5 Easy Steps to Setting up Credit Card Processing for Your Business

Recently, I was watching a show on television about these two girls who’d started a cupcake business and had to turn down credit card payment from a customer. The first thought running through my head at that moment was – “people still do that?” and the second one was to somehow make the budding entrepreneurs understand how easy it is to set up credit card processing for their fledgling business.

And then I read this article on Forbes.com that revealed 55% of small businesses in the country do not accept credit cards. Huh?

Plastic has become the favored currency of people all over the world. Not only is it more convenient (remember the time when your wallet would make a big bulge in your pocket from all the dollar bills stuffed inside?), but it also provides a measure of security.

According to this interesting infographic from Community Merchants U.S.A., 69% of consumers in the age group of 18-34 and 58% consumers aged 35-44 admitted they only shop at businesses that take multiple forms of payment. Imagine the amount of business you’re losing. In fact, I’ll tell you how much.

According to this press release by financial software firm Intuit, each business that does not accept plastic payment misses out on roughly $7,000 in annual sales translating into a collective revenue loss of over $100 billion. Food for thought? I think so!

It’s as easy as 1 2 3… 

Most small businesses don’t accept credit cards due to the hefty fee associated with processing the payment. But just think about the additional revenue you’ll be generating if your business started accepting plastic payment and the numbers will begin to look a lot more attractive. 

If you’re worried about the complexity it will add to your checkout process, don’t be. Modern technology has made it relatively simple and straightforward to set up credit card processing. Here’s what you need to do:

1. Account for it:There’s no denying the fact that it’s not cheap to use a credit card processing system even though it’s become a lot more affordable than before. You need to ensure that your small business has the budget for it. The possibility that you may not be able to attract immediate business after setting up a credit card processing system is quite real, so make sure you can take the hit. 

2. Assess your needs: As a small business, it’s not necessary that you’ll need to process all types of credit card payments. The needs of a brick-and-mortar only store are very different from that of an exclusively e-commerce business.  The former does not need services like payment gateway, shopping cart, and SSL encryption, while the latter doesn’t have to set up any point-of-sale or telephonic transaction system.

3. Compare merchants:Irrespective of your business model, you will need to set up a merchant account to be able to accept credit card payments.A merchant account is an intermediary account where the money released from a customer’s card-issuing bank sits before flowing into your business account. Several financial institutions including banks and trade associations as well as many third-party companies like creditcardprocessing.com offer merchant accounts. Like with everything else, it’s possible to compare merchant accounts/credit card processors online and find the one that best fits your needs.

4. Understand the fee structure: There’s no uniformity in the fee structure across merchants. Some have a one-time setup fee; others may charge on a monthly, yearly or per-transaction basis; still others take a percentage cut from each transaction. You need to make sure that you’re absolutely clear about the fee structure and other terms of agreement between you and your merchant.

5. Set up the system:Once you’ve signed the agreement, set up your credit card processing system using your preferred equipment. Your options include a credit card terminal, dedicated phone lines, or a desktop computer. Hand-held credit card terminals are available for delivery-oriented or mobile businesses (think florists and cab services). These days, you can also use a smart phone to process credit card payments.

Lo and behold, your credit card processing set up is complete. Easy isn’t it? There’s nothing wrong with starting small. But to be able to scale, you need to keep up with the times and acknowledge that plastic is the new king!

Author Bio: Jordan is a 28 year old entrepreneur and a former Business Developer. With an insatiable appetite for the good life, keeps himself current on topics related to technology, gaming and his first love, food. He shares his views in his blog posts hoping to provide valuable information to entrepreneurs like himself who wish to establish a successful business.

