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Payment Processing Small Business Tips

Tips for Reducing Credit Card Processing Fees

reduce credit card fees

Credit cards are a favorite payment method for many consumers, so to do business with these consumers, merchants need a means of processing credit cards. Credit card processing refers to the many steps that occur behind the scenes that enable a customer’s issuing bank to pay merchants.

Because this process requires a few different parties to do their part, merchants must pay fees that reimburse these parties for their services. No one likes fees eating into their profits, but the good news is that there there are ways you can make them lower.

What Fees Are Associated With Credit Card Processing?

Credit card processing can be a great benefit to your business since it allows customers the convenience of paying with a card. However, processing credit cards comes with some fees that are deducted from the transaction. These fees include:

  • Interchange fees: Issuing banks, which are the banks that issue credit cards to consumers, take an interchange fee. The credit card networks set these fees and typically update them biannually. Interchange fees consist of a flat rate paired with a percentage of the sale and vary according to the type of sale. Certain transactions require higher interchange fees than others.
  • Assessment fees: Card networks, with the exception of American Express, take an assessment fee from merchants when their branded cards are used in transactions. These fees are usually based on a percentage of the total transaction volume for the month. You cannot alter these fees, but they are minor compared to interchange fees, consisting of a fraction of a percent of a sale.
  • Discount rate: Typically, merchants just see one fee for credit card processing, which the credit card processor takes. This fee goes to cover interchange fees and assessment fees, and whatever is left goes to the processor. The amount the processor takes is known as a discount rate, sometimes also called a markup. Different processors charge different fees, and you may be able to negotiate discounts.

In addition to these fees, you can pay additional fees for chargebacks, which occur when a customer disputes a charge from your business. You can typically avoid these fees by being careful to avoid errors and fraud.

How to Reduce Credit Card Processing Fees

credit card transaction fees

Now that you know what credit card transaction fees you’re required to pay, let’s talk about how you can reduce those fees. You can’t avoid credit card transaction fees, but you can find ways to minimize them. We’re especially focusing on interchange fees and discount rates, which can be the fees that end up costing you the most. Let’s look at five ways you can keep fees low so you can maximize your profits from credit card sales:

1. Read Cards Instead of Keying Them In

Some merchants who don’t have a credit card reader but have partnered with a credit card processing company take credit cards as payment by manually keying in the information on the card. This type of transaction is sometimes called a card-not-present transaction. Consumers use this method when they shop online and have to enter their credit card information for the sale to go through.

The issue with manually entering credit cards is that this method incurs higher interchange fees than swiping, inserting or tapping cards does. For example, the interchange rates for Visa and Mastercard are higher when the cards are keyed in rather than swiped. Fees for manually entering cards tend to be higher because this method is generally less secure. Of course, you need a card reader to avoid keying in cards.

2. Get an EMV Card Reader

We just looked at the importance of using a card reader to process credit card transactions, but not all readers are created equal. Older credit card readers weren’t designed to accept EMV chip cards. These new chip cards are far more secure than magnetic stripe cards since they generate a unique code for every transaction. If your card reader isn’t EMV enabled, then you will most likely pay higher interchange fees.

Your credit card processor may call these higher fees EMV non-compliance fees or EMV non-enabled fees. In addition to these higher fees, which you may have to pay whenever you swipe a chip card instead of using an EMV reader, you can pay even more if you process a fraudulent payment. As of October 2015, the liability for this fraud scenario was shifted to merchants who haven’t adopted the more secure EMV process.

3. Settle Transactions Promptly

Merchants send off their transactions in batches, typically at the end of a business day, to be settled. Typically, you can get the best interchange rate by settling charges within 24 hours. Otherwise, you may be subject to an interchange downgrade. The exceptions to the typical one-day rule are travel and entertainment businesses, which typically have eight days.

If you’re a typical retail business, don’t put off your clearing call. If you have the option to set a certain capture delay, opt for either immediate or one day. This way, you can capitalize on the best interchange rates available for transactions from that day.

4. Compare Quotes from Processors

While you can find ways to qualify for lower interchange fees, these fees are still set. In other words, you can’t negotiate for lower fees. However, discount rates from credit card processors are more negotiable. Some credit card processors, including NRS Pay, offer a custom rate. It isn’t all about negotiating with one company, though.

The most important thing is to directly compare quotes from various processors so you can make the best decision for your business. Make sure you understand what’s included in the quote you receive. It should include the interchange and assessment fees along with the processor’s discount rate. Some credit card processors will complicate things to obscure hidden fees and padded pricing, so look for simplistic, transparent pricing models. This way, you won’t be blindsided by exorbitant fees.

5. Get Payment Processing From Your POS Provider

one credit card provider

There are many benefits to having one provider for both your POS system and your payment processing. By partnering with one company, you can enjoy a more integrated, streamlined process. You can also enjoy some possible financial savings. In some cases, you can qualify for lower processing fees. As Fit Small Business notes, working with the same provider for your POS and payment processing can simplify your payments and eliminate fees you may otherwise be expected to pay, such as a fraud prevention fee or an integration fee.

You may also receive free equipment. For example, National Retail Solutions (NRS) provides a free EMV card reader to all merchants who commit to using our credit card processing for three years. This EMV reader can help you process payments more securely and avoid penalties for being non-compliant with EMV technology. Our card reader is also capable of taking Apple and Android payments. While credit cards remain popular, these mobile wallet apps are quickly gaining traction with consumers.

Get Discounts Through NRS Pay

For simplified, fair credit card processing rates your small business can afford, partner with NRS Pay. We offer a transparent fee model and do not pad fees. Instead, we offer two simple pricing models for small business payment processing fees. Our flat rate is $0.10 plus 2.49% of the sale. If your business processes more than $10,000 in credit card transactions monthly, then you can also qualify for a custom rate.

NRS is committed to helping small businesses succeed. We can even help you implement a cash discount program to offset credit card processing fees. Request a free quote today to get started.

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Payment Processing

The Story of Credit Card Processing

the story of credit card processing

The idea of credit has been around for centuries, but not the kind of credit we’re used to today. In the past, credit was only good for people in your community who knew you and trusted you to pay later. They may have kept a running tab that you would pay off periodically. Credit was essentially nothing more than an I-O-U.

Today, credit cards allow people to quickly pay for goods and services all over the globe. You no longer need to have personal credibility with the merchant. You can simply swipe, insert or tap your card and settle up with your issuing bank later. If you enjoy this modern technology, you may be wondering how it all started. Let’s take a look at the origins of credit card processing as well as the future of credit cards.

The Earliest Types of Credit Cards

When were credit cards invented? The answer depends on what exactly you mean by credit card. The idea of a credit card that would allow you to have credit anywhere, as opposed to at a single store, didn’t emerge until the mid-20th century.

The Diner’s Club, Inc. introduced the very first credit card people could use at a variety of establishments in 1950. The founder, Frank McNamara, hoped that, eventually, restaurants throughout New York would accept the card — and they did. Though this card was good at various participating locations, it still wasn’t a universal card. The American Express Company followed with a similar type of card in 1958.

With these early credit cards, the participating merchants would pay a percentage to the credit card company as a service charge. The fee for the Diner’s Club was 7%, which McNamara justified by assuring restaurant owners that cardholders would spend more. The cardholders would pay an annual fee to use the card along with paying off their monthly bill. The system proved to be pretty useful, and it led to an even more useful type of credit card — the bank credit card.

The First Bank Credit Cards

The bank credit card system is what we use today. The first bank-issued card was known as the Charge-It card. It was invented before the Diner’s Club card, but it had minimal impact since it was only good at several establishments near the Brooklyn bank. The bank card system really started to take off in the late ’50s.

first bank card

This system came with some real advantages over the earlier credit card systems. This system did away with annual fees and lowered the service charge for merchants because banks were now able to charge interest on their cardholders’ outstanding balance. Another advantage of this system is that it wasn’t tied to a specific location.

The first bank credit card that people could use almost anywhere, not just at certain establishments, was the BankAmericard, which first came out in California in 1958. In 1966, it started to become valid in other states.

Processing Credit Cards Manually

Today, credit cards work electronically, so you may be wondering how credit cards worked before the internet. Early credit cards were just paper or plastic cards that functioned as a sign or form of ID that the cardholder had credit with a certain organization or bank.

The first credit card processor was a simple, manual machine, called an imprinter. The cashier would fill out a form, place it in the imprinter along with the card and use the mechanism to stamp the information from the card onto the form. Merchants would mail these forms to the issuing banks to receive payment.

This imprinting method didn’t include any real-time authorization from banks, which led to some problems, including fraud and overcharging. Cashiers used phone authorization as a solution in some situations, especially for large transactions. The cashier would call a number listed on the credit card to see whether the cardholder was authorized to charge a certain amount.

Electronic Credit Card Processing

These early processing methods were far from ideal. Thankfully, it wouldn’t be long before electronic processing came onto the scene. In the early ’60s, an engineer named Forrest Parry came up with the magnetic stripe that is now a fixture of credit cards. An important event in the history of credit card processing occurred in 1969, when these magnetic stripes became the standard means for credit cards to store the cardholder’s account information. This technology, along with electronic payment terminals, enabled electronic credit card processing.

