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Choosing From Among the Many Merchant Services

Being able to offer your customers as many payment options as possible can make your business grow in a huge way. By giving them the ability to pay for merchandise with their credit cards, especially if you are an online business owner, you give them an ease and flexibility of shopping that will have them returning time and again to make purchases from you. And with the popularity of online shopping higher than it has ever been, the demands to make your business better are just as great. The vast majority of shoppers prefer to pay for their orders with credit cards, so it makes good business sense that you would offer that option to them. By opening a merchant account with one of the many merchant services available to business owners, your customers will enjoy the simplicity and speed of paying by credit card, and you will see your profits soar.   Merchant service firms provide merchant accounts to business owners. A merchant account allows a business to accept credit cards as a form of payment from customers. A merchant account is not the same as a bank account. Rather, a merchant service works to make sure the credit card is verified and that the funds are transferred from the customer you're your business bank account. It used to be that merchant services were only available through banks and providers to retail establishments that were located in a physical location, like a mall. But the demands of online shopping have caused many merchant account providers to begin to provide merchant services to online business owners. There are many online merchant account providers that offer reliable and secure services particularly to merchants that sell their products on the Internet. Because there are so many merchant service providers available, it is important to be familiar with all characteristics of merchant services, especially the potentially high costs, so that you don't lose your profits. It is also important to find a merchant account provider that is dependable, trustworthy, and offers secure services for you and your customers.   If you open a merchant account for your online business, the type of payment processing usually offered by a merchant account service is real-time processing. Real-time processing is the best solution for online business owners since the charge from the customer's credit card is promptly processed when an order is placed. The customer receives an email notification that the order has been processed and the fund transfer is approved by the credit card company, upon verification and approval of the credit card. You will see the profits from the sale in your bank account within a few days.   The potential fees put upon you for merchant services can be numerous. Since not all of the fees are necessary, and not all merchant service providers change them, check around with different providers until you find one with reasonable fees and monthly charges. Some of these fees include an application fee, a monthly statement fee, a discount rate and transaction fee (these are deducted with each and every sale you make), an annual fee, and a refund fee. There are also other miscellaneous fees that individual merchant service providers might charge you. There are many potential costs associated with opening an account with a merchant service provider. Try to compare services before you make a decision. It's also a good idea to try to estimate the monthly costs by using your current sales figures to project expenses.   Your relationship with your merchant service provider should last the duration of your business, if possible. You should trust your provider implicitly. Your merchant service provider should offer quick and secure processing of your credit card sales, and they should offer additional services to offer your customers even more payment options. Not only should they accept several types of credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, among others), but they should also provide your customers with added payment alternatives, like PayPal. Your merchant service provider should have a good reputation for having excellent service and reliability, as well as having a name for excellent customer relations. They should be equipped to deal with any issues or problems discreetly and quickly. The merchant services provider you choose to make a relationship with can make or break your business between its fees and service. Make sure you know the facts about merchant services and the providers so that you don't lose your dream of being a successful business owner. Article Source:

6 Direct Questions for Selecting Merchant Services

Payment processing is a crucial requirement for almost all small businesses. To find the best deal on your merchant account, you need to understand how these services can affect your profit. Given below are six direct questions that can help you make a well informed decision while selecting a merchant service provider. Have a look!   Q1. What are merchant account services? Merchant services enable businesses to effectively handle payment processing. A merchant account is required to handle transactions with your customer's bank to help direct payments into your bank account.   Q2. Who provides merchant services? Merchant services are offered by specialized companies, referred to as merchant account providers. There are various financial institutions, independent sales organizations and local banks that offer payment processing services. There are some companies that handle a variety of payment processing requirements, while others specialize into a specific type of business. A good example of a generalist is Merchant Services Direct, a Spokane-based company that offers payment processing services including credit card processing, debit card processing, check services, cash advance, ATM services etc. Likewise, you will find several other merchant account companies that will specialize in only credit/ debit card processing.   Q3. Which type of company suits your business best? Which type of merchant services company will suit you best depends on the nature and size of your business. If you have a home-based business, merchant companies and independent sales organizations will serve the purpose. Banks may turn down services to a home-based business. Many businesses would like to hire the services of a local bank while others may like to go with a credit card processor that offers affordable rates. Select a direct merchant services provider that matches your business requirements.   Q4. Do I really need to accept credit cards? Yes! Credit card processors will charge a small percentage of each of the payments that you receive. Having a merchant account in today's economy is a no brainer. It adds professionalism to your business and statistics show that accepting credit and debit cards increase your businesses income. The small fee you pay to accept electronic payments will be worth the additional business and convenience you offer to your customers.   Q5. What do I need to for online payment processing? A website, shopping cart and a merchant service company that can directly link your shopping cart to their secure payment gateway. This sounds confusing but as long as you work with a good merchant service provider they can easily guide you through this process headache free.   Q6. Should I look for a local company or does it really matter? In short YES! With merchant services being a competitive industry there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to get a good deal along with local service. Most business owners feel more comfortable doing business face to face and there is definitely something to be said about having a local office to go to with any issues or needs. Article Source:

