You already know Benchmark Merchant Solutions specializes in merchant credit card processing, helping you get your business going with the lowest overall cost, zero application and programming fees and easy setup with great customer service provided. But did you also know Benchmark can help your business in more ways than simply credit card processing?
Whether you’re a first time entrepreneur or an experienced startup, Benchmark can help your company grow with all the resources you need for a new, budding business. Here’s some of the additional services we offer:
- Marketing and Branding
In order for your new business to get off the ground, you’ll need the marketing and branding essential for getting your name out there, and visible and memorable to your potential clients. Benchmark can help you with logo development, corporate identity, advertising and even business coaching so you’re able to compete with even the biggest and most established in your field.
- Web Design and Hosting
You’ll need a strong web presence to make your business succeed, and in some cases, that means complex web design with shopping carts for customers and search engine optimization so your site doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.
- Accounting, Payroll & HR
Benchmark can also help you in the accounting and HR department, assisting you with your taxes and IRS audits as well as setting up payroll checks and direct deposit.
Credit cards have been around for a long time and with them, merchant credit card processing. In the information age, the flexibility of the credit purchase is allowing businesses to pursue different models of how a sale can be made–after all, what is in a credit card anyway?
The credit card was first thought up in 1887, in Edward Bellamy’s future utopia novel Looking Backward as a way of purchasing goods and services quickly by borrowing from a financial institution. Credit and charge cards today are nothing more than convenient revolving-door accounts tagged by numbers to an account holder–different parts of the number signify different banks and specific accounts. The plastic card itself holds no power, cutting it up is merely a psychological stopgap. The real card resides in the information tagged to it: the security code, personal information, and credit card number.
Because of the flexibility of tagging a line of credit to a unit of information, credit cards and charge cards are uniquely suited to the Information Age. Online businesses do not technically need a storefront, but they all require credit card processing to make their revenue. All that is required is the appropriate information and bingo, instant purchase. Benchmark Merchant Solutions works with credit equipment makers like Magtek and Verifone to provide the most up-to-date, flexible solutions for your modern business.
If you have recently been looking at your business’ credit card transactions, you have probably noticed the acronym ACH somewhere in all the paperwork. The ACH is short for “Automated Clearing House,” which is actually not a place but a system where payments are cleared and processed.
Automated Clearing House technology is a universal code by which different financial agents are able to easily and quickly clear transactions between financial institutions. If your credit card processing or merchant services company is not using ACH as part of their operation, then something is wrong.
On the small business side of things, ACH is a bit more complicated than credit or debit card purchases, but is perfect for large volume, business-to-business transactions. Essentially, ACH allows you and your business to act the same way, say, a direct deposit transaction would. But instead of just being a wire transfer, it is a recorded legal transaction.
For more information on ACH, you can contact us at Benchmark Merchant Solutions and we’ll show you how it might be just the right decision for your transactions. A smart business makes smart choices and we can help you benefit from them with ACH offerings and more.
If you are starting a new business or just ready to take your business to the next level, you may be asking yourself how you are going to go about getting a credit card machine. One of the many questions you may have bouncing around in your head right about now is just what a credit card merchant is, and if you really need one in order to get things in order. Well, like it or not, you do need the services of a credit card merchant, at least if you want to be able to accept cards. These days, not having a credit card machine is the equivalent of leaving a pile of money on the table.
A credit card merchant offers all of the services that are associated with accepting credit cards at your business. They may also offer other services as well, such as cash advances or various software sales or equipment rentals.
At Benchmark Merchant Solutions we best the competition by offering a comprehensive business starter package that gives the aspiring small business owner everything they need. We can help you set up your credit card sales, website, online sales, banking accounts and with insurance policies.
How do merchant services help your business accept credit card transactions online? This is a very good question, and one that a lot of small business owners would do well to better understand. Especially if they plan to base a substantial part of their sales on online credit card transactions. While an online merchant can run very smoothly once set up properly, it will be a nightmare if you’re not adequately prepared or otherwise are not using the best software for your needs.
Internet credit card processing systems are different from POS (point of sale) systems. Generally a POS system will simply communicate data directly from the POS to the merchant who will then communicate with the financial institution thus approving or denying the transaction. A business that accepts transactions online will need a more expansive solution. Unless you are using Paypal or another integrated peer to peer payment system, an online store will need a built in payment section.
This is generally achieved through software licensed or developed by the merchant services company your business deals with. They will have an online checkout function that operates on their servers and integrated seamlessly on your website. This will allow you to securely process credit card transactions while still relying on the security of a credit card services merchant.