Credit card processing technology has come a long way in the past five decades. Modern POS systems with electronic credit card processors can process credit cards more efficiently and more securely than ever before. Today, a cardholder can swipe, dip or tap their card to initiate a speedy process of authorization and authentication. If a transaction is approved, the customer goes on their way, and the payment information goes to the POS to be sent out for clearing and settlement.

EMV Credit Cards

One of the most recent developments in the timeline of credit cards is EMV chip technology. EMV stands for the three parties who collaborated to make this new technology the standard for credit cards — Europay, MasterCard and Visa. EMV chip cards were developed to make credit card payments more secure.

Rather than a magnetic stripe that stores static information about the cardholder and their account, which can be duplicated or stolen, EMV cards contain a computer chip that generates a new code for every transaction. To read this code, merchants need an EMV card reader.

If they don’t have one of these modern card readers, they could be held liable for credit card fraud that occurs at their stores. EMV chip transactions are slightly slower than transactions with older cards, but it still only takes about 15 seconds, and the cardholder doesn’t have to worry about their information being stolen.

Emerging Payment Methods

Today, the average American has three credit cards, which they can use to pay anywhere credit cards are accepted. That includes online stores, retail shops, restaurants, gas stations and more. Merchants who don’t currently have credit card processing capabilities are very likely to lose business since some people don’t even carry cash anymore. In addition to credit card processing, merchants should also be aware of other emerging payment technologies.

pay with smartphone

In particular, the new payment method that’s rapidly gaining traction is mobile wallet pay. Mobile wallet apps are linked to a person’s bank account, just like a card is, so they can use their phone to pay. This new payment method is becoming increasingly common, which means merchants need to adopt credit card readers that are also capable of taking mobile payments to please these customers. A whopping 29% of consumers already say they would prefer to pay with their smartphone all the time.

Accept New Payment Methods for Your Small Business With NRS Pay

The future of payment processing is likely to include both credit cards and mobile payments, so your business needs to be prepared to accept all of these payment types. You can accept credit cards, including EMV chip cards, along with Apple Pay and Android Pay when you partner with NRS Pay for payment processing. We make it easy and affordable for your small business to embrace these payment technologies so you can meet your customers’ needs and grow your business.

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Payment Processing

Why You Should Have One Provider for Your POS and Payment Processing

one provider pos

Gone are the days when the point of sale looked like a cashier punching in totals, a customer handing them cash to be stowed away in a manual cash register and all bookkeeping being done by hand. Today, modern businesses are discovering the value of a POS system for helping them facilitate sales and manage their business. They’re also discovering just how easy it can be to accept credit cards when you partner with the right merchant account provider.

Many businesses understand how important both a POS system and credit card processing is to their business, but they may not realize just how advantageous it can be to look to one company for both of these services. When you partner with a single provider for your POS and payment processing, you’ll enjoy a fully integrated system that simplifies and improves your operations and can even save you money.

Small Business POS System and Payment Processing

Before we dive into the benefits of integrating your POS system and payment processing, let’s talk about each of these tech tools and the role they should play in your small business.

1. POS System

There are many types of POS systems that differ in terms of the hardware and software they use, but the goal of a POS system remains the same. A POS system is the modern solution for facilitating sales transactions. With a modern POS system, rather than punching numbers into a traditional cash register, cashiers can interact with a device that is more akin to a computer or touch-screen tablet.

pos system

Some POS systems consist only of a terminal screen with a cash register drawer. With these POS systems, you must find other tools like a barcode scanner, receipt printer and more from other companies and integrate them with your POS system. All-in-one POS systems already include all the components you need to facilitate the point of sale, which makes all-in-one systems the most convenient and effective option.

A good POS system will also include software tools you can use to help manage your business. This might include analytics to help you better understand the sales patterns at your store or inventory tracking software to help you keep the right products in stock at all times. With the right POS, you can manage your business more effectively and see your business grow.

2. Payment Processing

A POS system is an invaluable part of any modern business, but most businesses also need another important tool — a credit card processor. There are many reasons why small businesses should accept credit cards.

Only a small percentage of Americans today prefer to pay with cash. Credit and debit cards have become far more popular methods of payment, with the average American owning just over three credit cards. Customers expect merchants to take credit cards as payment, so you’ll very likely experience some upset customers and lose business if you aren’t equipped to handle credit and debit card payments.

How can you equip your business to take card payments? For one, you need a card reader where customers can insert, swipe or tap their cards. This piece of hardware isn’t enough on its own, though. You also need credit card processing that facilitate electronic payment transactions. A company that facilitates credit card payments is known as a merchant service provider (MSP) or a payment processor provider.

An MSP makes it possible for your business to accept credit card payments by being a go-between for your business and the other players involved in credit card transactions, including customers, issuing banks and credit card associations. Banks and credit card associations require certain fees whenever someone uses a credit card, and your MSP handles distributing these fees. In exchange for their services, an MSP will also deduct a certain amount from the sale, known as the discount rate.

Benefits of Having One Provider for Your POS and Credit Card Processing

Many merchants purchase a POS system from one company and find another company to provide payment processing services. In this scenario, your credit card reader will function independently from your POS terminal, cash drawer and other components that make up your POS system. If you rely on separate providers for your POS system and your payment processing, then you’ll experience some issues that can complicate checkout and managing your sales.

Depending on the same provider for both your POS system and your credit card processing simplifies things and can help your small business in a number of ways. Let’s take a look at five advantages to finding one provider for both your POS and your payment processing.

1. Streamlined Checkout Experience

When your POS system and credit card reader are parts of the same system, they can communicate with each other. This streamlines your operations and can make the checkout process go more smoothly. Anything that speeds up checkout time is an asset to your business since customers highly value an efficient checkout experience.

streamlined checkout experience

How does having an integrated POS and payment processor streamline checkout? The answer comes down to eliminating steps that you would have to go through if you didn’t have an integrated system. When your credit card reader functions independently from your POS, you have to manually transfer the total cost of sale on your POS over to your card reader before your customer can swipe, insert or tap their card. Once the payment goes through, you have to input this information on your POS to complete the transaction.

You can eliminate these manual steps when your POS and credit card reader automatically communicate with each other. This integrated system streamlines checkout, making it easier for cashiers and smoother for customers. You can make your checkout process even more efficient by choosing an all-in-one POS system designed to be user-friendly and automate as much as possible. Using a barcode scanner to ring up items, for instance, can greatly speed up checkout time compared to manually entering prices into your POS.

2. No Room for Human Error

Another important advantage of not having to input things manually between your card reader and your POS system is that it eliminates the possibility of human error. If your employee has to punch in a total into the card reader so your customer can pay with a debit or credit card, there’s always a chance they might enter the total wrong. Something as minor as leaving out a decimal point or a number can result in a major difference in what your customer pays.

Customers are asked to confirm their amount on the card reader, but many customers are likely to quickly confirm out of habit rather than check to make sure the total is correct.

When you charge an incorrect amount to a customer’s card, they may notice the wrong amount later on their statement. Especially if you overcharge the customer, you’re likely to have an upset customer on your hands. If that customer goes directly to their credit card issuer with their complaint, you’ll end up having to go through a chargeback process, which can cost you between $10 and $50, and even more in some cases. Transaction errors can also hurt your standing with your bank.

Charging customers the wrong amount — even if you are quick to correct the issue once they bring it to your attention — can also hurt your standing with customers. When a customer swipes their card at your checkout counter, they are trusting your business with their finances, and an error can damage this trust.

3. Detailed Records

Another benefit of using an integrated card reader and POS system from the same provider is that your POS can keep detailed records that include information about the method of payment.

When your credit card reader is disconnected from your POS, going back to investigate a certain charge can be especially challenging. Imagine a customer comes in and says they were charged $50 instead of $5 last Wednesday, so you need to find a record of this charge. Your POS should hold sales records, but they won’t be synced up with credit card payments made in your store. Therefore, more steps will be involved to find all the information associated with a sales transaction and potentially issue a refund.

Detailed records aren’t just helpful when you run into a problem. They can also help you manage your business more effectively. When you can look back over detailed records kept by your POS system, working with your credit card reader, you can gain insight into how your customers pay and whether you should make any changes.

For example, you might find that the vast majority of customers are using credit cards, which is costing you fees. Therefore, you might determine that you should implement a cash discount program to incentivize customers to pay in cash when they can. After implementing this program, you can reexamine your records to see what sort of difference the program has made.

4. Easier Customer Support

Though technology opens up new opportunities and can improve the efficiency of your business operations, we all know that technology can also experience problems from time to time. This is where customer support comes in. Even if you use a credit card processor that coordinates with your POS system, if you run into a problem with the technology, you’ll likely end up on the phone with both the credit card processor and the POS company.

easier customer support

When your credit card processing and POS system are fully integrated, you can depend on one company to help you resolve any issues that come up. If your system is cloud-based, they can even access your software and make any necessary changes. Only having to contact and work with one company for customer support greatly simplifies things for your business and makes it easier for the company trying to resolve issues since they understand all the aspects of your system.

When choosing a credit card processing provider to supply you with your POS system and your payment processing, be sure to select a company you can count on for excellent customer support. Whether you’re figuring out how to use the system for the first time or running into questions or problems along the way, you want a company that cares about your user experience and will address your needs quickly.

