You spend a lot of time, money, and effort getting customers into your store. By improving their checkout experience, you will elevate their overall satisfaction with your business, and ensure they keep coming back. Here are five ways to improve your checkout process:
Your checkout staff can leave a lasting impression on your customers, so it’s important to train them in the basics of good customer service, including:
A pleasant checkout experience is increasingly rare these days, so it is a good way to elevate your business above your competition.
A smooth checkout experience requires fast and fluid credit card transactions. If your point of sale system and software doesn’t meet the needs of your business, or isn’t intuitive to your employees, it can make transactions less efficient and slower. The result? A reduction in overall customer satisfaction.
Today’s shoppers expect that you will accept all major credit or debit cards. And an increasing number of consumers are using alternative wireless payment methods with services like Google Pay, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.
A loyalty program makes customers feel special each time they cash out. By tracking your customers’ purchases and eligibility for certain specials, promotions, and discounts, they won’t have to keep a bunch of paper receipts and coupons in their wallets. If you’re interested in implementing a customer loyalty program at your business, contact the MJM team.
Not all merchant services providers are created equal. The right payment partner will take the time to know you and your business before recommending the best point of sale system for your needs. Be sure to try before you buy. Don’t sign any contracts or buy a POS system without a hands-on demo.
Your point of sale system is critical to your checkout process and the overall success of your business. Contact us to learn how to select the right system for your needs.
When you cash out at the grocery store, your receipt clearly tells you what each of your purchases cost. So if the $6 watermelon you bought rang up as $8, you’d immediately know you were overcharged. Unfortunately, merchant credit card statements aren’t this straightforward. At best, most of them are confusing, and at worst, they frequently include “hidden fees.” As a business owner, it’s important to know the true cost of your credit card processing.
When reviewing your credit card statement it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the various charges—from interchange rates and POS equipment costs, to monthly minimums and transaction category fees. Don’t let these line items bog you down. Instead, take just a few minutes to calculate your effective rate, or the true cost of your credit card processing.
To determine your effective rate, pull out your most recent statement. Simply add up your total fees and divide that number by your total monthly card volume.
Here’s an example:
By dividing your total monthly fees by your total monthly volume, you will arrive at your effective rate:
Once you know how to calculate your effective rate, you won’t have to keep track of your transaction fees and monthly charges. It’s important to keep an eye on this number each month. Because the prime interest rate changes overtime, you will see some variation. However, if you see a drastic change in your effective rate, be sure to contact your merchant services provider.
If you’re looking for a new merchant credit card processing company, do your homework before signing on the dotted line. “All too often companies reel customers in with a low rate, and then add in a variety of hidden fees—causing the customer to pay significantly more than they expected,” says Joel Breton, president of MJM Associates. Since your credit card processing can have a major impact on your bottom line, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before signing a contract.
MJM Associates prides itself in providing local merchant credit card processing services. Because we live and work where you do, you can count on us for the highest level of honesty, integrity, service, and support. If you’re looking for a MSP or have questions about your current credit card processing system, contact us. We’re here to help your business succeed.
Choosing the best merchant services provider for your credit card processing can be overwhelming. Since this decision can have a major impact on your bottom line, it’s important to know what you’re getting into before signing a contract. To help you make the right decision for your business, here are five common mistakes to avoid when choosing a merchant services provider.
The biggest mistake you can make is failing to carefully review your contract. We understand that this type of contract can make even the most attentive reader’s eyes glaze over, but there’s a lot at stake. Take the time to go through your contract line by line, and ask questions about any area you don’t understand. If you’re not satisfied with the answers you’re getting, don’t sign anything!
“I’ve met many business owners who’ve rushed through this important decision, ending up with a contract that’s negatively affected their bottom line for years,” says Joel Breton, President of MJM Associates.
Many merchants make the mistake of choosing an MSP simply because it offered the lowest price. “Price is just a number. In our industry, processing rates are set by the card brands and issuing banks, so we have no control over it,” Breton explains. “You should choose an MSP who takes the time to learn about your products, services, and business model, so they can recommend a system that will be able to grow with the needs of your company,” he adds.
