B2B Payment Services: Commerce, Credit Cards and Merchant Accounts

Looking for an awesome way to conduct business with other businesses securely and conveniently? Who isn’t? Here’s how to get the job done with little hassle and maximum safety.

Collect Money Upfront
Collecting money upfront, rather than invoicing your client, saves you time and money. When you wait for cheques, you’re delayed in receiving payment. This isn’t always a big deal, but it can be if you need to provide services before you have any assurance that payments will clear.  Collecting money upfront speeds up transaction and batch processing. With invoicing, and cheques, you’re waiting many days, possibly weeks, for the money to clear. When you process transactions upfront, you’re getting paid within a couple of days.

Accept Mobile Payments
Using a website, like www.merchantservicesuk.co.uk, is a great way to find deals on merchant services providers. Take the time to comb through various options, pricing structures, and any contracts you might have to sign.  In general, you’ll find pricing follows two basic formats:

  • Monthly fee structure and;
  • No monthly fee structure

The monthly fee structure is usually cheaper on a per-transaction basis, but may be more expensive overall if your transaction volume is low or intermittent because you must pay a monthly fee. Without paying monthly fees, you may be charged a higher per transaction fee, but it might be worth it for you if your transaction volume is low or intermittent. When doing business with other businesses, it might be a good idea to start out without a merchant services contract, no monthly fee, and pay more in transaction costs just to see whether cashless or cheque-less payments will work for you.

Figuring Out How Much Data You Need To Collect
Level 2 and level 3 payment processing means you’re collecting additional information about the customer you’re doing business with. Normally, you wouldn’t collect this information from a consumer. But, businesses and governments are different. Corporate purchases, using corporate credit card data, requires that you collect additional information if you want lower processing rates. PCI level 3 processing also gives you the same level of security you’re used to with basic business-to-consumer transactions. The main benefit is that, when you do business with governments or businesses, you can cut your transaction costs by up to 30 or 40 per cent.

Merchants who offer level 3 processing are getting these discounts for two reasons:
The merchant services provider is able to better authenticate and identify the entity paying and
The transaction size is larger from that verified account.
To qualify for level 3 processing, you need a specific line item data in your transaction process, like the business’s name, address, invoice number, tax amount, item description, quantity, unit of measure, freight amount, commodity and product codes.

This additional information makes it easier for governments and corporations to track spending.
It also reduces the risk of fraudulent transactions because an entity willing to give this
information is most likely the cardholders, not a criminal. However, standard card terminals don’t support level 3 processing. You need additional hardware, or upgraded hardware for this.

Alexander Browne has spent the last decade keeping clients up to speed with technology and
cyber-security issues. He enjoys the chance to share his insights with an online audience and
writes for a number of tech-orientated websites.

This guest post complies with my Disclosure Policy.

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