5. Financial Perks

You can also enjoy some financial perks when your payment processing provider and your POS provider are one in the same. The same principle of bundling goods or services that can save you money in other areas, such as insurance policies or your phone and internet services, applies here, as well. These financial perks could include lower fees or a lower upfront cost for equipment.

For example, when you commit to using National Retail Solutions as your credit card processing provider for three years, we’ll give you a free card reader to use in your store. This card reader is equipped to take a variety of payment methods, including all major credit cards, debit cards, mobile payments through Apple or Android, EBT and eWIC. The card reader also works with chip EMV cards, which are known to be more secure methods of payment than traditional credit cards.

Fit Small Business points out that fees are often simpler and more affordable when you work with an all-in-one POS and payment processing provider. If you choose to partner with a merchant service provider who is independent from your POS provider, you may be expected to pay an account fee, fraud prevention fees and more, in addition to processing and transaction fees.

Saving money should be a chief concern for your small business if you want to maximize your profits — especially if you want to offset the costs involved with credit card processing. Ask any POS providers you’re considering purchasing from what sorts of benefits they offer if you also use their company as your payment processor.

POS and Payment Processing From NRS

National Retail Solutions is a trusted partner for many small businesses who want the best modern technology at an affordable price. Our POS+ is a cutting-edge, all-in-one system that makes checkout a breeze and helps you manage your sales and inventory behind the scenes. We also offer credit card processing for small businesses, known as NRS Pay.

While other payment processing providers may come with overly complicated or inflated fees, NRS keeps it simple. You can choose from a flat rate that stands out as one of the cheapest you’ll find at just 2.49% of the transaction cost plus $0.10, or, if you process more than $10,000 worth of credit card transactions in a given month, then we can work with you to develop a custom rate. Remember that you can also get a free EMV card reader when you sign up for payment processing with NRS Pay for three years.

pos payment processing

In addition to keeping fees low and equipping you with the necessary hardware, we know that small businesses need continuous access to their revenue, so we work quickly to get your funds deposited into your account within 24 hours.

With the POS+ and payment processing from NRS, you can dramatically upgrade your business’s capabilities at the checkout counter and can make it easier to manage your sales. To get started, request a free quote today.

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Payment Processing

NRS Pay

NRS Pay

National Retail Solutions (NRS) is committed to providing small businesses with the resources they need to effectively facilitate sales, leading to satisfied customers and continuous growth. One of these resources is NRS Pay, our credit card payment processing service. Credit card processing is an essential capability for businesses today, but figuring out how to deliver on customers’ expectation for this service can be difficult for some small businesses. NRS makes it easy and affordable with NRS Pay.

What Is NRS Pay?

Paying with a credit card may seem as straightforward as paying in cash, but it’s not. Whereas cash payments only involve the customer and the merchant, credit card payments involve the customer, the merchant, a credit card network, an issuing bank and a credit card processor.

NRS Pay is a credit card processor offering low rate credit card processing. If you don’t currently accept credit and debit card payments at your business, then you may not be familiar with how credit card processing works. From the customer’s perspective, it’s as simple as swiping the card, confirming the payment and receiving the receipt. The whole process only takes a matter of seconds. The process should also appear simple from the merchant’s perspective, but a lot goes on behind the scenes to make this transaction possible.

This is where credit card processing comes in. Businesses can only accept credit card payments if they have the proper hardware for swiping, inserting or tapping cards and a credit card processing service. The credit card processing service is a third party that handles the steps that make it possible for swiping a plastic card to result in a bill for the customer and money in your bank account. For each transaction, a small percentage goes to the processing company to cover the fees involved in credit card processing.

How Does NRS Pay Work?

So, how does this process work? Credit card processing is a complicated ordeal, but NRS Pay makes it simple and convenient for both customers and merchants.

merchant payment processing

Let’s start with the basics. Credit cards are issued to consumers through banks. The bank that issued your customer a credit card is known as the issuing bank in the world of credit card processing. Even though credit cards come from banks, these cards are also associated with credit card networks, also called credit card associations, the most prominent of which are Visa and Mastercard, followed by American Express and Discover. Your bank is known as the acquiring bank.

These various players need a facilitator to aid in the transfer of funds from a customer’s account to your bank account. This facilitator role belongs to the payment processor, also known as the merchant service provider (MSP) — in this case, NRS Pay. NRS Pay sets payments in motion and ensures that all steps are completed so you get paid right away.

Now let’s take a look at the steps involved in credit card processing with NRS Pay:

1. Authorization

To initiate the process, you need a credit card reader that is integrated with your point-of-sale (POS) system and serviced by an MSP like NRS Pay. When a customer inserts their credit card into the reader, the machine sends the information contained in the card to the credit card network. After receiving the card information, the credit card association sends the information on to the issuing bank.

2. Authentication

The issuing bank plays the essential role of quickly checking for potential fraud and determining whether the customer is authorized to make the sale or whether the sale should be declined. The card reader will signal to the customer that the transaction was successful or not based on what the issuing bank determines. Once the transaction has been authenticated, the cardholder’s issuing bank will add the purchase amount to the cardholder’s account.

3. Clearing and Settlement

Your payment terminal keeps track of all of your approved transactions and holds onto them before sending them off in a batch to the MSP, typically at the conclusion of each business day. The processor sends this information on to the credit card network, and the network sends off each individual transaction to customers’ issuing banks. Funds bounce around among the different players once more so everyone can deduct the necessary fees before the money posts to your account.

steps in credit card processing

Service Fees

Credit card networks require a small assessment fee for each transaction. Issuing banks receive interchange fees for their service. These fees are consistent from bank to bank since they are set by the credit card associations. Credit card processing companies also take a fee for their service of facilitating the process.

From your perspective as the merchant, you will see one amount deducted from the money posted to your bank account. NRS Pay will let you know what this deduction is for each transaction. This amount goes to cover all the fees, so NRS Pay will only keep a fraction of that fee, known as the discount rate. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about fees and how they are determined. NRS is committed to transparency and fair fees for all our services, including NRS Pay.

With NRS Pay, you can choose from two pricing models:

  • Flat rate: One option that works for any business is to pay a flat rate of 2.49% plus $0.10 for every transaction. This covers all the fees taken out by the banks and credit card networks, as well as by NRS Pay. This makes NRS Pay one of the cheapest credit card processing services for small businesses.
  • Custom rate: Another option for businesses who process over $10,000 a month in credit card transactions is to set a custom rate. NRS Pay can work with you to determine the best rate that will cover all the fixed fees, as well as the discount fee, and help you save money. You can request a free quote if you’re interested in what this rate might look like for your business.

What Are the Advantages of Using NRS Pay?

So, why should you add credit card processing through NRS Pay to your business? When you partner with NRS Pay, you cash in on some valuable benefits:

1. You Can Accept All Popular Payment Types

When your payment processing capabilities are limited, you risk losing business from some customers. The preferred method of payment for most shoppers is a credit card, followed by a debit card. You want to deliver on customers’ preferences and expectations to pay with a card.

credit card payment

With NRS Pay, you can accept both credit and debit cards, as well as EBT payments, eWIC payments and the up-and-coming mobile wallet payments from Apple and Android. You can even convert checks into digital payments with NRS Pay. This means that, no matter how your customers prefer to pay, you can accept their payment and will never have to turn down a sale due to payment processing limitations.

2. You Can Access Your Funds Quickly

With some MSPs, you may have to wait multiple days after a transaction before the money is posted to your account. But with NRS Pay, you’ll typically receive your money within 24 hours.

This means the amount in your account will be kept up-to-date so you always know how you’re doing rather than wondering how much should actually be in your account if it weren’t for all those pending payments. When funds make it to your bank account quickly, your business can enjoy a steadier cash flow.

3. Fees Are Affordable and Straightforward

We already talked about the fees involved with credit card processing. Since there are so many players involved, it’s no wonder that fees can seem a bit complicated. From your perspective as the merchant, however, the fee you pay to process credit cards should always be clear and straightforward.

With NRS Pay, processing fees are transparent and fair so you don’t have to worry about paying unfairly marked-up charges for every credit card transaction. Instead, you can benefit from accepting credit cards in your business without losing too much of your profits to inflated fees.

4. Your and Your Customers’ Data Is Kept Secure

Your bank account information and your customers’ account information should always be kept secure. NRS places a high priority on maintaining your and your customers’ financial security. We’re aware of common risks for small businesses and will help prevent issues of fraud and security breaches.

Another way we prioritize security is by providing credit card readers for chip cards, meaning they are equipped to accept EMV chip cards. These cards are designed to be far more secure than older credit cards, so having a machine that can capitalize on this added security is a huge plus. If you don’t have an EMV chip reader and you encounter a security issue, your business could be liable.

5. Payment Processing Is Compatible With the POS+

You should have a modern POS system to facilitate credit card transactions. Some merchants struggle to piece together different pieces of equipment and integrate them to work together. You can avoid this hassle and take advantage of cutting-edge sales technology by using the POS+ from NRS.

The POS+ is an all-in-one POS system, meaning all the hardware and software you need to facilitate sales are seamlessly integrated into one system. This includes your EMV card reader, as well as a touchscreen terminal, customer-facing screen, cash drawer, receipt printer and barcode scanner. With the POS+, you’ll also gain valuable features like inventory management, store statistics, an automated customer loyalty program and more.

