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How to change your merchant services provider

Whether it is high fees or poor customer support that you’re struggling with, the time may have come for you to switch credit card processors. While it may sound daunting, the process is actually much easier to complete than you may think. Follow these steps to get started:

  • Choose a new merchant services provider.

    Begin by identifying a provider that can better meet your needs. You’ll want to consider more than just rates. We've assembled some questions to consider as you review your options. Commerce can also review your current credit card processing package and discuss ways to save time and money. Bonus: Your new merchant services provider should have a protocol and plan to streamline the transition process and prevent it from affecting the operation or quality of your business.

  • Notify your existing provider of your intent to change services.

    Unless you tell them otherwise, many processors renew your contract automatically, so check the terms of your agreement. To avoid a possible early termination fee, determine when your current contract ends and notify your provider of your intention to end the relationship within the time frame specified in your contact. You will likely want to begin planning your move several months in advance of your termination date.

  • Confirm who owns your credit card processing equipment.

    If you are unsure, contact your merchant services provider and find out if you own or are leasing your credit card readers and other equipment. If you own the equipment, your new provider will need to determine if it is compatible with their system. In some cases, card readers may be encrypted or outdated and need to be replaced. If you lease the equipment, your current provider may require it to be uninstalled and removed. If so, you’ll want your new provider standing by, ready to install your new equipment.

  • Assess your gift card and loyalty program compatibility.

    Any gift and loyalty card programs managed by your current merchant services provider will also need to be switched. So you’ll want to review and verify their transferability with your new provider. If they aren’t compatible – or you want to rethink your current offerings -- now is a great time to make changes. If so, a plan should be in place to transition to the new program and notify your customers about the switch.

  • Learn how to use your new system.

    Your new merchant services provider should oversee the installation of any new equipment and provide the training that you and your staff need to use it properly. Done correctly, the transition should be rather seamless, allowing you to begin delivering positive customer experiences without a hiccup in operations.

The bottom line:

With a little homework and planning, switching merchant services can be an easy and painless process. In the long-run, it can also save your business time, money and improve customer satisfaction.

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