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Tips Of Money Management For College Students

Entering college is an exciting venture for many students. Entering a college or university after leaving high school is a big step and it is often the first time many young students venture out from the safety and warmth of their parents homes and taste the freedom of the real world. There are many different tasks that need to be juggled in order for a student’s college experience to be successful. Studying, attending classes, networking, maintaining finances are certain things that a college student must tackle. College is also synonymous with young people assuming a greater responsibility for managing their own money away from the reliable security of parent’s wallet. With easy access to credit cards and so many things to spend money on, many students end up owing even more. One specific area where many college students have difficulty is learning to budget effectively. A little planning can make a big difference. College can be expensive, but learning the basics when it comes to money management means you don’t have to graduate with massive debt.

 Here are some steps at how college students can more effectively manage their money while furthering their education.

Create a budget

Creating a budget is incredibly important. List monthly income sources, including wages and parental allowances, savings and then write down estimated expenses for the month. You should take costs such as school supplies, personal care items, food outside your meal plan and laundry into account. You can also try to manage your budget and track expenses using an online personal finance management tool which can help you to easily create and stick to a budget.

Pay on time and check your balance 

Every student should make a habit of paying their bills on time to avoid wasting money on late fees. Sign up to save time and stamps if your bank offers online bill pay. You also need to keep up with your spending by checking your account balance on your pc or mobile device regularly. Look at the available balance regularly and subtract any checks you recently wrote to figure out how much money you have.

Use credit cards properly 

College is a great time to start building credit which is crucial for purchasing a vehicle, leasing an apartment, and even landing a job post-graduation. But it’s very easy for many to amass a large amount of debt. It’s important to understand the difference between credit building and overextending.

Have knowledge on loans and financial aid 

College graduates tend to have a difficult time balancing ever-growing student loan payments against declining wages. You should have a clear knowledge what the exact size of your student loan debt will be upon graduation. This will help you to come up with a plan for how you will pay it back.

Use your student discount 

Find out if there’s a student discount before you buy something you need. You can search online for student discount and the item you want. By this you can save money on everything from movie tickets to a new computer. You can also save in buying textbooks by purchasing them online.

The Importance of a Clean Office in the Competitive Business World of Reading

It may seem like a small thing, and possibly of little significance to you as an employer; but a clean office can have a real bearing on your staff and your business as a whole, for many different reasons. A clean office will benefit your employees, your clients and therefore your business; so it is important to ensure that you have measures in place to keep your space sparkling and your desk dust free. Reading has a number of offices that provide a free cleaning service and some that require you to find your own cleaning company; but which is the best way to do it and why is it so important?

A Happy Employee is a Productive Employee 

Have you ever tried to do your work in a messy office or home? It is almost impossible. Your mind will wander to the mess and cleaning it up and you will not be able to concentrate. You will lose vital pieces of information under your piles of paperwork and it will become chaos. As an employee, having a tidy desk can help to clear your mind and help you to focus on the task at hand. It could reduce your stress levels and allow you to be a happier and more content employee; and we all know happy employees are productive employees. In a business world as competitive as Reading, it is important to maintain a professionalism by keeping a clean office. Reading has become increasingly popular for young employees due to the major university situated in the town.

Make A Good Impression On Your Clients 

Reading is a hub for business with big name companies close by, so you may have clients popping in regularly. If you have clients visiting your office frequently it is more important than ever to make sure that your office is clean and tidy. As a client, if you were to go to a meeting in a hectic, chaotic and messy office it would give the impression that business was carried out in the same way. Showing your client that you have an organised way of running your business will give them confidence in you and may even secure you the contract you’ve been hoping. And in the competitive business world of Reading you can’t afford to lose customers.

Keeping Your Office Clean 

If you want to start the day right then try to clean the office the night before. Employees do not want to be tidying up first thing in the morning.  Arriving at a desk that is clear of clutter will ensure they start the day with a clear mind, and a smile on their faces.

When it comes to cleanliness it is important that it is maintained throughout the building, not just around the desks. If you do not have a cleaner in your building contract, but you do not want to have to scrub the toilets and vacuum the reception area yourself then you can hire one. They will make sure that all areas are clean and in great shape for the week.

