3 Essentials to Acquiring a Restaurant Merchant Account

Restaurant Merchant Account - Credit Card ProcessingIf you own or manage a restaurant, you know that there’s much more to a successful business than providing great-tasting food. Today’s customers also expect to experience high-quality service that includes a fast, simple payment process provided by a restaurant merchant account provider. No one likes standing in a long check-out line while an employee is trying to manage multiple steps in a transaction or waiting around at a table after your meal while the waiter is figuring out how to apply your gift certificate.

Efficient service keeps diners coming back time and time again.

To develop a strong customer base, you’ll need to acquire easy-to-use restaurant merchant account software and equipment that allows your staff to focus more on the food and your customers…and less on credit card payment processing. There are three essentials to processing credit cards as a restaurant…

  1. Avoid three-tier pricing.
    Every week, we hear from restaurant owners who have been suckered into “one flat rate” when they were actually being sold “three-tier pricing.” When shopping for a merchant account, look for words like Qual, Mid-Qual, Non-Qual, Surcharge, Discount Rate, One Flat Rate, or Three Tier Pricing. If you see any of those words on the application or agreement, just say NO! Three-tier pricing is the worst fee structure that a restaurant could agree to when working with a credit card processing company. You’ll want to look for a merchant account provider that will pass along the Interchange Rate plus little or no mark-up.
  2. Ensure that you are PCI compliant.
    If you haven’t experienced it firsthand, you’ve probably heard of a fellow restaurant owner experiencing fraud at some point in time. Because the potential for theft is higher than ever before, PCI Complianceis not only critical…but mandatory. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is an information security standard for organizations that handle cardholder information for the major debit, credit, prepaid, e-purse, ATM, and POS cards. Defined by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council, the standard was created to increase controls around cardholder data to reduce credit card fraud via its exposure.
    PCI DSS requirements state that you must select an approved scan vendor to scan any public IP address that connects to or can indirectly connect to the cardholder data environment. The cardholder data environment is that part of a network that possesses cardholder data or sensitive authentication data, including network components, servers and applications. For most merchants, this means your website and your office Internet connection. However, more devices may need to be scanned as well. This is not something that is optional or to be taken lightly! In fact, proof of PCI compliance is required of all merchants who accept credit cards. Fines and deadlines for non-compliance vary depending on the acquiring bank and credit card companies you accept.
  3. Coordinate your front-end POS equipment with back-end accounting programs.
    To ensure that your customers experience efficient service, you’ll want everything working smoothly between your Point of Sale systems and your accounting programs, such as Aldelo, Aloha, Squirel, POS Value Exchange or Micros. You need a restaurant merchant account provider that will work closely with you to make sure your POS equipment integrates seamlessly and eliminates the need for double data entry and wasted time by your staff members.

There’s nothing worse than thinking that you’re agreeing to one thing and realizing that you’ve been sold something completely different. That’s why we strongly recommend that restaurant owners and managers do the homework needed in order to acquire a restaurant merchant account that’s customized to your unique needs. As always, we’re available to answer any questions and protect you from being overcharged.