Contrary to popular belief there is no such thing as the cheapest or the best merchant credit card processing company. People may tell you they’ve finally found their ‘guy’, or the company working with them is making some kind of crazy offer for their business, but be wary. Credit card processing companies are all bound by the same restrictions, getting service that works for you is more about finding a balance or monthly rate vs discounts (money that comes off of each transaction) that works best for your business.
If this sound jargony allow us to explain. The way credit card processing works is the same everywhere. You (the business) pay a monthly fee attached to the processing service, this may or may not include hardware and software but probably does. On top of that you also pay a small fee for every transaction processed. Your fees off of the top will vary depending upon what type of card is swiped (debit, credit, air miles, other benefit card) and will actually cost you less if the customer keys in their debit PIN number than if you have them sign.
There is a balance that works for all small businesses, it simply has to be sought out and identified. If you do medium volume and medium price sales, you will want pretty standard monthly and discount rates. Whereas if you do high volume low price sails, it may be worthwhile to get a low monthly rate and pay off the top on every transaction.
Benchmark merchant solutions offers a CRM system that caters directly to the needs of cash advance companies of all sizes and types. Benchmark’s cash advance software can help you track all types of different variables and payment paths to make sure you’re getting the most on your advances.
Benchmark’s software is industry specific. Like any other industry software (courierware, nutritionist programs or shipping software) it offers seamless integration between applications that simply isn’t available with spreadsheets and office programs.
The software features some of the following exciting capabilities.
- Daily payback tracking with payback rate history
- Custom Notifications specific to your industry i.e. customer hasn’t batched out in x days
- Underwriting checklist and notes
- View your entire merchant portfolio at a glance
- Issue Tracking
- Customer Management
- Email Reporting
Starting up a new business from scratch requires opening a lot of accounts and in many ways becoming a customer yourself. At the very least a business needs new banking and financial accounts, but if you’re not a tech wizard you’ll likely need web designers, graphic designers and more.
Centralizing all of these services and accounts can eliminate redundancy and waste caused by using a myriad different contractors. Benchmark Merchant Solutions can provide all of the following services. Helping you go from idea to doing business faster than ever.
The best part, is that with Benchmark, there’s one convenient bill for all the services you see listed. You can also mix and match services for when and how you need them. Instead of wasting whole days on the phone, make one call and get things done right the first time.
- Web design and hosting: Shopping carts, search engine optimization, PPC
- Graphic and print design: Logo development, corporate identity, folders, brochures
- Promotional products: Pens, pads, mugs, key rings, mouse pads
- Payroll and Human Resources: Payroll checks and direct deposit payroll, tax filing
- Accounting: Filing corporations, end of the year accounting, IRS audits
- Banking: Checking and savings accounts, business revolving credit, business credit cards
- Office Supplies: Office furniture, office equipment, computers and software, office supplies
- Insurance: Health insurance, property insurance, Workers compensation
If you’re a merchant that currently accepts credit card or debit card transactions, then you may already know about the potential security threats posed to your customers over credit card networks. The fight to secure these networks is constant, and the PCI DSS network standards are the #1 way to do this.
PCI DSS is a set of policies and guideline that make consumers safer when using debit or credit cards.
- A Secure network must be maintained through which transactions may be processed. This includes firewalls and authentication data.
- Cardholder data must be secured, both in hard copy form and where it is stored electronically.
- Antivirus and anti-spyware programs must be used and regularly maintained in order to ensure there are no bugs or exploits in the system that processed credit card transactions.
- Access to stored information should be tightly controlled. Hard copy documents should be shredded and every person on a system that carries out transactions should be individually identifiable.
- Networks mus be monitored and tested regularly in order to ensure that all security systems are functional and up to date.
- A formal, written policy must be made public and maintained. It must be followed in all transactions by all parties.
Credit card processing is a must for your business and you understand what it does, at its basic core. It allows customers to use credit cards at your location and for you to get your revenue properly. But there’s a bit more to the actual process than just that.
- There are variety of key players in the whole process. you need the customer, the merchant and the merchant’s bank, obviously. But there’s also the gateway for payment, the credit card issuer and the card interchange.
- The information, once a buyer hits “purchase”, travels first to the gateway. From there it is routed to the correct processor.
- From the processor it moves to the interchange, which has to be cleared before it goes to the bank and takes the funds out of the buyer’s account.
- At this point, the purchase is either approved or declined by their bank. Hopefully, all is approved and the funds are then put into the merchant’s bank account.
Through all of that, each step requires a nominal fee, but it all adds up to a couple of dollars per transaction. That’s why some retailers choose to have a minimum for using cards, to help cover enough cost for that fee.