expect it and you'll want to keep up with the competition." 

Why ?
People say there are two sides to every coin, but in this case they're both positive!

Customers won't have to wait as long during transactions and can pay in different ways: at the counter, at their table, online or even with their smartphone if you offer that option. In short, it's always a practical solution for them. Today, customers expect to be able to pay with their card--it's part of the experience, just like the services offered or the advice they might receive.

At the same time, your business will become more efficient on several fronts as you reduce: 
  • the time spent on each transaction, even when your sales volume increases
  • the risk of error when handling cash
  • the energy spent on accounting, since transactions are automated
  • the time it takes to access your money--amounts are deposited into your account during the next business day.
How?
Two basic rules will help you determine which solution is best for you:

1. Know your business environment
Neds vary depending on what kind of business you own. If you only have one physical place of business, and you're not a restaurant, do you really need a mobile payment solution? A restaurant that has a dining room, delivers and takes online orders will have more elaborate needs than a business that operates online only.

2. Do your homework and make informed choices
As a merchant, you already have ties to a financial institution. Your account manager is a good source of information! You can also browse online to get a better idea of what's out there.

Before you choose a provider, it's vital that you ask questions:
  • Contrat - Even though all of the payment card networks have adopted the Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada, it's important to have a solid understanding of your contract: its duration, subcontractors, inclusions and exclusions, transaction fees, exceptions, etc. Get everything in writing--if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
  • Termination - We typically don't enter into unions thinking about how they'll end, but there's always a chance it could happen! The same is true for business relationships. It's a good idea to be aware of the termination conditions for your contract, in case your experience isn't satisfactory.
  • Customer service - Prices might be the same, but the service you get makes all the difference. In addition to equipment reliability, the real test lies in the services you receive when your equipment breaks down or a technical problem occurs. It's smart to speak with other merchants using these services so you can gauge their overall satisfaction. Remember, it's always better to be safe than sorry... 

See also: Increasing efficiency with payment solutions

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