Choosing a Low Maintenance Office 

The best way to reduce the time it would take you to clean or the cost of a cleaner is to choose a low maintenance office building. A low maintenance office may be open plan, with easy clean carpets that are stain resistant. It may also have a maintained reception area, so you have one less thing to worry about. Newly built offices such as those on Reading Business Park is designed with this in mind and will therefore be easier to maintain, and some will even have maintenance staff of their own. Reading is a smart, clean town, make sure your office space reflects this attention to detail.

So do your research to ensure you find an office that is already maintained or easy to clean so that you can keep your employees and clients happy and your business successful and growing.

Increase Profit And Use Appropriate Methodologies In Forex Trading

The right approach and effective strategies of trading can prove very beneficial in forex. With good implementation and strong analysis, you will be able to trade successfully. It is very important to understand personal goals and weigh them against the possibilities that are available in the market. You can opt for markets in which you can trade comfortable. If you have knowledge about the oil industry, you can trade oil stocks. In order to make a considerable profit through forex trading, both patience and time are essential. Decide about the time that you can spare for the trade if you are not a professional trader.

Different methodologies
It is very important the right methodology is adopted while trading.

  • • Forex day trading is one of the strategies that traders can use. Technical indicators play an important role on day trading. It is an ideal option for traders who love to a larger portion of their time in front of computer screens.
  • • If you prefer to analyze currency pairs over days and weeks, you can take part in big picture forex trading. You can set bigger targets as you do not have to depend on pips.
  • • In automated forex trading, you can trade by installing metatraders.

Strategize and win
As you take part in forex trading, you need to pay heed to certain important guidelines. You can gain an insight into the trade through the following points:

  • • It is very essential that you judge the performance of forex software before you buy it.
  • • You should be able to make use of stoplosses effectively.
  • • Usage of a trading log will help you to understand the patterns of trade.
  • • A pre-defined trade plan can be the secret to large wins in trade.
  • • Make sure that you have adequate funds for forex trade.
  • • Keep a sharp eye on the daily charts.
  • Best binary options brokers for 2014 can be consulted to gain insight into trading.

Important tips on forex trade
As a forex trader, you must know how to handle the business efficiently. Apart from setting goals you must know how to adopt the right approach. It is important to ensure that you enjoy compatibility with the broker. Select a broker who has received good reviews. Analyzing larger timeframe can help you to take right decisions. To understand the time of entry and exit it is important to understand the trends in the short-time frame.

Good traders calculate their profits and compare them to the losses that have been incurred. Expectancy calculation is an important feature of forex trading. Optimism will help you to face the most difficult situations. You can allot a perfect time to study charts during weekends. Forex trading is one of the most liquid financial markets. Volatility in the market ensures that traders can make the best of the exchange rate fluctuations. For forex trade, it is essential that you understand the correlation between market activity and liquidity. A larger number of people are choosing to undertake forex trading in the recent times.

In forex trade middlemen are not required. You can trade directly with the market and handle currency pairs. In minimum execution time, the trade can be done. Intermediaries do not have to intervene. The transactions in forex trading are very low. The flexible schedule allows you to trade at your convenience. It is ideal for those who want to trade on a part-time basis. As the forex market is very huge a single individual cannot control the market price. As the size of the market is very huge, it is extremely liquid. You can easily set a platform and close trade after the profit level has been reached.

Author Bio: Lee is a forex trader who has been trading forex for last three years. Best binary option brokers for 2014 can be the perfect guide for trading.

Home Loans in the UK: Why Experts Say It's a Great Time to Remortgage

It’s expected that 14 per cent of people will be getting a new home this year. If you’ve been sitting on the fence about refinancing your mortgage, now might be a good time to hop off. For years, the loan market in the UK has been a bit shaky. While a faltering economy doesn’t help matters, new government regulations and an opening up of the mortgage market might help you get the type of loan you need and take some of the stress off your finances. Here are a few other reasons why remortgaging might be a good idea now.

