Evaluation Criteria for Retail Processing

The independent authority on credit card processors, topcreditcardprocessors.com, is a research firm dedicated to identifying and ranking the best credit card processors in the United States. Through an in-depth vendor analysis, client evaluation, and the use of our proprietary evaluation criteria, we have put together a list of the top retail payment processors. Our analysis delves into a vendor’s business practices and compares them against industry standards to ensure that the service is quality. Often times we connect directly to the clients of a vendor and ask about their overall experience.

There are five key areas which we have identified as significant for retail payment processing services:

Retail payment processing services that don't provide perfect reliability stand to lose sales for a merchant. If transactions are lost and not processed correctly, it makes it impossible to track and keep up with daily costs. In the service industry, meals may go unpaid for or products may be purchased with the merchant never receiving payment. This makes the system extremely unreliable and costs the merchant money in the long run.

Waiting for transactions to go through numerous security filters and other processes slows down the rate which customers can be helped. Many systems allow customization so that low-risk, inexpensive transactions are sent straight through the system. By providing an option to collect credit card information for background processing and immediately sending transactions for less than a certain amount through, it increases the speed and productivity of the system.

Accidental double-charges reflect poorly on the merchant. Customers don't always have disposable income, and if a charge is sent through erroneously for the wrong amount, the merchant might not be able to correct the charge. This means that the merchant must void the sale and the customer might be left with no way to pay for the charge, since a temporary authorization has already been placed on the card. Systems that provide a way to charge against the already approved charge make it more convenient for the customer and merchant.

Detailed reports and measures are expected from any retail payment processing service. These basic reports show the merchant the fees associated with each transaction and make it possible to price items as a result of those fees. Merchants that don't receive accurate statements are left in the dark about the actual per-item transaction costs. Finding a way to decrease those costs, and when necessary lowering or raising prices for customers to accommodate per-item fees makes it possible for merchants to adjust rates as needed.

The more unnecessary features that are available through a retail payment processing service, the higher the chance of an incorrect charge. Simple systems that cashiers and merchants can easily understand how to use rate more highly in an evaluation. Systems that have too many moving parts, whether it is through the actual service provided or the required machine to process transactions score lower, since this doesn't provide customers or merchants with much needed simplicity.

General Questions:

  • How did you find your current payment processor?
  • What other payment processors, if any, have you used?
  • How many transactions do you process per month?
  • What would be three things you would change about your experience?
  • Rate your overall experience (1-10; 10 being the highest).

Specific Questions:

  • What equipment was provided by the processor?
  • What type of point of sale solution has been provided or proposed?
  • Do you utilize any special features or solutions for your business? If so, which ones?
  • What types of payments are processed through your point of sale? How do they differ in terms of authorization and time until money is deposited into your account?
  • Do you have multiple locations? If so, how much assistance did the processor provide in equipping your locations and integrating your service?
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