In addition, be sure to ask what kind of customer service and support you can expect to receive with your contract. All too often, sales reps disappear once you’ve signed on the dotted line. For the best customer service and support, work with a local merchant services provider. Because they live and work where you do, they’ll be more invested in your business.
When it comes to credit card processing offers, the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” usually applies. Be wary of any merchant services provider that offers an agreement that is significantly lower than its competitors.
Interchange rates. Monthly minimums. Transaction categories. POS equipment costs.
With so many contract details and variations among pricing strategies and program structures, many merchants sign contracts without knowing the true cost of their credit card processing.
“The best way to do this is to look at what I like to call the effective rate,” Breton explains. To find your effective rate, add up your all the fees associated with your contract, and divide that number by your average or estimated total volume. This will allow you to make an apples-to-apples comparison among competing MSPs.
A long-term contract is great—for your MSP. Don’t lock yourself into a long-term contract, especially one with steep termination fees. A reputable merchant services provider like MJM Associates builds its success on happy, returning customers, not by locking businesses up with the threat of a hefty contract cancellation fee.
There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the right merchant services provider for your business. Before selecting a new MSP or renewing an agreement with your current provider, carefully consider each of the points noted above. And above all, make sure your MSP has a thorough understanding of your business.
If you’re looking for a credit card processing provider, contact the knowledgeable professionals at MJM Associates. We understand that choosing an MSP can be little overwhelming. We’re here to explain your options and help you choose the one that works best for you and your business.
When you first open a business, it feels like a lot more money is going out than coming in. Any smart business owner is always looking to get the maximum ROI for every dollar spent. But some small businesses, in an attempt to keep costs down, don’t accept credit (and debit) cards. This can be one the biggest mistakes you’ll make as a business owner and we’ll tell you why.
According to Small Business Trends, accepting credit cards can significantly widen your customer base, boosting your sales. One survey, sponsored by Intuit, found that 83% of small businesses that accepted credit cards experienced an increase in sales. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed increased their sales by at least $1,000 more a month and 18% made at least $20,000 more a month.
Alexandra Lozano, attorney and author says that not accepting credit cards was one of the worst mistakes she made in running her business. “I did not accept credit cards for years. I feared that credit card processing fees would make me lose more money than I would make. I was wrong—so, so, so wrong. The first month that I started accepting credit cards, my income doubled. Within about six months of accepting credit cards, I began having six-figure months,” she says. “If I could go back in time, this is the first thing that I would change,” she adds.
Using a credit card is quicker, easier, and more convenient than paying with a check or cash. Because your customers are not limited to whatever cash they have on hand, credit cards also increase impulse purchases. And according to research from Psychology Today, paying with a credit card is a lot less “painful” for your customers than using cold hard cash.
“In a sense, the combination of credit (which itself is an abstract concept) and payment that comes at a much later point in time may act as a numbing balm for the pain that is normally associated with spending money,” explains Hal E. Hershfield Ph.D, Assistant Professor of Marketing at New York University’s Stern School of Business.
Because credit card sales are processed electronically, funds will be deposited into your account very quickly—typically within a day.
With secure credit card processing from a provider like MJM Associates, you’ll reduce the risk of fraudulent payments. One bad check can take a big slice out of your profits and waste valuable time tracking down the customer.
As a business owner, you know that time is money. By increasing your credit card sales, you’ll reduce the amount of staff time spent on counting and depositing cash. Because electronic credit and debit card sales provide a detailed report for each transaction, you’ll also spend less time on manual accounting and bookkeeping tasks.
Choosing a merchant services provider is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when starting your business. Do your research and choose a vendor that truly understands your unique business needs. And before you sign on the dotted line, make you know the true cost of your credit card processing. This decision can affect your bottom line for years to come.
If you’re looking for a credit card processing provider, contact the knowledgeable professionals at MJM Associates. We understand that the process of getting your business ready to accept credit and debit cards can be a little overwhelming. We’re here to explain your options and help you choose the one that works best for you and your business.
