This article content is provided with our sponsor, Bank of America Merchant Services.
In earlier eras, entrepreneurs needed significant startup cash, a retail space and an open credit line in order to realize their business ambitions. However, recent technological advances have helped individuals with fewer financial resources who deal in small dollar goods to become successful micro merchants. In order to reach the widest range of customers possible, micro merchants should consider investing in a point-of-sale system that allows them to process credit and debit cards, as well as cash and checks.
Mobile Payment Card Readers
In recent years, a number of financial institutions have found great success giving micro merchants the ability to process credit and debit card transactions through the use of small mobile payment card readers1. A small business owner simply has to set up an account and connect a small card reader to their smartphone to begin accepting payments. These mobile card readers typically require no monthly fees and charge less than three percent of the purchase price per transaction.
Bank of America Merchant Services Financial Services Group Product Manager Pete Bertanzetti recommends that micro merchants seek out a POS solution that not only services current payment needs but also can scale its capabilities as a micro merchant’s business grows in size and complexity. “Allow your customers to buy when they want, how they want. In addition to traditional cash, checks and plastic cards, POS solutions should accept mobile payments and gift cards in addition to integrating with e-commerce sites. This will help attract new customers and drive repeat business.” The Clover® Go2 provides a great all-around micro-merchant payments solution. Additionally, as part of the Clover family, growing merchants can seamlessly upgrade to a more all-in-one business management solution via the Clover® Station3, Mini and Mobile4.
EMV®5-Compliant Card Readers
Several years ago, a credit card processing standard emerged called EMV6 involving the use of payment cards embedded with computer chips to prevent point-of-sale credit card fraud. EMV chip cards offer a greater degree of security than old magnetic strip payment cards by keeping the credit card’s data on a secure, embedded microchip instead of on the magnetic strip on the back. This chip also provides a unique code for each payment transaction, which helps prevent EMV cards from being counterfeited.
In 2015, banks in the United States began distributing chip cards and EMV-compliant card readers1. As chip cards become more prevalent, more and more consumers will become aware of the added layer of security they offer and are likely to prefer to do business with merchants that place a premium on protecting their account information. The Clover Go1 mobile card reader offers a fast, secure and simple EMV-compliant payment solution.
All-In-One POS System
Micro-merchants also need to choose a solution whose capabilities grow as their business grows in size and complexity. For small businesses who deal primarily in cash, but also want to be able to accept and manage credit and debit card transactions, an all-in-one point-of-sale system7 is recommended. For example, a maker of artisanal cupcakes who sells wares at community festivals and conventions would best be served by using a robust POS system that would allow customers to pay with cash and checks, as well as magnetic stripe and chip payment cards. And as these systems track and compile transactions across the different payment methods, they make the process of settling at the end of the day easy and fast.
Mr. Bertanzetti also explained that Bank of America offers a robust POS solution for owners that need to process several different payment types in addition to helping them manage their day-to-day business. “A good POS system should also allow owners to manage their business with confidence by giving them real-time reports, automated accounting and insights into new areas of opportunity. The Clover® family of POS solutions offers all of those convenient features and more.”
1 Clover Go, Bank of America Merchant Services. [https://merch.bankofamerica.com/clovergo-overview]
2 Clover Go is compatible with the majority of Apple and Android platform enabled smartphones and tablets. Requires wireless internet or cellular connection. Must download the free Clover Go by Bank of America Merchant Services app onto your smartphone or tablet.
3 Clover Station requires Clover Mobile, Clover Mini or FD40 equipment to accept EMV, NFC, and PIN Debit.
4 To enable the 3G functionality of Clover Mobile and Clover Mini, merchant must have a 3G data plan through T-Mobile or AT&T. The devices come with a T-Mobile SIM card and merchants can get a T-Mobile data plan through the Clover App Market for an additional monthly charge. To enable with an AT&T data plan, merchants must separately purchase and AT&T SIM card and contract with AT&T for a data plan.
5 EMV is a registered trademark in the U.S. and other countries, and an unregistered trademark elsewhere. EMV® is a registered trademark owned by EMVCo LLC.
6 Tech Talk: How Does EMV Work? [http://cbspulse.com/2016/01/25/tech-talk-how-emv-works/]
7 Clover Station, Bank of America Merchant Services. [https://merch.bankofamerica.com/cloverdetailspage]
This article was written by Mario McKellop of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.