You Want Lower Payments

Lower monthly payments are a big reason why people remortgage their home. If you have a relatively high interest rate right now, or your loan recently switched to the variable rate, you might be surprised by the jump in your payments. Refinancing will likely lower the monthly bill.

The Funding for Lending Scheme resulted in banks receiving £80bn in funding. This, in turn, drove interest rates down. Now, banks are flush with cash – cash you can take advantage of.

You Want To Hedge Against Higher Interest Rates

Hedging against higher rates is a good idea. Today, the BOE is committed to keeping rates low, but this is only because it expects low rates to help boost the economy. That might change within a year or two. You’ll want to have a low rate locked in so that you don’t end up on the wrong side of rising variable rates.

In the UK, you have a choice between fixed and variable rate loans. The fixed rate carries a fixed interest rate for the first 2, 3, 5, or even 10 years. Ideally, you’ll get a 10-year fixed note. This means you have 10 years of fixed mortgage payments, regardless of what the economy is doing. The other option is the variable loan.

Variable loans have moving interest rates that change from month to month. This means there’s no certainty in your payment. If you want to hedge against higher future rates, you want the fixed rate.

You Want Cash

One of the forgotten benefits of a remortgage is the cash-out feature. This is a feature on many UK loans that allows you to get cash back from the refinance. How this works is really simple. First, you refinance your home – this immediately lowers the interest rate and payment. But, you can extend the loan to include some or all of your equity remaining in the house.

Why would you want to do this? Suppose you see an investment opportunity you want to take advantage of. With a cash-out refinance, you can take advantage of that investment opportunity. Just keep in mind that any equity on top of the original loan will add to your monthly repayment amount.

How To Remortgage

Remortgaging is easy. If you think it might help you, start by shopping around with several banks. Next, shop around with a broker. Often times, you’ll find that a broker will help you negotiate the rate below the listed or posted rate by the bank.

Make sure you ask about all of the fees on top of the basic interest rate. Sometimes, these can make a substantial difference in the total cost of the loan.

Charlotte Connor has been in finance for several years. She knows how important information is for the average consumer to make smart money decisions.

How to Use Short-term Lending Responsibly

According to the Bank of England, unsecured lending among UK consumers has sky-rocketed during the last twelve months. Including overdrafts, personal loans and credit cards, cumulative consumer debt rose by a staggering £864 million alone during 2013, which represented the strongest level of growth in April 2008. This has been a key driver of the recent economic recovery in the UK, as consumer confidence has soared and inspired expansion in the retail, manufacturing and residential real estate markets.

How to Use Short-term Lending in a Responsible Manner

With economists concerned that the economic recovery in the UK is therefore being fuelled by debt and heavy borrowing, there is an onus on consumers to become more responsible when managing their finances. More specifically, they must look to use short-term lending responsibly and in line with their exact personal circumstances: –

  • 1.       Calculate the Full Cost of your Loan

If you approach a short-term or payday loan company, your first step should be to calculate the true cost of borrowing. This not only includes the principle amount borrowed, but also the cumulative amount due once you have factored in interest rates and the length of the agreement. This will provide an overview of the amount required for repayment each in month, which in turn enables you to estimate whether this is within your existing financial means. If it is not, then the proposed loan agreement is not right for you.

  • 2.       Understand the Purpose of Short-term Lending and your Need for a Loan

While payday loans have come under fire from public bodies, they can be extremely effective if they are used in a responsible manner. More specifically, consumers should only ever consider the merits of short-term lending in the event that they need to cover an unexpected cost or repair, as this demands a one-off sum of cash that can be easily repaid over time. It should never be used to support or sustain an existing lifestyle, as this will ultimately trigger cycle of long-term debt that builds over a sustained period of time.

  • 3.       Understand the Difference between Secured and Unsecured Loans

Some people have a perception of lending that is too simplistic, especially when it comes to the distinction between secured and unsecured loans. While short-term lending is predominantly considered to be unsecured, for example, home-owner loans from 1st Stop buck this trend and are accessible to applicants with less than ideal credit histories. In fact, the rising prominence of short-term lending has blurred the boundaries between secured and unsecured loans, meaning that it is your responsibility as an applicant to gather information before making an informed decision.