Want to Change Payroll Services? Here’s What to Expect…

Thinking about changing payroll services? Smaller payroll companies often charge substantially less than their larger, nationally recognized counterparts. The main reason for this discrepency is that the smaller companies do not have the overhead of the larger companies, so they can pass the savings along to clients.   If decide you want to change from a big-name provider to a smaller payroll firm, or if you are starting a business and need payroll services, remember that smaller payroll providers often offer the same services as the larger companies: One time set-up fee, payroll service handles set-up Payroll customer or payroll service enters hours worked and prints paystubs each pay period Payroll service handles all tax payments and tax returns Payroll service offers electronic services for all transactions--direct deposit, tax forms, tax payments, W-2s Payroll service offers ability to pay sub-contractors with direct deposit, then issue and electronically file 1099s at year-end 3-4 week lead time before processing first payroll with new payroll service Lower monthly rates than the big name payroll services   Note that some smaller payroll services have the capacity to pay 1099 contractors with direct deposit, a service not offered by nationally recognized payroll firms.   If you determine that the smaller payroll service will meet your needs, be sure to have the following information available as soon as possible: 1. All previous payroll tax returns for the current year. 2. For each and every employee that has worked for your firm during the payroll year, whether still employed or not: Complete name Last known mailing address Social Security number W-4 (for filing status) Hire date Quarter-to-date earnings and withholdings Year-to-date earnings and withholdings 3. Information about your company: Company type (sole-proprietor, s-corporation, etc.) Company address Date you plan to run the first payroll with the new service Federal employer ID number and state employer ID number Federal filing requirement Tax payment schedule for both Federal and state State tax rates, if applicable Pay schedules (when/how often employees get paid) Vacation and/or sick leave policies Deduction information on any retirement plans and insurance premiums Garnishment information   Enroll in all electronic payroll services the new company offers. Not only do these ensure accurate and timely tax filings and payments, there are usually no additional fees for them, and they are much easier than the old system of paper checks, paper coupons, trips to the bank, and trips to the post office.   The power of the Internet means you don’t need to pick a payroll service in your local area. Both the you and the new service can access payroll data from the convenience of your Internet browsers.   If you are looking to increase your bottom line, a smaller payroll service may be able to help. Shop around and compare. Article Source:

Payroll Service Providers – Do You Know the Top 7 Essential Habits of Excellent Vendors

Studies suggest that over 30 percent U.S. businesses that handle payroll in-house find themselves facing IRS audits and penalties for payroll miscalculations? Do you want to free yourself from the hassles of payroll processing while simultaneously enhancing its efficiency? Do you know that reputed service providers can greatly reduce the costs of payroll processing? Do you want to know what characteristics separate effective payroll service providers from the crowd? If yes, then read on to find out the seven habits of highly effective payroll providers.   Habit #1: Accountability   Reputed firms are responsible and accountable for any errors in payroll and quick to identify and rectify mistakes. Effective payroll service providers use an in-built error checking system to catch errors before issuing checks and money transfers.   Habit #2: Compliance   Effective providers comply with all local, state and federal employment and tax laws. Through stringent checks and balances, reputed payroll providers drastically reduce or eliminate IRS audits and penalties for transgressions that occur during payroll processing or payroll tax processing.   Habit #3: Online Data Transfer   For smooth payroll processing, timely and convenient delivery of payroll data to your provider is a must. Effective payroll service providers allow you to transfer data, essential for payroll processing, online. They also offer online systems that can be accessed through web interfaces to avoid any need for installation and maintenance of expensive software.   Habit #4: Flexible Billing   All good payroll service providers offer you a range of fee structures. Most providers charge initial setup fees and a flat fee for every employee per payroll cycle. Some payroll processing companies offer different fee structures that charge you extra, over and above the yearly flat fee per employee, for additional services.   Habit #5: Online Tools   Payroll service providers offer a range of online tools for your staff such as tools for viewing and printing payroll stubs and tax forms and making changes to deductions. Payroll providers also offer various online tools for business owners. They include tools for entering time card information for hourly staff and tools for monitoring payroll expenditures and deductions to enable you to assess and regulate your finances.   Habit #6: Customer Service   An effective payroll processing company will provide you with excellent customer service characterized by quick responsiveness to your queries. It is of utmost importance that your provider offer you a short turnaround time for rectifying mistakes in paychecks, creating new accounts for new employees and addressing other payroll related issues.   Habit #7: Advanced Services   Effective payroll service providers offer you a range of advanced services for further reducing your payroll problems while improving its efficiency. For retirement plans, they work with financial advisers to help your staff to make the correct investment decisions. Other services include running background checks, distribution of key communications to staff members when required, and enrollment and monitoring of life insurance, health care and other employee benefits programs.   Survey a number of payroll providers, services offered and fees charged before making a decision. Get references and find out about the performance and market reputation of your preferred providers to assure yourself of quality and reliable service. Lastly, consult your attorney and accountant about all contracts before signing on the dotted line. Article Source:

