4 questions to ask when choosing a card payments provider

Sunday, January 1, 2023 4 minute read

4 minute read

Editor’s note: This article was updated on January 3rd, 2024 and originally published on 2nd January 2023

Increased consumer adoption of card payments continued through 2023. Reports and statistics from the Central Bank of Ireland highlighted the growing customer appetite for card payment experiences over the year.

And, Irish businesses have continued to adapt to meet this new demand by offering both cash and card payment options at the point of sale. However it’s important that business owners and managers choose the most appropriate card terminal solution for their business needs, along with a payment provider offering value, transparency and responsive customer support.

A quick phone call with the right questions to hand will help your business make an informed decision if you’re accepting card payments for the first time or ready to switch providers. Here’s what to ask.

1. What card payment solution best suits my business needs?

Your profession and business environment dictate the right type of card terminal for you. Whatever business you run, there is a card terminal option to complement your business setting. Be sure to check with the merchant services provider that the card terminal they offer matches your business needs.

Card terminal solutions

Choosing a payment provider with proven experience supporting Irish businesses across a range of sectors increases your chances of engaging with a knowledgeable agent who understands the demands of your sector. Whether you take payments at a stand-alone point of sale, on the move around a store, café or restaurant, or on the go, your card terminal solution will vary.

Terminal types

  • Fixed: Ideal for businesses with a fixed point of sale such as retail and jewellery stores
  • Portable: A great option if payments need to be taken around the premises, like bars, restaurants and cafés
  • Mobile:Perfect for businesses - like mobile food vendors, tradespeople and taxi drivers - where you’re on the move and GRPS technology keeps you payment-ready

Depending on your business, you may wish to offer your customers the ability to pay over the phone. Therefore, check to see if you can have your card terminal enabled for card-not-present transactions.

Security and compliance

All card terminals should be supported with full encryption and be fully compliant with PCI (a set of minimum security requirements to help handle payment information securely). This should come standard.

Accept all major card types

It’s also important to ensure that the card terminal can accept all major cards including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, UPI, JCB and Discover Global Network, and that it’s compliant with their scheme rules. With contactless and digital wallet payments on the rise, it’s important the card terminal you choose is compatible for these features.

2. What will I be charged for?

It’s important to understand the terms and conditions attached to the agreement you enter with a payment provider.

Look out for hidden fees

We pride ourselves on straightforward, transparent pricing and a no-hidden-fees approach. However, other providers may include additional costs on top of the charges for your card terminal and monthly transactions. Look out for joining and authentication fees, PCI charges and potential minimal monthly fees that may be added to the quoted price. Ask the provider what your monthly bill may look like with all additional fees taken into account.

Flexible payment plans

For new businesses or businesses new to accepting cards and unsure of what the value of their monthly card transactions will be, it can be costly to commit to inflexible contract terms that do not evolve as your business grows. Flat, pay-per-transaction percentage rates offered by some providers can become expensive as the volume of your card transactions increases over time.

Partnering with a provider that will adapt to your business needs is crucial. That’s why we offer a Ready Made bundle option with flexibility to change your plan as your business grows. Our Tailor Made option suits businesses making over €8000 in card transactions on a monthly basis.

3. Does the card payments provider guarantee next working day settlement?

You should ask how long it takes for your card transactions to be processed and lodged into your bank account. In some cases, this could take over three working days. Frequently, merchants cite cash flow and finance  as a business concern in our annual business insights surveys. Having a provider who, like BOIPA, guarantees next working day settlement regardless of who your bank account is with, ensures stable cash flow for your business. A merchant portal, like our Business Resource Centre, also gives you oversight over your transactions.

4. What customer support do they offer?

The level of service, support, and maintenance can vary depending on your merchant services provider. We offer in-person installation and maintenance support from our experienced field engineers as well as responsive customer support. However, not all providers offer this as standard. It’s important to query what a potential provider can offer your business as in-life support. A provider offering 24/7 support can be crucial in supporting you to concentrate on what you do best.

Get in touch and put these questions to the test

Ready to start taking card payments or thinking of switching? Get in touch with us today and quiz our team.

Recommended for you