6. You Have Access to Excellent Customer Support

Customer service is a critical component of any company you choose to partner with, but it’s especially important when it comes to choosing an MSP. With NRS, our team will take care of setting up your hardware and software so you can start strong. We’re also committed to providing assistance as you figure out how to use your new system.

We’ll be here to answer any questions along the way and help you solve any potential problems that come up right away so your business never misses a beat. When you want to partner with a caring and responsive MSP, choose National Retail Solutions.

What Stores and Businesses Can Use NRS Pay?

Any business can partner with NRS as its merchant service provider, but we specialize in working with small businesses. Some MSPs are used to working with large companies that process a high volume of sales every day. You want to work with a small business credit card processing service, preferably one that is familiar with your industry in particular so they understand the everyday challenges of running a small business.

small business payment processing

NRS Pay understands small businesses, and we provide solutions to enable your small business to accept credit cards and offer a fully modern checkout experience for customers and management tools to help your business succeed.

Some examples of small businesses that can benefit from using credit card processing from NRS include:

  • Convenience stores
  • Liquor stores
  • Tobacco stores and vape shops
  • Delis
  • Supermarkets
  • Grocery stores
  • Retail stores
  • Bakeries
  • Dollar stores
  • Produce stands
  • Meat markets
  • Beauty salons

NRS Pay also works for e-commerce and phone-ordering businesses. Although NRS mostly provides credit card processing for small businesses with brick-and-mortar stores, with NRS Pay, you can also accept secure online payment processing. Whatever your payment processing needs, NRS can work with you to make sure you have the solutions you need to satisfy your customers and grow your business.

Succeed With Small Business Credit Card Processing From NRS

Integrating current technology can be a challenge for small businesses, but NRS makes it easy by offering all the tools you need to facilitate sales effectively, along with tools to manage your business.

Consider partnering with NRS for both your payment processing needs as well as your POS needs, so you can embrace cutting-edge sales technology across the board. When you take advantage of the tools NRS offers, you won’t complicate your business operations — you’ll simplify them. Our sales technology is intuitive to use, so you and your employees can enjoy a user-friendly, efficient checkout process every time.

NRS Pay is your business’s solution to accepting credit card payments without being bogged down by complicated hardware or exorbitant fees. NRS makes it easy to accept credit and debit card payments, as well as other payment types, so you can attract more customers and see profits deposited into your account daily. As a bonus, if you choose to sign a three-year contract with NRS for credit card processing, you will receive an EMV credit card reader as our gift to you.

To get started, request a free quote today and learn more about how NRS can help your small business succeed.

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Payment Processing Small Business Tips

Credit Card Processing for Small Businesses

If you’re used to disappointed looks on customers’ faces when they see a “cash only” sign, it’s time to add credit card processing as a payment option at your small business. National Retail Solutions has all the tools and services you need to make this possible. Though credit card processing can be a bit complicated, it doesn’t have to be a source of stress. We’re going to explain why you should accept credit cards, what equipment you need to do it, how it works and what options we offer.

Why Should a Small Business Accept Credit Cards?

If your small business doesn’t currently accept credit cards, you may wonder whether adding credit card processing is worth the investment. After all, credit card processing involves adding equipment and allowing a little bit of every credit card sale to go toward fees. Let’s talk about why every small business can benefit from accepting credit cards.

In brief, small businesses should accept credit cards because consumers want and expect them to. If you aren’t sensitive to the preferences of your customers, you could lose business. In a 2017 survey, just 12% of consumers said they preferred to pay in cash. Most people find debit and credit cards to be more convenient and preferable to cash. Here are a few reasons many consumers prefer to use credit cards over cash.

1. Credit Cards Are More Secure

One reason your customers may prefer using credit cards is that they offer more security than cash. To pay with cash, you have to carry money around with you, which can make some people feel vulnerable. Whether you fall victim to a pickpocket or accidentally leave your purse or wallet in a public place, you could lose your cash in the blink of an eye.

In either of these scenarios, if you only had credit and debit cards in your purse or wallet, you could call your bank to freeze or cancel them. If someone has already made purchases using your cards, you can report these charges as fraudulent, and not have to pay them. If someone spends your cash, there’s nothing you can do, unless you somehow manage to track the person down.

2. Credit Cards Are More Convenient

Credit cards are also more convenient for most people. Rather than having to keep track of how much money you have on you, with a credit card or debit card, you always know you have access to your funds. You also don’t have to take the time to count out bills or change, which tends to speed up the checkout process. If you don’t have exact change, you’ll get change back, which can be a nuisance to some people.

Coins jingle around in pockets or get lost in the bottom of a purse and weigh it down. Even folded bills take up more space than a credit card. Some people prefer to forego a wallet or purse altogether and carry their phone with an attached sleeve for holding a few ID and credit cards. While you may be able to cram a couple of bills into your phone sleeve, it’s much easier to stick to cards in this instance.

3. Credit Cards Let You Track Your Spending

Another advantage of paying with credit cards is that it allows a person to keep better track of their spending. Every time a person swipes, inserts or taps their card, whether it’s to buy a sandwich or a sofa, it creates an electronic log of those charges. With cash, you would have to keep track of your spending manually by making entries in a notebook or in your phone, or keep paper receipts for every transaction to compile a payment history.

Credit or debit card users can check their payment history online anytime and can use these records to help them budget and keep track of their finances. Digital spending records can also be helpful when it comes time to file your taxes, especially if you lose track of receipts.

4. Credit Cards Build Your Credit History

Paying with a credit card also helps a person build their credit history. Even if you’re exceptionally responsible, if you pay for things in cash, you won’t establish a credit history lenders and others can use as proof of your responsibility. If you faithfully make your credit card payments on time, you’ll steadily build a positive credit history that results in a high credit score.

Achieving a high credit score is essential for several reasons. In today’s world, your credit history comes into play whenever you need to take out a loan, whether it’s to finance a new vehicle or take out a mortgage on a home. Your credit history can even influence your insurance premiums.

5. Credit Cards Come With Rewards

Finally, some consumers prefer to use credit cards because, unlike cash, credit card transactions can reward customers with perks like cash back. The cash-back model typically rewards consumers by giving a certain percentage of the cost of each purchase they make back to them. For some cards, this percentage will differ based on what they’ve bought such as fuel, groceries, restaurants and so on.

Some cards reward customers through programs where they can accrue points by making purchases. Once the cardholder gets to a certain number of points, they can earn a reward like a gift card. Another popular reward system is for travelers who can earn airline miles or other travel discounts by using their credit card.

What Equipment Do I Need to Accept Credit Cards?

Hopefully, everything you’ve read so far has convinced you of the need to include credit card processing as a payment option at your business. If you want to maximize your business and please customers, you should give your customers the option to pay with a credit card. So, how can you get set up to accept credit cards at your business?

There are ways to manually enter credit card numbers on a computer, like consumers have become accustomed to doing on e-commerce sites. However, manually entering information is an inconvenient and inefficient way to process credit cards. The best way to process credit cards is with a suite of equipment that works in concert to make the checkout process as quick and convenient as possible.

Before we discuss the other pieces of equipment that can assist in the process, let’s focus on the essential piece of equipment you’ll need: a credit card reader.

Credit Card Reader

A card reader is called such because it reads the information embedded in a credit or debit card, either through a microchip, magnetic strip or both. This device is what customers interact with. They insert or swipe their card when prompted and confirm the amount of the payment. This card reader initiates the process of authentication, which we’ll discuss more in the next section.

Merchants should make sure they have a card reader that is capable of reading EMV chip cards, since these cards are becoming increasingly popular over the traditional magnetic stripe cards you swipe. According to credit card giant Visa, three-quarters of U.S. storefronts now have the necessary equipment to process EMV cards.

The trouble with magnetic stripe cards is that the information they contain never changes, so getting the details once is enough for someone to copy it and use it for fraudulent charges. EMV cards prevent fraud by generating a new code each time a person uses it to buy something. That way, information from one transaction won’t be useful to someone wanting to commit fraud by using it repeatedly.

EMV chip transactions take a bit longer than purchases with other credit cards, but they’re still fast, at about 15 seconds for a typical transaction. No matter what type of card a customer is using, a card reader makes it easy for them to share their payment information so their bank can deposit payment into your business’ bank account.

Other Components Used to Facilitate Credit Card Sales

Small business owners who want to embrace a fully modernized checkout experience that makes it easy to process credit card payments should use a card reader as part of an all-in-one POS system. You can think of a POS as the brain that connects all the necessary components to facilitate a checkout process. An all-in-one POS system comes with all the components you need for checkout, already integrated to work together seamlessly. These elements include your card reader, along with these other essential pieces of equipment.