When you’ve been in the industry as long as we have, you’ve heard nearly every “horror story” there is about the less-than-honest merchant service provider sales reps out there. From receiving broken sales promises, to paying thousands of dollars to lease a $200 POS terminal, to experiencing hidden monthly service fees—many merchants just like you have been duped into paying too much for their credit card processing.
The problem with these merchant service provider sales “professionals” is that they only focus on getting the sale. As soon as they lock you in an agreement, they move onto the next sale—probably before the ink on your contract is dry. “So many mom and pop merchants get promised “x, y, and z” and end up getting only “x” because they were sold something that isn’t real,” explains Joel Breton, president of MJM Associates, a local merchant services provider.
Breton explains that once the merchant discovers these terms and tries to terminate their agreement, they often face severe cancelation penalties. “At this point, the salesperson is long gone because they only cared about their commision,” Breton notes.
If you’ve gotten a raw deal on your merchant credit card processing, you’re not alone. “The pricing structures used in the merchant credit card processing industry can be extremely complex and confusing to the average business owner,” Breton explains. He points out that some MSP companies even claim to offer free point of sale systems. “As we’ve discussed in previous blogs on the topic, nothing is free,” Breton adds.
It is important to partner with a MSP company that has an honest, ethical, and hands-on approach. You should feel comfortable asking questions and have an opportunity to try the system before buying it. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of the total cost of your credit card processing before you sign anything.
Unlike many of our competitors, whose focus is selling on price, MJM Associates uses a consultative selling strategy—identifying the specific needs of our customers and finding the best way to help them.
“The more we understand a potential business, its products and services, and how it operates, the better we can help them select a system that will meet and grow with their needs,” Breton points out. Breton says that after this discussion, he begins to review price with his clients. “Price is just a number, and in our industry, processing rates are set by the card brands and issuing banks so we have no control over it,” he points out. “We can always provide a savings compared to the current provider. It’s just a matter of how much above and beyond the added products and services we recommend,” he adds.
With most MSP companies, you’ll only see your representative during the course of buying your system. At MJM, our service reps stick around long after the sale, assisting clients with installation, training, and ongoing education. “We have also helped with PCI compliance, as many small merchants have difficulting answering the card networks’ PCI programs,” Breton says.
With a focus on customer service, MJM Associates has become a leading provider of merchant credit card programs in New England. “When customers have the education, training, and support they need, they are going to be more successful in using their system—and more likely to send referrals to us down the road,” Breton points out.
Looking for a new merchant services provider or have questions about your current credit card processing system? Contact the professionals at MJM Associates. We’re here to help.
For many business owners, cash sales may seem attractive because there’s no obvious cost for these transactions. Most businesses accept cash, or even prefer it—unaware of the costs of doing so. As the saying goes, nothing is free—not even cash sales. Take a look at six ways cash transactions cost you money:
“Banks can charge as much as $150 per month, per location for cash handling fees,” explains Joel Breton, President of MJM Associates, a local merchant service provider. Breton points out that there can be additional charges for deposits, adjustments, and change orders.
Employees are humans, who inevitably make mistakes. These mistakes—from inaccurate deposits, to incorrect register counts, to change errors—can cost a business a lot of money. “While accepting cash is probably a good idea for most businesses, it presents a far greater risk for internal and external theft than do debit cards, credit cards, or checks,” Breton notes. In fact, the 2015 U.S. Retail Fraud Survey found that cash theft is the second-largest contributor to store loss.
Counterfeit currency is a huge problem for businesses and consumers alike. According to businessinsider.com, over $220 billion is lost each year from the practice. And the Federal Reserve estimates that anywhere between $70 and $200 million may be circulating throughout our economy at any given time. However, in the case of fraudulent debit or credit transactions, the issuing card company—not the merchant—absorbs the loss.
If you accept cash, you need to count it at the end of each day. Depending upon the number of stores and registers you have, as well as your average daily cash sales, this can amount to a lot of staff time. Of course, there is a labor cost associated with the time it takes your employees to count this cash and deposit it.
Unlike credit and debit card transactions, cash sales leave no paper trail, and therefore, make accounting more complicated and expensive, and less accurate. Electronic credit and debit card sales provide a detailed report for each transaction, requiring less manual bookkeeping.
Some merchants may wait a few days before making cash deposits at their bank. And once the deposit is finally made, it could be one to two business days before their account is credited. “This delay in funds availability results in a loss of interest that could have been earned while the cash sat in a register or safe,” Breton explains. Funds from debit and credit card transactions are typically credited to the merchant’s account by the next business day.
To meet the wants and needs of a broad range of customers, most businesses must accept cash payments. However, you might want to think twice about encouraging cash sales because they may actually cost you more money in the long run.
MJM Associates makes it easy for your customers to pay for their orders, leading to more sales, and higher profits. We provide a variety of payment consoles for your location, as well as mobile credit card processing solutions for businesses on the go. To learn more about our merchant services programs, contact our friendly and professional team.
The temperatures are dropping, and with the change in weather, most businesses are thinking about how to make the most of the winter holiday season. A great way to bring in additional revenue (and new customers) is by offering gift cards. Why? Because consumers love gift cards! In fact, the average person purchases at least two gift cards during the holiday season. In this month’s blog, we share 5 ways gift cards benefit your business:
No marketing strategy has the power to increase cash flow like a gift card. Every time you sell one, you’re paid before any product or service is rendered.
Gift cards keep your business top-of-mind because they remind customers to visit you every time they see the card in their wallet. Think of a store gift card as a portable mini-billboard.
Industry research tells us that customers who pay with gift cards are 2.5 times more likely to pay full price for a given item—versus bargain hunting, comparison shopping, or waiting for the product to go on sale.
Consumers who shop with gift cards feel like they have “bonus” money to spend and are likely to spend more than the amount on their card. Those consumers who don’t deplete their cards on their first visit will return to your store, providing you with additional upsell opportunities.
People frequently give gift cards to encourage friends and family to try new businesses, products, and services. As a business owner, this provides you with an opportunity to convert these new shoppers into long-term customers.
Planning to order custom gift cards for the winter holiday season? MJM Associates can help. The deadline for ordering custom gift cards for Black Friday and Hanukkah is November 1. Get your Christmas gift card orders to us by December 1.
Gift cards have, and will continue to be one of the top requested holiday gifts. In fact, the total volume of gift cards annually sold is projected to reach $160 billion this year. The merchant services professionals at MJM Associates can help you tap into this booming market. Contact us today to learn more about our custom gift cards program.
As business owners, we’re always seeking ways to reduce operating costs and improve our bottom line. Cash discounting, which offsets the cost of credit and debit card processing, is one way to do this. How does it work, and is it right for your business?
With cash discounting, a business rewards customers who pay with cash or check by offering them a discounted price. Those customers who choose to use a credit or debit card for their purchases will pay a higher price in the form of an added service fee (typically 3 to 4% of the sale) to help reduce or eliminate the merchant’s processing fees.
For example, say a business is billed 3.84% for their processing fees. To completely eliminate the cost of processing for every credit or debit card sale, it would assess a 4% service fee on each customer purchase. As shown below, the service fee is high enough to cover the merchant’s processing fee:
$100 sale x 4% service fee = $4 (additional amount card customers pay)
$100 sale + $4 service fee = $104 (total customer purchase price)
$104 (total customer purchase price) x 3.84% processing rate = $3.9936 (merchant’s processing fee)
U.S. law and Visa and MasterCard rules permit cash discounts, but require businesses to post signs stating that a service fee will be added to purchases made via credit, debit, or prepaid cards. Contact the MJM Associates team for help with specific verbiage requirements.
To determine if cash discounting is right for your business, consider the following:
Your market: Are other businesses in your area using cash discounting? If so, your customers might expect it. If not, you might upset your customers and lose their patronage.
Your average ticket price: Cash discounting is better suited for merchants with higher average ticket prices. So coffee shops and other high volume, low ticket businesses are not great candidates for cash discounting.
Your customers: If most of your business comes from repeat customers, a cash discount program might cause you to lose them to nearby competitors who don’t charge service fees. However, if most of your customers make one-time purchases (e.g. tourists), a service fee may not have much of an impact on your sales.
If you’re interested in learning more about cash discounting, contact the friendly and helpful professionals at MJM Associates.
For 40 years, MJM Associates has provided local merchant credit card programs with competitive rates and outstanding service and support. From check and credit card processing and gift and loyalty cards, to point-of-sale (POS) equipment and wireless solutions, we provide the tools you need to you succeed in business. Contact us to learn more.
In today’s competitive global marketplace, one can purchase nearly any product or service from virtually anywhere with just a few clicks. Yet many business owners are realizing there are several benefits to doing business locally. If you’re looking for a merchant services provider, here are five very good reasons why you should work with a local business like MJM Associates.
When you do business with a local merchant services provider, you’ll deal with people who live and work where you do. Since they are invested in their community and work hard to establish relationships within it, you will get better customer service. “We’re in the business of building valuable, long-standing relationships,” says Joel Breton, president of MJM Associates, a merchant services and point of sale solutions provider serving New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts.
A local merchant services provider offers products and services that fit your specific business needs, versus limited, “one-size-fits-all” programs offered through a national sales company. This ensures you’ll receive the products and services that are tailored to the current and future needs of your business.
Did you know that small, local businesses are our nation’s largest employer? Small businesses account for the largest share of net new jobs generated each year, and locally based businesses provide some of the most stable employment opportunities in our community.
Locally owned businesses help keep more money in their community because they tend to spend more of their profits where they operate.
Because they are deeply invested in their communities, locally owned businesses provide up to 350% more financial support to non-profits than nationally-owned businesses. “At MJM Associates, we pride ourselves in supporting those organizations that make our community a better place to live and work,” says Breton.
If you’re looking for a merchant services provider, contact the knowledgeable professionals at MJM Associates. A local, family owned business, we offer competitive merchant credit card rates and outstanding service and support. To receive news on industry trends and product updates, join our mailing list.
Choosing the right merchant services provider and point of sale system for your credit card processing is one of the most important decisions you will make as a business owner. The right provider and POS system is going to make your job a lot easier and help you grow your business. However, because POS systems are a not a “one size fits all” solution, it’s important that your MSP thoroughly understands your specific needs and allows you to try before you buy.
Your credit card processing company should meet with you to get a solid understanding of your current and future needs. For example, if you are running a traditional retail business, do you plan to expand into internet sales? Do you have or anticipate having a mobile workforce that would benefit from wireless credit card processing?
“By spending time upfront with you and getting a detailed understanding of your business, we can recommend a tailored credit card processing program that best suits your needs and budget,” explains Joel Breton, president of MJM Associates, a local merchant services and point of sales solution provider. “We’re committed to doing everything we can to help our clients remain competitive and successful. By taking the time to thoroughly understand their business, we often identify opportunities they hadn’t even thought of,” he notes.
You wouldn’t buy a new car before driving it. Why would you invest in a point of sale system wouldn’t giving it a test run? MJM Associates is unique in that it provides on-site POS demos to all of its customers. “We like our clients to try working units so they can see how they would operate in their particular business environment,” Breton points out. “These units are set up to include the same menus and functionality you would use in your normal, day-to-day operations,” he adds.
A detailed POS demo is critical to selecting the right system for your business. “Without one, you run the risk of purchasing a system that will fail to grow with your business, or spending too much on functionality that you will never need,” Breton explains.
“MJM was great to work with. Not only are they a local, NH-based business, they provided us with a demo to show us how the system would solve our problems and improve our efficiency,” says Ian Dowling, Owner of Rek-Lis Brewing Company Bethlehem, NH. “Their knowledge of the systems and their ability to allow us to demo the system in person was a great approach,” he adds.
