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.
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 merchant services 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.
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.
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 merchant services 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.
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.