  1. Barcode scanner: Barcode scanners make it easy to ring up items. Rather than manually plugging in information or prices, checkout personnel scan each item with their handheld barcode reader. One of the major advantages of scanning barcodes is that you can track inventory in real time this way. As you scan an item, your inventory records change to reflect having one less of that SKU in stock.
  2. POS terminal: The POS terminal is the screen you and your employees will use behind the counter. Employees can enter information as needed and can even use this touchscreen terminal screen to accomplish tasks separate from the checkout process. These could include programming in discounts, managing inventory, checking sales analytics and more.
  3. Customer-facing screen: The best POS systems will also come with a customer-facing screen directed toward the front of the counter. Unlike the POS terminal, this is not a touchscreen. It’s there so the customer can see the name and price of each item displayed as the cashier rings them up. They can also see the money they save from discounts. A customer-facing screen provides the transparency customers appreciate.
  4. Cash drawer: Cash drawers are essential pieces of hardware for any merchant. Modern cash drawers come equipped to prevent theft and keep cash secure. Of course, cash drawers come into play when a customer wants to pay in cash, but they may also be valuable for customers who pay with debit cards and request cash back.
  5. Receipt printer: A modern thermal receipt printer uses thermal technology rather than ink to print on special paper that will turn different colors under varying degrees of heat. These thermal printers make it easy to produce accurate receipts for customers, and they make it easier for the merchant, since they integrate with your POS system, so everything is completely automated.

How Does Low Rate Credit Card Processing Work?

Now you know why credit card processing is essential and what equipment you need to facilitate these transactions, let’s talk about how credit card processing works. To the consumer, credit card processing looks like nothing more than inserting their card, seeing the sum on their credit card bill and paying it. A lot goes on behind the scenes, however, to make that transaction possible. We’re going to draw back the curtain and explain this process step-by-step.

There are three fundamental steps in this process: authorization, authentication and clearing and settlement.

1. Authorization

The customer initiates this process by either swiping or inserting their card. The processor then reads the information on the card and sends it to the credit card network, such as Visa or Mastercard. This network acts as the go-between for the customer and their issuing bank.

2. Authentication

The network sends the customer’s payment information on to their bank. The bank then checks to make sure the purchase is legitimate rather than fraudulent, and determines whether the transaction should proceed. For example, if the customer has already reached their credit limit, the sale won’t go through. The card reader should tell the customer at this point whether the system has accepted or declined their payment.

3. Clearing and Settlement

The process appears to be over at this point from the customer’s perspective, but the merchant still doesn’t have their payment yet. A process similar to the one above takes place, which can take up to several days, to make sure all is in order before the cardholder’s bank sends funds. The processor comes into play once again as it transmits the necessary information to the credit card association to settle the payment.

Fees Explained

The funds that get transferred to the merchant will have fees deducted to pay the banks and processors involved for their part in facilitating the transaction. From a retailer’s perspective, they see a small amount of each credit card transaction withheld, typically around 2 to 3% for a retail store. This fee gets divided three ways, with the most significant chunk going toward paying the required interchange fee to the issuing bank.

  • Interchange: Credit card networks like Visa and Mastercard set and publish interchange fees. These networks update the current fees biannually. An interchange fee consists of a flat rate, such as $0.10, with a percentage of the sale, such as 2%. Together, these amounts will satisfy the credit card network’s requirement for each sale.
  • Assessment: Interchange fees aren’t the only fees credit card networks require. They also charge assessment fees. Whereas the interchange fees go to the issuing bank, assessments go directly to the card association. Assessment fees are much smaller than interchange fees, at just a fraction of a percentage per sale.
  • Discount rate: The amount credit card processing companies charge you beyond the fixed costs associated with interchange and assessment fees is the discount rate. The discount rate, sometimes also called the markup, is a flexible amount a processor can set so they also get paid for their part in facilitating credit card sales. You may be able to negotiate this rate with some processors.

Processors will use one of these models to determine their fees.

  • Interchange plus: Interchange plus models vary from month to month, and are complicated to understand and read on a statement. However, they can be the most cost-effective option for retailers who move a lot of product every month or who sell high-dollar items.
  • Flat rate: Flat rate models keep things simple and tend to be a good choice for merchants whose ticket items are low. Flat rate processing does not take factors like card type into account. For every transaction, you’ll pay one predetermined fee.
  • Tiered pricing: Tiered processing models consist of three different possible fees you’ll pay on a credit card transaction, depending on whether it falls into a qualified, mid-qualified or non-qualified tier. Factors like the type of card and how it’s entered determine the tier.

What Options Are Available From NRS?

Choosing a credit card processing company to facilitate your credit card sales, both with equipment and ongoing processing services, is a crucial decision. Choosing the wrong partner could result in paying unreasonable markup fees or finding hidden charges on your bill. National Retail Solutions keeps things transparent and offers two pricing options for credit card processingso you can choose the best fit for you.

  • Flat rate: The flat rate keeps things consistent, so you know what fee you’ll pay every time, whether someone swipes, taps or dips their card. This flat rate is 2.49% of the transaction cost plus $0.10, making it one of the cheapest credit card processing options for small business.
  • Custom rate: If your businesses process over $10,000 a month in credit card transactions, you can also work with NRS to set a custom rate designed to fit your business and save you money. You can get a free quote to find out what this rate would look like for you.

Regardless of which rate plan you select, you can usually expect to receive your funds within just 24 hours, which is a valuable perk for keeping your cash flow more current. We understand how critical it is to have access to your funds when you need them.

According to Business News Daily, if you own a small business, it’s essential to find a credit card processor that specializes in businesses of your size, since otherwise, you may face credit card processors who don’t understand your industry and expect you to generate at least $10,000 in revenue every month. While NRS has a custom rate option for businesses that create this much in credit card sales, we also cater to smaller businesses with our flat rate.

At NRS, we understand the unique needs of payment processing for small businesses, and believe size shouldn’t keep you from having the best technology to facilitate sales and help you manage your growth. That’s why we offer payment services, such as our card reader and processing services, that make it possible to accept not only all major credit cards, but also mobile wallet apps, EBT and eWIC.

Money isn’t the only element you should consider when choosing a partner for credit card processing. In a past blog post, we discussed three critical factors to consider when selecting the best payment system for small businesses.

  • Security
  • POS compatibility
  • Customer service

When you partner with NRS, you get these valuable qualities and more.

Contact NRS Today for Reliable Small Business Credit Card Processing

The world of credit card processing can seem complicated and confusing, but credit cards are here to stay. If you want to make it easy for customers to do business with you, you should know how to find the best credit card processor to supply you with the equipment to accept all forms of payment.

Consider making a smooth transition into modern technology with the easy-to-use, all-in-one POS+ from NRS, and be sure to count on NRS for all your payment processing needs. When you work with NRS PAY for credit card processing, you may be eligible for a complimentary credit card reader! To get started, request a free quote today.

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Payment Processing

How to Integrate Payment Processing With Your POS System

pos with payment processing

When looking for point-of-sale (POS) technology, you might consider getting a POS system or credit card reader. You might already have one or both of these technologies. However, to get the most out of your POS and card reader, they need to have compatible hardware, software and features.

When your POS and card reader are working together efficiently, it enables you to streamline your ability to take payments, which means you can take payments faster and give your customers a better overall experience. It is well worth the time and effort to find the best POS system with credit card processing for your business.

This guide will explain how to choose a POS and card processor that suit each other.

How Do I Integrate a Payment Processor With My POS System?

If you’re like many business owners, you may not have given a second thought to how your POS system and card reader work together. If this is the case, however, you may be missing a great opportunity. It is not difficult to integrate POS with payment processing, and it can pay tremendous dividends when you do.

Adding a card reader or POS system to your business can increase your profits and efficiency. When you combine these technologies in your workflow, you can improve your results even more. To ensure your company operates at peak efficiency, you need to find compatible hardware and software that let you take advantage of every feature available to you. Follow the tips below to make the process simple.

payment processor

1. Choose a POS System

There’s no Point of Sale credit card processing without a POS system. Think of your POS system as the brain of your payment processing, taking inputs placed in the credit card reader and interpreting them as financial transactions for your business.

Your POS system will act as the foundation of your customer checkout experience. It processes sales, records transactions and manages other critical parts of your business. You can use a POS for additional functions like tracking employee shifts and monitoring your inventory.

Since a POS system records sales as they happen, you need your equipment and software to recognize your card reader. If you don’t have a POS system yet, you can use this opportunity to create a setup from the beginning.

Business owners who have an existing POS system can consult their POS company for information about compatibility. The company may offer its own reader and processing service or have a suggestion.

2. Pick a Payment Processing Service

A payment processor, also known as a credit card processing company, handles the relationships and steps needed for credit card processing. Many of these providers offer card readers that work with their services. In some cases, you can also buy your own card machine. If you use a different company for payment processing than the one that provides your POS, you need to do careful research. Remember to check that all the hardware and software involved in both services work with each other.

If you decide to use the same provider for your POS and card processor, you can leave it to the company to handle updates and compatibility. However, that also means you need to choose a provider that offers excellent customer support and frequent software updates.

If you work with multiple vendors, you have probably thought about how much easier things could be if you had a single vendor to deal with. For instance, it’s better to work with one company that delivers your produce than to make separate deals with both the grower and the delivery company.

Integrating POS with payment processing is a similar idea. If your POS provider and payment processor are the same, there is only one point of contact, which makes communication much easier. In addition, you can be sure that all hardware and software will be compatible.

3. Research Security, Customer Service and Extra Features

When considering POS and card reader providers, the experience they offer matters as much as their services and products. So many financial processes now happen through the internet, making us more vulnerable to fraud. Make sure your providers have security features like anti-fraud services and breach protection. You may also want to look into any costs for customer service and its availability.

What Benefits Come With POS-Linked Credit Card Processing?

Using an all-in-one POS solution and credit card reader together lets you take advantage of powerful business features. These technologies help you manage all aspects of your store and help you grow your profits. A comprehensive POS linked with a card reader provides the benefits listed below and more.

Faster Checkout Times

Your POS and card reader will save you time handling payments at checkout. You can use the POS to scan and enter item prices with unparalleled accuracy and add discounts within seconds. The POS calculates theses transactions and sends the information to your card reader.

pos card reader

This not only allows you to complete more sales in a much shorter amount of time, but it also means less wait time for your customers, which is something they will definitely appreciate.

POS tools such as a scanner and integrated scale let you ring up items in an instant. With a robust payment processing machine, your customer can use a variety of payment types for their purchase. Once you finish the sale, your POS system will keep the information in its records.

Accurate Record Keeping

How much time do you currently spend trying to make sure the day’s or week’s credit card transactions are all in order and accounted for? You may be surprised what a difference a quality integrated POS system and card reader can make in this regard.

The combination of a card reader and POS system can save you hours on bookkeeping and profit analysis. Your POS makes an immediate record of every credit card transaction at checkout. It also keeps track of check, cash and mobile payments so you can see all the money that goes into your store.

An all-in-one POS solution includes comprehensive store statistics that show your profits and performance. These statistics use your sale records to calculate what types of items your customers buy and where you make the most money.

Increased Security

Even if it’s not already happening in your business, you have probably noticed that most companies with card readers have readers that are enabled for chip cards. There is a good reason for this.

Modern card readers use EMV technology to protect you and your customers’ financial information. EMV reads the chips in the newest payment cards instead of a magnetic strip, adding extra layers of security.

When it comes to digital financial transactions in the modern era, reliable security is critical. Today’s criminals are highly sophisticated and will stop at nothing to procure people’s private financial information. An EMV reader that takes chip cards can go a long way towards protecting your customers.

Your POS system will also secure your information with employee logins and accurate records. The reports generated by a POS system can give you the necessary information to track possible theft or fraud. When you choose services that follow industry-best security procedures, you benefit from an even higher level of security.

secure information

Market Leadership

Adding a POS system and payment processor to your business gives you the features needed to become a leader in your local market. Major chain stores use these technologies to make business efficient, and you can give your customers a similar experience. A card reader that accepts multiple payment forms helps you increase your number of customers by giving them more options at checkout. With so many customers relying on cards as their primary payment method, you open up your store to more people than ever before.

POS+ Is a POS System With Credit Card Processing

At National Retail Solutions, Inc., we understand that small businesses like yours need a straightforward solution to sales management. You need resources that get the job done and make sense. We created the POS+ system and started our payment processing services to meet these standards. POS+, the all-in-one POS solution, includes all the software and hardware needed to process sales and grow your business. You can also add a credit card reader and processing services at an affordable rate.

You’ll find all the benefits that come with an integrated POS system and payment processing solution mentioned above, including a free EMV card reader. Our system is the World’s Greatest POS System, and we will do everything in our power to make sure your payment card processing experience is a smooth and efficient one. We have successfully worked with a wide range of businesses and we have an appealing loyalty program to bring you even more benefits.

Let us handle the complicated aspects of payment processing so you can build business strategies that increase profits. Get in touch with our sales team today to learn more about POS+ or request a quote.

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Payment Processing

Integrating the Right Card Reader Based on Your Business Needs

integrate credit card reader

Integrating a credit card processor with your point-of-sale (POS) system lets you expand your customer base to anyone who uses cards. Every credit card reader provider has different equipment and plans with unique strengths. With so many options on the market, you have endless possibilities for a reader that suits your business strategy. This guide will help you consider the factors involved in choosing a card processing company and reader.

What Credit Card Reader Options Do I Have?

You have multiple types of credit card reader equipment to consider, as well as payment technologies. Manufacturers offer two primary categories of card processing equipment:

  • Card processing machines: Card processing machines work with a point-of-sale (POS) system to accept a variety of payments. Many models have a small screen and PIN pad that lets the customer input their payment information.
  • Mobile credit card readers: A mobile credit card reader attaches to a tablet or phone to process card payments. These devices plug into a headphone jack or connect through Bluetooth technology to work with an app.

These readers can accept a combination of three types of payments:

  • Magnetic stripe: Card processors that read magnetic stripes can take cards that you swipe for payment. Many readers still take cards with magnetic stripes, but new cards also include an EMV chip.
  • EMV: Many modern stores use a card reader that takes EMV chips because of liability. If a security issue happens to an EMV chip card when you don’t have an EMV reader, you could become responsible. We recommend prioritizing this payment technology to keep your business and customers safe.
  • Tap pay: Mobile payment apps like Google Pay and Apple Pay use NFC or contactless technology to interact with a card reader. A processor that takes mobile payments must also work with NFC.

A card processing machine that uses all three types of payment technology will give you the most power and versatility. It takes the most payment types and uses dedicated hardware to process your payments.

Which Factors Should I Consider When Browsing My Options?

When choosing a credit card payment reader and processing company, multiple factors should guide your decision:

  • Costs and fees: Your processing company can charge you many types of fees for using their service. You may have to pay per transaction or monthly statement. The company can also ask you to pay for the initial setup or early contract cancellation. Whether you buy your equipment from the company or get it on your own, you also have to consider its price.
  • Accepted payment forms: In addition to accepting certain payment technologies, a company will also accept specific payment types. For example, a provider might have equipment that uses EMV (technology) but accepts select credit cards (types). A service that takes a wide variety of payment types will open your business to many customers.
  • Contract requirements: When you work with a credit card processing company, they will set a contract period. The period will depend on the company and its policies, but some providers offer bonuses for signing the contract. Reading all documents before you sign or agree to anything ensures you know the terms you need to follow.

You can use the internet to compare these traits among each provider you research. The importance of one factor over another will depend on your business’ needs.

What Features Should I Look for When I Want to Integrate a Credit Card Processor?

The features that benefit you the most out of your potential choices will also vary based on your needs. We consider these aspects of credit card reader services and equipment necessary for business:

  • Security: The ideal provider will prioritize you and your customers’ financial safety. As we mentioned earlier, EMV technology can help you prevent fraud and security breaches. You can also look into their fraud resolution services and how they help their customers when something happens. A provider that works with your industry will also know common risks in businesses like yours.
  • POS compatibility: If you already have a POS system or plan to get one, you may want to check that a card reader works with it. Some POS solutions include a free card reader and processing services for your convenience. These services make all their equipment compatible with each other. Having compatible hardware and software across your system ensures you have fast, seamless service.
  • Customer service: Your card reader company’s customer support will help you understand your service and solve any problems that occur. When you look into reviews of a company, look for information on their customer service. A reliable customer support department can improve the quality of your experience with your reader and processing.

The experience offered by a credit card processor matters as much as the process itself. Keeping all aspects of service in mind when searching for a provider will help you make a confident decision.

How Do I Choose the Right Credit Card Reader for My Business?

You and your business will have unique requirements for the perfect credit card processor. To figure out the features that will make a service better suited to your business, ask yourself questions like:

  • What kind of payments do my customers like to use?
  • How much can I afford to pay for a processing service every month?
  • Will certain features outweigh specific drawbacks?
  • How much help will I need with setup and other technical factors?
  • Can I make a long-term commitment with a single provider?

If you have an assistant or business partner who makes important decisions for your company, remember to keep them involved. They may have ideas you didn’t think of before.

POS+ With Credit Card Reader: Process All Major Credit Card Transactions

Looking for an all-in-one business solution? Our POS system has all the features a small business needs and the option to add a card reader. When you sign a three-year processing contract, we can offer a free credit card reader with seamless integration with the rest of the POS. Learn more about POS+ and NRS credit card processing today by contacting our sales team.

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Payment Processing

What Are Merchant Services?

what are merchant services
 

If you have a small business, you may have heard of merchant services. There is a good chance you are using them already. If not, you probably should be, and NRS Pay can make it easy. Here’s what you need to know about merchant services for small businesses and why they can be so important for you.

Merchant Services Explained

Thanks to the convenience of payment cards, many customers prefer to use them over cash. The truth is, as our society becomes more and more digital, the importance and prevalence of cash is decreasing dramatically. If we’re not there already, we will soon get to the point where small businesses cannot afford to decline payment cards and only take cash.

 As a small-business owner, you can increase your profits by expanding the payment types you accept. Merchant services empower you to give your customers the payment options they want. Learn more about merchant services and how they help small businesses grow.
 
customer payment options

What Is a Merchant Service Provider?

Businesses use merchant services for the handling of electronic payment transactions. A merchant service provider takes care of the software, hardware, services and partnerships needed to process these transactions. You can find many of these providers available for businesses. They each have a different approach to services that suit specific companies. When you look for a merchant service provider, you have multiple factors to consider. Every service has its own fees, financial relationships and accepted payment types.

Who Are the Parties Involved in Merchant Services?