Most merchant services providers offer support–that’s pretty standard in the industry. But with the best MSP’s, support begins with the sale of a POS system. “At MJM, the same person who sold you your system is going to help you with installation, setup, and training. These local relationships are what set us apart in the industry,” Breton explains. This level of initial support ensures the client’s system is set up correctly, runs smoothly and efficiently from the start, and provides easy access to the reports they need. “While our robust systems are essentially ‘plug and play,’ ongoing support is always available 24/7,” he adds.
Your point of sale system is critical to the success of your business. Make sure you select the right system and the best local merchant services provider for your needs. At MJM Associates, we offer customer-centered solutions with outstanding service and support. Contact us to learn about the MJM difference!
If you’re in the market for a merchant services provider, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed by the number of choices you have. Many companies promise a lot, but come up short, especially in terms of customer service. And between equipment costs and processing fees, choosing the wrong company can cost you a lot. Today, many businesses are discovering the benefits of working with a local merchant services provider, including:
When it comes to customer service, you can’t beat having a local merchant services provider. “Anytime our customers have a question or need assistance, we’re just a phone call or visit away,” explains Joel Breton, president of MJM Associates, a merchant services and point of sale solutions provider serving New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. “Service is really the cornerstone of our business and we strive to create customers for life,” he adds.
Local merchant services providers like MJM Associates also work more closely with their customers and have a better understanding of their strategic goals and system requirements. “Because we’re a local provider, we’re with our clients every step of the way—from choosing the best solution for their business, to installing and testing their system, to providing ongoing training and support,” Breton says. MJM Associates plans to take this a step further by providing hands-on customer demos and training in its recently expanded office space.
Let’s face it. There are a lot of benefits to partnering with someone who lives and works in the same time zone as you. A local merchant services provider is going to have a much better understanding of your community, including its culture, demographics, and geography. And a company that’s vested in the your local business community is more likely to stand behind the products and services they sell you.
If you’re looking for a merchant services provider, contact the knowledgeable professionals at MJM Associates. A local, family-owned business, we offer competitive merchant credit card rates and outstanding service and support. To receive news on industry trends and product updates, join our mailing list.
The idea of getting something for free is always alluring. Even though in life, we have learned that in most cases, nothing is ever truly “free.” The same holds true for merchant credit card point of sale systems. There are companies offering “free” POS systems, but if you do a careful “apples to apples” comparison, they nearly always come up short.
The pricing structures used in the merchant credit card processing industry can be extremely complex and confusing to the average business owner. So, whether you are setting up a merchant credit card system for the first time or thinking about changing your services to another provider, be sure to read the fine print before signing any merchant agreement.
If a merchant credit card provider is offering you a free POS system, chances are, one or more of the following is happening:
“In the end, you’re going to spend much more than what your ‘free’ system would have cost you,” notes Joel Breton, president of MJM Associates, a merchant services company serving businesses in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont.
POS equipment costs. Interchange rates. Transaction categories. Monthly minimums. The details of most merchant credit card agreements are enough to make even the most attentive reader’s eyes glaze over.
And with such variation among pricing strategies and program structure, how do you really know the true cost of your credit card processing? “The best way is to look at what I like to call the effective rate,” Breton explains. To find your effective rate, look at a recent statement. Add up your total fees, divide that number by your total volume, and you get your effective rate.
“When comparing various credit card processing options, this is the number you want to look at. At the end of the day, nothing is free,” he adds.
A family-owned business, MJM Associates offers competitive merchant credit card rates and outstanding service and support. If you have questions about your credit card processing, or would like a pricing structure review to determine if you can reduce your monthly fees, contact us today. To receive news on industry trends and product updates, join our mailing list.
Electronic Payments Inc is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Walnut Creek, CA. SPS is a registered ISO/MSP of Chase Paymentech Solutions, LLC. SPS is a registered ISO/MSP of Fifth Third Bank, Cincinnati OH. SPS is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. Walnut Creek, CA. American Express® requires separate approval.