The Small Business Heroes guide to taking card payments for retailers

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2 The Small Business Heroes guide to taking card payments for retailers Every retailer wants to make more money, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to start taking card payments. No matter how small your store, you can benefit from taking cards.

3 Why take card payments? Quite simply, your customers want to be able to pay by card - and most businesses find that when they introduce card payments, sales increase. Here are some other reasons why you might want to consider taking card payments: Your customers expect it: A number of recent surveys have revealed that customers expect to be able to pay by card in most situations. No matter what your industry, if you don t offer card payment facilities, you can expect to lose at least some of these customers. Your customers will spend more: People don t carry so much cash anymore, so if you don t accept cards, the result is that a customer can only spend what s in their wallet at the time that they re in your store. If you accept cards, they can choose to spend as much as they have in their bank account without having to trek to the cash point to draw money. Your business will have more credibility: Nothing says amateur more than a cash only sign. By taking cards you re saying to your customers We re established a major financial institution has confirmed that by allowing us card payment facilities.

4 Why take card payments? You re securing your business: Holding lots of cash is never a good idea. It could make you vulnerable to robberies, and taking cash regularly to the bank to deposit is a bit of a mission. Taking cards help you to avoid some of that risk. You ll make more money: A third of all transactions are now made on card so taking cards will make it easier to grow your business. Automate banking and reduce accounting costs: Accepting cards enables you to escape some of the hassles of running a store by automating some of the banking processes. The less admin you can do the better, as far as we re concerned here at SBH!

5 Understand these terms There are a few terms you ll hear quite a lot when you start your quest for a card payment system. You ll need to understand what they mean before you progress any further. Merchant That s you the retailer, the shop owner or, as we like to call you, the Small Business Hero. Acquirer / acquiring bank or merchant acquirer That s the institution (usually a bank or other financial services provider) that processes the credit or debit card payment on your behalf. For example, if someone spends 10 on a NatWest credit card in your store, someone has to get that money from their NatWest bank account and give it to you. They need to do it securely, and they also need to be able to get money from Barclays, Co-Op, Santander etc when people spend money on cards linked to those banks accounts. So it s a big name for an important function!

6 Merchant account The contract between you and the acquirer. The acquirer pays you the money from your card transactions before they actually get paid by the bank. So they re taking a bit of a risk because you could (in theory at least!) just shut up shop and run away with the money once it s hit your account if the customer makes a valid claim that they didn t receive the goods that were charged to their cards, the acquirer has to give them a refund and is out of pocket. To minimise this risk, we think it s reasonable that the acquirer runs a few checks that prove you are trustworthy before entering into any agreement with you.

7 Choose which type of card machine is right for your store Card payment system Benefits Details Desktop card machine Portable card machine Mobile card machine Online portal or payment gateway Great for taking cards over the counter. Ideal if you want to take card payments away from your counter. Perfect for pop-up stores take your card facility with you easily. If you re selling over the internet a standard card machine won t help. Quick and easy, this is perfect if you re working from one location. Your card provider will even install the terminal for you and help ensure the connections are all in place. Portable card machines connect to a hub via wireless Bluetooth, so you can take cards within a certain range of your base station. Very hi-tech. As long as you re in a place with mobile network coverage, you re golden. You don t need a fixed phone or broadband connection, so you have tons of flexibility. Customers could pay with their cards, or via a portal such as PayPal. Your card provider can help you figure out the best solution for your business. Of course, you might require a combination of these, which is fine too!

8 Apply for merchant status Don t worry - it s not as complicated as it sounds. Simply contact your preferred merchant acquirer (if you choose Streamline UK and Europe's number one payment provider you can leave your details here and they ll call you straight back). They ll take you through the whole process. As we mentioned earlier, the acquirer needs to check your business plan and your credit history before you can be granted merchant status. It s very similar to applying for a loan they ll need to check the health of your business, your sales record, and your personal credit history.

9 Get set up Once your merchant status has been approved, your acquirer will help install your terminal, You ll need a high-speed broadband connection, a cable and a router for desktop card machines, while for more flexible options you might only need mobile phone coverage. You ll also need a firewall (for card machines that use the internet) to make sure your connection is secure. Your provider will authenticate your terminal and encrypt the link between them and your terminal, so data can be transferred securely. How much will it cost? There s no hard and fast rule but here are some of the costs that you should consider before taking cards: - Terminal rental -terminal rental is often charged on a monthly basis, and is usually around per month - Joining fees to cover setting up a new account and any installation. - Merchant service charge (MSC) this is negotiated with the acquirer, but you are generally looking at anything from 3% to 5% of each transaction, which is why so many small businesses set minimum transaction costs (which you might consider doing). - Minimum monthly service charge (MMSC) the minimum fee that a card acquirer will charge for its services each month. - Compliance any costs associated with compliance and security (read the PCI compliance section at the end of this for more information!)

10 Start taking cards! Congratulations! You re set up, you can take cards, and now you can grow your business by maximising your potential income. Money will be credited into your merchant account usually within about four days of the transaction taking place. You ll also receive reports usually monthly detailing the transactions that have taken place, and how much you ve been charged.

11 PCI compliance If you take card, you need to meet the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). This is to ensure that your customers aren t putting themselves at risk by paying with you, and that their card data is secure. It can be pretty complicated, but there s tons of information out there and your card merchant provider will talk you through the process. At the end of the day, it s mostly caution and common sense! Here are three important things you need to do: 1. Build and maintain a secure network Make sure your system uses a firewall, and that everything is password protected. And don t use the same passwords you use for everything else! Other bad ideas for passwords are password and Ensure your virus protection is always up to date too. 2. Protect cardholder data Never write down card details on paper, especially if you re taking payment over the phone, and make sure all the data is encrypted. You don t want it falling into the wrong hands! Everyone in the company needs to be clear on the measures they have to take to protect cardholder data. 3. Implement strong access control measures Basically, don t go giving every Tom, Dick and Harry access to cardholder data restrict physical access, and ensure that everything is individually password protected if you re not storing cardholder data on your systems, then your card acquirer should provide you with PCI compliant technology that ll do this for you. Once you are PCI certified (through your merchant s PCI compliance programme) then you can get started!

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