Merchant service providers manage the parties that take part in card processing. These people and institutions include:

  • The cardholder – The customer who presents you with a debit card, EBT or credit card in order to make a purchase.
  • Your business – You, the company making the sale of a product or service.
  • The bank your business uses  – Where the money from a purchase ends up.
  • The cardholder’s bank – Where the money from a purchase may be coming from.
  • Card associations like Visa and Mastercard – And other credit card companies that you may wish to accept payment from.

To learn more about the parties involved in merchant services, read our guide to credit card processing.

What Card Payments Can I Accept if I Use Merchant Services?

Various merchant service providers give you their own selections of payment methods you can accept. An ideal provider lets you accept the full range of payment options, including:

  • All major debit and credit card payments, including American Express and Visa
  • Mobile payments such as Apple Pay and Android Pay
  • Payment support such as EBT and eWIC

Notice that some providers let you take payment methods besides cards. When you take mobile payments and EBT, your business appeals to customers from different backgrounds, including tech-savvy and low-income customers. This means that with the right payment processing system, you have the potential to dramatically expand your customer base without making any changes at all to your product or service.
 
expand your customer base

The NRS Pay POS payment processing system takes all major credit cards and forms of payment, including MasterCard, Discover, Visa, American Express, EBT, Apple Pay, Google Pay and more!

Do I Need to Get a Credit Card Reader?

To accept alternatives to cash, you need a card reader like an EMV machine. A secure card machine uses the latest forms of payment processing, including cards with chips and mobile payments. Many providers bundle a reader with their service agreement, but pay attention to their descriptions. Merchant service providers like National Retail Solutions, Inc. offer the latest technology at an affordable price. In fact, if you act now, we will send you an EMV card reader for free!

How Do Merchant Services Help Small Businesses?

When you work with a merchant service provider, they take care of the details surrounding credit card processing. For a small fee based on what you earn, you can spend more time growing your business. Partnering with a provider that understands small businesses saves you time and effort. A merchant service provider like National Retail Solutions, Inc. will support you as you aim for success.
 
merchant service provider

Imagine what it will be like to be able to take payment from a wide variety of sources without even having to think twice about it. You’ll never have to turn a customer away or force them to spend awkward moments fumbling for an alternative form of payment. Just let them swipe whatever major card they have and we’ll do the rest.

Count on National Retail Solutions, Inc., as Your Merchant Service Provider

When you buy POS+, the World’s Greatest POS System, you can add our merchant services from NRS Pay at a low rate. You can accept all major payment forms mentioned in this guide for an affordable price. Discover our software and hardware for small businesses today by contacting our sales team.

Other unique services NRS Pay take pride in helping merchants with:

When you buy POS+, the World’s Greatest POS System, you can add our merchant services from NRS Pay at a low rate.

Our system can and has been used by a wide variety of types of stores that need the ability to take credit cards or other payment cards, including convenience stores, grocery stores, delis, liquor stores, smoke shops and vape stores, beauty salons, retail stores, and many more. If you’re not sure if our POS+ system is a good candidate for your business, please get in touch and we’ll let you know. Odds are very good we’ll be a perfect fit!

Don’t lose valuable business just because you can’t take a particular payment card. If you’re not using an efficient POS payment processing system for your business, you can bet that your competitors are or soon will be. Stay competitive and streamline your business with NRS Pay.

You can accept all major payment forms mentioned in this guide for an affordable price. Discover our software and hardware for small businesses today by contacting our sales team. You can learn more about our Payment Processing and contact us now for a free EMV card reader here.

Other unique services NRS Pay takes pride in helping merchants with:

  • Cash Discount Program — Offsetting the Card Brand Fees by having the cardholders help pay towards it.*
  • Live currency conversion Know-What-You-Pay in your currency — for tourists/credit cards from other countries.
  • Rapid Funding — Batch anytime at night and early morning until 6:00 AM and still get funded by 5:00 PM!*
  • Merchants can sell state-approved CBD based products with NRS Pay merchant services. (Excludes Marijuana or THC based products).
  • ~24/7 multilingual support.
  • Lower interchange pricing based on consulting merchants how to have the cards they charge downgrade less.

*Additional charges/contract may apply

Categories
Payment Processing

How Credit Card Processing Works

How credit card processing works

Credit card processing companies are notorious for the technicalities and complicated procedures that allow them to arrive at specific pricing structures. But, understanding the fundamentals of the bankcard system can help you avoid fees and find the best credit card processor.

The Players

It is critical to understand everyone who is involved in the credit processing system. Each plays a role in the credit card processing operation, and more people and businesses make it possible than meets the eye.

Cardholder  Most people own a credit card, so you are probably already aware of what responsibilities come along with having one. Holders can use their card to purchase products and services from most merchants.

Merchant — Any business that sells goods and services is a merchant. But when it comes to the credit card industry, we want to focus on those who consider credit cards an acceptable form of payment. By opening a merchant account with a credit card processor, they can accept debit and credit cards for any goods and services they may be providing.

Acquiring bank — An acquiring bank, or the merchant’s bank, is a bank that registers with the key players of card associations such as Visa and Mastercard. Their role in credit card processing is to contact merchants to urge them to create accounts or aid them with maintaining their membership. To do their job well, they provide merchants with the software and equipment they need to accept cards at their establishment. They also offer customer support and are responsible for depositing funds from card sales into the merchant’s associated account.

With the help of membership service providers and third-party sales organizations called ISOs, they play a role in conducting and monitoring the daily activities of their customers’ merchant accounts. The acquiring bank’s job grows easier as the bankcard system sees more innovation.

Issuing bank — As its name suggests, the issuing bank is the one that distributes credit cards to consumers. Like acquiring banks, they also are members of significant card associations. There are also some aspects that are different.

Issuing banks must pay acquiring banks for the purchases card users make. The cardholder then repays the issuing bank under the terms they signed when taking on the responsibility of obtaining a credit card. The issuing bank takes a more hands-on role compared to an acquiring bank, and does most of the work themselves.

Card associations — Visa, Mastercard and other card associations are not responsible for issuing cards or maintaining merchant accounts. Instead, they oversee financial institutions, ISOs and membership service providers by making sure credit processing and electronic payments are working as expected.

credit card players

They do their job by instating qualification guidelines for their members and by acting as an intermediary between all the players in the credit card processing industry. The association makes sure that the money is transferred from the acquiring bank to the issuing bank for each transaction.

By maintaining and improving the cards’ networks and capabilities, the card associations, in turn, make a profit. Each company uses a unique system to achieve these goals.

The Technology

To have the best system to handle card transactions, technology helps optimize the process and provides a seamless experience for customers and merchants:

EMV card reader — EMV chip cards are a piece of technology that has been rapidly increasing in prevalence nationwide over the last few years. Due to the increasingly innovative ways cybercriminals are conducting widespread data breaches and creating counterfeit cards, card issuers have developed new methods to protect consumers from falling victim to fraud or getting their hard-earned savings stolen.

This step forward has caused merchants to add new in-store technology and credit card machines that support EMV chip cards. Consumers’ banks likely urge them to upgrade their cards. If you do not have one already, EMV cards contain a computer chip that appears as a little metallic square. They are replacing the traditional magnetic stripes that are easy to steal or duplicate.

The difference between magnetic stripes and the new computer chip is that if someone copies a magnetic stripe, they can reproduce the data on the card repeatedly because the stripe contains static information that doesn’t change after each transaction. In contrast, the EMV card that includes the chip generates a unique code that is exclusive to each transaction. This chip denies hackers the ability to profit from stolen information and significantly reduces the chance of fraud.

These chips require a few more moments of patience than their swiping counterparts. However, the tradeoff is that consumers will no longer have to master swiping in the correct motion and orientation. The typical EMV chip transaction takes roughly 15 seconds to complete.

Barcode reader — Barcode scanners are electronic devices that read barcodes for in-store products.

These devices work by using a lens and light sensor that translate what they capture into an electrical code. The barcode scanner then sends the image data back to an output that allows for items to be processed and rung out at any physical location.

They provide much more utility compared to a standard cash register. A barcode scanner combined with a point-of-sale, or POS, system increases efficiency by speeding up the checkout experience. The tool also improves accuracy and negates the chance of a manually entered error in a system. Automating the checkout experience allows for perfect inventory control that tracks stock in real time.

Before recent advancements in technology, these devices were basic, stationary and needed pairing to a specific computer or program to function correctly. They required unique cords that weren’t easy to replace.

Nowadays, scanners come in many forms and can adapt to any businesses needs and preferences. Handheld barcode readers provide more ease of use and can reach barcodes in challenging places. Smartphones also can scan barcodes, but should only see use when a better alternative is not available. Finding the right barcode scanner that suits your needs will help you manage prices and transfer data better than ever before.

credit card processing technology

POS terminal — A POS machine is the hub that connects all the other aspects of an in-store system. The device reads information off customers’ cards, checks their accounts for sufficient funds, transfers funds between the customer and merchant, records the transaction and sends a message to the printer to produce a receipt.

The most powerful POS machines include a touchscreen that allow for convenient use by employees. The screen faces employees, enabling them to use on-screen buttons to navigate through options during checkout. Some POS’ even include a customer screen that shows details about items, prices, discounts and advertisements.

Receipt printer — Modern digital printers that generate receipts use thermal technology that produces an image by heating special heat-activated paper. They can achieve different colors by heating the paper at different temperatures.

