In today’s fast-paced world, people expect to be able to handle their transactions quickly and conveniently wherever they go. The days of counting out cash are quickly coming to an end. When people make a purchase, they count on being able to pay with plastic.

Sure, there will always be a place for cash transactions, but the ability to process credit cards is no longer just an option for businesses; it is becoming a necessity. Many businesses think they can just put an ATM in their store and direct their customers to that. And they might use it once or twice. But when they keep getting hit with that surcharge, they are going to resent the fact that you haven’t made their shopping experience more convenient.

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Accepting credit cards should not be seen as a hindrance to your business. In fact, it will help your business to grow. Your customers will appreciate the fact that you have gone out of your way to make things easier on them, and they will pay you back with their loyalty. Here are a few of the ways a merchant services account can allow your business to start processing / accepting credit card transactions.

Retail Swipe Terminals

If you run a “bricks and mortar” storefront, then you are going to want a retail swipe terminal at your cash register. These machines allow your customers to simply swipe their credit or debit card to make their payment. The funds will then go through a multitude of complicated transactions before they are deposited in your business bank account in a few days. Your merchant account will take care of this entire process.

There are a variety of different retail swipe terminals out there to suit the needs of your business. For some, you just swipe the card and it is instantly accepted. No signature or PIN number is needed. Others, you sign on a screen, punch in the PIN, or it prints out a paper receipt to be signed. Talk to your merchant account provider about what type of terminal is right for you.

Be careful, however, when a provider offers you “free” processing equipment. Sometimes these come with a catch; if you decide to switch to a different merchant account provider, the one that gave you the equipment may charge you an exorbitant cancellation fee. Read the fine print. If you aren’t sure about a provider, it may save you money in the long run to just buy the terminal outright.

Some retailers are nervous about these swipe terminals because of the processing fees. In fact, the fees on physical terminals are the cheapest in the business. Account providers know that credit card fraud is lowest during face-to-face transactions, so they can afford to charge equally low processing fees.

Wireless Terminals

Not every business is rooted to one spot. Many times you have to take your show on the road to make a buck. But just because you run a business that is on the move doesn’t mean you have to stick to only accepting cash.

With a wireless terminal, you can process credit and debit cards from virtually anywhere. These are great for delivery drivers, touring bands that sell merchandise and traveling salespeople.

The best part of these wireless terminals is that even if you are out of a coverage area, you can still process plastic. Just swipe the card as you would normally, and the terminal will save all of the pertinent information. When you are back to where you get coverage, you can just send the information out then.

Virtual Terminals

There may also be times when your customer doesn’t actually have a physical credit card to give you. They may just want to give you the credit card information over the phone, via e-mail or through a fax. So how do you process a credit card when you don’t have anything to swipe?

This is where a virtual terminal comes in. A virtual terminal is a website that you can access through any computer that is connected to the Internet. Your account provider will give you a secure user name and password so that you can log on and enter your customer’s credit card information. From there, your provider will take care of the rest.

Online Transactions

If you don’t necessarily need a physical credit card terminal, your merchant account provider can also assist you with accepting credit card payments through your website. The majority of all purchases that are made online are paid for with a credit or debit card. Don’t let your business miss out.

Security isn’t an issue either with the proper account provider. They will store all of your customers’ sensitive information at a PCI-compliant data center. Beyond that, they’ll use a variety of fraud-detecting software to make sure that you and your clients are safe.

The ability to process credit cards is a great way to help your business grow and prosper. Take advantage of the wide variety of credit card acceptance solutions through a merchant account provider today.