Can Unemployed People Get Quick Cash Loans?

The financial strain of unemployment is enough to deal with. There are options available to obtain funds even when there is little or no income coming into the home. The information below will help to understand how to get quick cash for unemployed people. In some cases, these options are the best opportunity available to keep a roof over your head.

Visit a Pawn Shop

Visiting a pawn shop may just be the easiest option for unemployed persons to obtain cash quickly. Consumers can take items of value to a pawn shop and obtain cash on a loan, or pawn, for a period of 90 – 120 days. It is important to understand that the amount paid for items is not what the value will be when the items are pawned. A pawn shop can only loan for the amount the item is actually worth. This means that a 14k diamond ring purchased for $2,000 may only be able to obtain a loan for $300, as an example. If the loan goes unpaid, the items are lost.

Use a Co-Signer

In some cases, a personal loan may be able to be obtained with the use of a co-signer. This will help you to get the funds needed but makes the co-signer responsible for repayment if you default on the loan terms. Of course, this can turn ugly quickly so it is important to ensure that you can repay the amount being borrowed. The loan amount is based upon credit and the ability to repay the loan.

Borrow Against Life Insurance

Most life insurance policies offer policy holders the ability to borrow against the coverage. This does have to be repaid but the terms are much more lenient. This does temporarily reduce the value of the insurance policy until the borrowed amount is paid back in full. This is an interest bearing type of loan which means that you will repay more than what was borrowed.

Even unemployed persons have the ability to obtain loans to take care of household expenses and personal needs. In some cases, a few hoops may have to be jumped through but if you have good credit, collateral and a strong co-signer, obtaining a loan should not be a problem. Pawn shops are a good option if you have items that you can go without for a period of time or can stand to lose should you be unable to repay the loan given.

Linking Your Customers To Convenience

Online purchases are slowly outnumbering local storefront sales simply because of pure convenience. Customers can sit comfortably at home while searching the world for the perfect gift or personal item. There is no need to drive to a store, walk around aisle after aisle and stand in a long line. Your website offers this product purchasing convenience, but it can backfire if your credit card processing strategy is slow or unsecured. A safe credit card processing gateway is critical for continued customer satisfaction.

Credit Card Convenience

A secured gateway allows your website to accept all credit cards, under your discretion. Ideally, you want to accept almost all card providers to increase your customer base. Denying a credit card based on the provider forces customers to look for other vendors, effectively reducing sales. A secured gateway makes it easier to accept many providers with a seamless flow during transactions.

The Security Side

Merchant accounts are complex entities that need to appear simple for customer satisfaction. Specialized credit card processing companies offer gateways that are highly secure for safe transactions. Your customer places items in their virtual shopping cart, for example, and clicks the “Checkout” button. Your credit card gateway security is activated, taking the customer to a secure page to fill out critical financial and shipping information. At this point during the transaction, your system is vulnerable to hackers without a strong software security team. The gateway company keeps all of your transactions safe, creating a trusting relationship between you and your customers.

Transparency For Everyone

The moment the transaction is sent for credit card approval, the customer’s information is processed in a streamlined process. The monetary amount is held by the merchant, allowing the processing system to provide a transfer receipt for both the vendor and customer. The credit card approval number and amount is clear for both parties to see, providing a transparent transaction for simple analysis. There is no question that the money is being transferred to the right entity.

Any item returns are easily processed through the merchant account, if necessary, making customers feel comfortable about purchasing products through your website. Because approval codes and returns are so simple, credit cards will flow through your website without any data slowing that typically deters customer visits.

This post was written by Charge.com Payment Solutions, Inc., a trusted provider of credit card processing solutions for businesses. Charge.com provides business essentials such as online credit card processing for small to medium sized businesses. For more information please visit the website.