Older means of printing receipts used dot matrix printers, but these faded out of use due to being loud, clunky, slow and power-intensive. They worked through the use of pins and wires to print characters on paper.

Thermal receipt printers work seamlessly with POS systems and provide numerous benefits to a business owner. In addition to faster printing speed, they also require less maintenance. Since they have fewer moving parts, there is less chance of them breaking or jamming.

Paper is the only required purchase for a thermal receipt printer, since it does not use ink. Keeping maintenance costs low is a vital aspect of a successful establishment.

Cash drawer — Cash drawers store currency and other valuables that work in conjunction with the rest of the POS system. They have improved by leaps and bounds, and now can track sales and recognize when one happens. To prevent theft, they require individual instruction to open. A cash drawer should also be sturdy and immune to breakage to prevent criminals from being able to easily pry the locking components open and steal what is inside.

The Process

Now that we understand all the roles within the credit card processing industry, how does credit card processing work?

how does credit card processing work

Step 1: Authorization

First, once the customer has decided to use a card as a form of payment for their transaction, they swipe or insert their credit or debit card in the merchant’s machine, depending on whether they have an EMV chip card.

Once the merchant’s database has considered the cardholder’s means of payment as acceptable for the transaction, they collect the payment information physically using an in-store credit card reader or an online system if the customer is shopping online.

authorization

Next, the information gets sent to the card network, such as Visa or Mastercard, which acts as a middleman between the customer and their bank.

Step 2: Authentication

Once the consumer’s preferred bank receives the request, they double-check to ensure the purchase is not fraudulent, and that the customer has sufficient funds to complete the payment. Banks can typically detect issues including insufficient funds, maximized credit limit or a suspected non-authorized user. Once they have conducted their tests, they send a signal back to the credit card processor that approves the transaction to go through.

Once the transaction reaches this point in the flow of information, the merchant and customer receive a notification whether the payment has gotten accepted or denied. But, what exactly happens when a credit card transaction gets declined?

authentication

Sometimes, a POS terminal can provide a reason why a declined transaction occurred. Other times, only the credit card issuer can identify the problem. Most commonly, these are the issues that result in a declined card:

  • Incorrect card information
  • Insufficient funds
  • International charges
  • Technical issues
  • A large number of purchases at once

More often than not, it is not the customer’s fault when a card decline happens. Banks and retailers take extensive measures to prevent fraud and stop scammers, as well as issues with a faulty system. These issues are another reason why choosing the best possible POS solution is essential for your business.

Step 3: Clearing and Settlement

Even with an approved transaction, the funds do not leave the cardholder’s possession quite yet. The next stage is the clearing and settlement phase. This process is similar, but more drawn-out than what has already happened. Over the next few days, the credit card company and merchant take steps to ensure the process complies with approved procedures. The day’s charges send in batches to the cardholder’s acquiring bank, which will appear on their monthly credit card statement at the end of a business day.

clearing and settlement

The processor then routes the merchant-provided information directly to the credit card company where settlement occurs. The approved transactions get forwarded to the issuing banks of each customer, and the funds then get officially transferred after deducting fees. The fees go to the banks and processors that played a role in making the transactions possible, and the percentage deducts from the merchant’s account. After this process is complete and the transaction information appears on the customer’s statement, the credit card processing cycle concludes.

Fees and Costs

Today’s retail customers expect stores to offer the utmost level of convenience. Merchants who refuse electronic payment in their establishments or online stores will almost certainly suffer upset customers and missed sales opportunities. However, in many scenarios, merchants require spending a minimum amount to allow the use of a debit or credit card. While customers may think this is just a ploy to get you to dish out more of your hard-earned cash, there is more to it than that.

Merchants pay a fee to be able to accept credit card payments. To compensate for these charges, they often require a minimum spending amount, mark up prices or seek the least expensive credit card processing rates to absorb these costs.

Credit card processing rates vary depending on the medium the merchant is using to sell their products or services. These mediums most commonly include retail, e-commerce or phone sales. The rates occur in several ways, which include flat fees, volume-based fees or per-transaction fees.

There are two major costs of credit card processing: merchant discount rate and chargebacks.

Merchant discount rate — If a merchant accepts card payments, the credit card processing company takes a percentage of sales for their service. Fees for retail stores typically range from 2 to 3 percent of the total purchase price, while online stores can be pricier, and are usually more to the tune of 5 percent. Several elements comprise these prices.

An interchange fee is a charge acquiring banks and processors must pay to the issuing bank. Most of the time, credit card networks such as Visa and Mastercard decide these fees based on market research, and generally update them biannually. Interchange fees combine a flat rate with a percentage of the purchase price.

Credit card networks also charge assessment fees when merchants’ customers make transactions with their cards. This charge correlates with the total transaction volume for the month, and a percentage of that value deducts from the merchant’s funds. The fixed fee with an added percentage is a common way of charging assessments, but the merchant’s acquiring bank can seek companies with the best rates, or may find luck negotiating with their current partner for a better deal.

Markups on interchange and assessment fees cover the cost of the acquiring banks and processors that facilitate the card transactions. These charges usually make up around 20 to 25 percent of the total card processing cost. Different merchants prefer particular pricing models. Research and proper negotiation allow them to find the best prices available and arrive at a sustainable plan.

fees and costs

Chargebacks — If the customer desires to dispute a charge on their billing statement they believe is unwarranted, they reserve the right to do so within 60 days of the date of the settlement. If an issuing bank receives a valid complaint from one of their customers, the merchant charges between $10 and $50 as a “retrieval request.” The merchant has a specified amount of time to respond to these requests. If the merchant ignores the notice or does not act in time, they can suffer even more fees. They also can appeal the request, but it is a long and drawn-out process that generally favors the customer who issued the complaint. If the merchant loses or admits fault, the issuing bank will replenish the customer’s bank account with the amount of the suspicious transaction.

All these elements go into transferring payment arrangements and authorizing those payments from one party to another. However, there are new ways being used to help combat the hurdles merchants face by accepting credit and debit cards:

Cash Discount Program — Generally, it is good practice for merchants to avoid charging their customers additional fees. But why should customers paying with cash pay the same price as those paying with credit cards that come with processing costs? The typical resolution for merchants being charged card processing fees was to charge card users a premium to make up the difference. But cash discount programs are becoming more widespread across the nation and are viewed as a much better solution than their predecessors.

Cash discount programs offer bonuses to anyone who chooses to pay with cash or check in a merchant’s location. This incentive can offset credit card fees and has shown great success regardless of the industry it’s used in. While there is no way to zero out credit card fees, you can avoid passing the additional costs to the consumer and reward those who use other payment methods.

Beat the Competition

beat the competition

If you are a business owner seeking a smarter way to handle credit or debit card transactions, National Retail Solutions is a one-stop shop for everything you need to grow your business in a competitive retail market. We offer a network of services and packages to make the transaction process as easy as possible for both the merchant and the customer. Our systems work with all major credit cards, including:

  • Visa
  • Mastercard
  • Discover
  • American Express

We also allow the use of other means of transactions, such as:

  • Apple Pay
  • Android Pay
  • EBT
  • eWIC

NRS offers two different low-rate options, including a simple flat rate that does not leave you guessing what the final payment price will be, and custom rate options for businesses that process over $10,000 a month in credit card transactions. We work to save you money and find the best possible option for your particular operation.

Deciding to go with NRS provides additional benefits. A three-year agreement will provide you with a free credit card reader as an added value and a thank you.

Payment processing for small business does not need to be a headache. If you want to see what specifically NRS can do for you, a free quote is just a click away.

NRS Pay and Payment Processing

Direct credit card processing from NRS Pay work with your NRS systems to provide a comprehensive payment processing solution. In addition to the benefits listed above, NRS Pay offers these advantages and more:

  • Fast, secure payments. In most cases, NRS Pay deposits your funds within 24 hours so you can get your money as soon as possible. The PCI-compliant reader protects you and your customers from fraud, too
  • Check payment conversion. NRS Pay lets you convert paper checks into electronic payments at your point of sale. You receive the funds from converted checks within two business days
  • Online processing solutions. The virtual NRS Pay terminal features advanced integrations and secure processing. Accept online customers by taking electronic payments through the Internet
  • Cash discount incentives. Use the cash discount program to give your customers savings when they use cash to pay
  • Free system setup. We offer free setup for your credit card processing and EMV card reader. Let our experts install your new system so you can get to a smooth start

NRS Pay also integrates with POS+ from National Retail Solutions.

NRS POS System

A National Retail Solutions’ (NRS) POS system can also help you get a leg up— NRS leads the credit card processing industry with a POS system that includes all the retail solutions you’ll need to grow your business, such as the following hardware:

In addition to hardware, the software that comes with NRS’ POS system makes it easy to monitor your business’ expenses and customers’ purchasing behavior to provide insight to stay ahead of your competitors. Some of the features include:

  • Register tool — Quickly check out customers, hold orders and more
  • Store statistics— Track sales, manage expenses and see sales reports of promotional offers
  • User settings — Create profiles and custom permissions for each staff member
  • InventoryManage stock levels and receive alerts when supply is running low
  • Store promotions — Create sales offers and automatically add discounts

These features make NRS’ retail solutions the ultimate store management tool.

To learn more about the benefits of the National Retail Solutions POS+ system, ask for a free quote today!