Lower My Electric Bill Today

With the current economic crisis and the constant rise and fall of energy costs, there are a lot of people asking "how can I lower my electric bill"? Well, that is probably one of the most asked questions from those who have a monthly electricity bill to pay today. Certainly the easiest way to quickly lower your electric bill today is to switch from your local utility company, who will generally have the highest electricity rate, over to a locally licensed electricity provider who is able to sell you electricity at a reduced rate.   The deregulation of electricity in several states across the nation has allowed the consumer a choice when it comes to who will deliver their power. This creates a competitive market for electricity which will in turn results in lower electricity prices, certainly lower than that of the local utility. In most cases on can save between 10% and 20% off the price of your local utility company which can add up to 100s of dollars a year.   The switch over to a new electricity provider is generally seamless to the customer with no acquired fees or credit check. Your local utility will still handle all the billing and service to your property as if nothing ever happened, except, you electricity bill will now be lower. Thousands of customers consisting of homeowners, businesses and municipalities are making the switch every day and the number is growing rapidly as one friend tells another about deregulation and the meaningful monthly savings involved. Everyone has the opportunity to benefit form these changes. Article Source:

Sales Jobs – Get a Job in Sales

If you are looking for a career area with broad employment options, look to sales jobs. Companies are always looking for talented marketers and sales people to increase the bottom line. Without good sales people, companies go out of business - it's that simple.   Ok, so we know the demand is there, the jobs are there, but are you the right person for this career? There is no area of business that has more opportunities for the right person than sales.   Type of sales jobs   Financial Sales:   The areas that this section covers includes: Investments, Insurance, Real Estate, Loan Brokers and Mortgage Loan Sales. These jobs are plentiful and most will train new employees from scratch. If you are successful in financial sales, you can make an unlimited income and enjoy working in an exciting field. The negatives with these sales jobs are the same as with most sales positions - you sell, you earn - you don't, you won't.   Real estate agents rely on the "big hit". It is not a career that will reward you with multiple daily sales. Your job is to work as many prospects as possible, without sacrificing service and availability to your buyers and sellers. Your hope is that some of these prospects buy the home you are showing. Challenges in the real estate sales market include: real estate trends and shrinking real estate commissions. Agents have to work harder and longer to earn the same money they did just 5 years ago. If you have a high interest in real estate and are comfortable traveling and meeting people, it could be your career of choice. If you are not motivated or are willing to do those things, it a job that will frustrate more than it will compensate.   Investment, insurance and loan brokers rely on phone work. Cold calling and prospecting is what you will be doing in the beginning and it is necessary. Any company that offers you these jobs will expect you to be prospecting from the start. If and when you build a successful client base, you can use referrals to help build from there. The money is there with these jobs, but it is first and foremost a sales job, and even more accurately - a telephone sales job. Commissions are the goal and the salary (if any) is minimal. You need to go into financial sales with guns blazing or you will fail.   Medical and Service Representatives:   Service sales reps, which are people who either service existing clients or introduce new products to existing customers are service sales reps. These jobs can be attractive, because they usually pay a decent salary that includes commissions and bonuses. The pharmaceutical or medical rep jobs can be attractive because of this. The medical field in particular, is growing more every year and the demand should remain high. I would seriously consider these types of companies.   High End Retail Sales:   These include auto sales and leasing, furniture stores, etc. They do not have "the glamour" of real estate or investments, but as with any sales position - if you are good, you WILL make money. There is a stigma with car salespeople. Perhaps it's those old commercials or parodies of the fast talking guy with the loud sports jacket, but look past that. Walk into a BMW, Lexus or Mercedes dealership and it is a totally different ballgame. You will see very well dressed employees serving walk-in high end customers looking to spend $70,000 on a car. There is no fast-talk at these companies, and the good sales people make a lot of money. If you have an interest in cars, especially luxury cars - give this career a try. You'll get a nice discount on a beautiful car yourself too!   Other sales jobs to consider or not consider:   Collections - Not a job for most. You are literally hounding people, who are struggling themselves to pay late or delinquent payments. Not for me.   Telecommunications - Working for long distance companies, internet providers or cell phone companies. These are just "call off the list with a script" sales jobs and would only be good for people looking to gain experience on the phone.   Conclusion   There are many other areas of sales. There are many jobs with attractive or unattractive features for the employee. The key to being successful in a sales career is your ability to connect with people. Being not only comfortable with the product or industry, but have a genuine interest in it. Customers will notice if you at least give the impression that you "love your job". Do not take a commission only position in the beginning. Building a client base while you are starving is almost impossible. Talk to the employees already with that company or friends that are in sales.   One thing is certain: 95% of you that make a career in sales will have several jobs before you are in the job you can retire with. Learn at each stop. You will be better as times goes on and if you have a talent for it, you can make a great living.   Good luck in your upcoming sales job! Article Source: