What is Credit Card Processing?

Credit Card Processing Solution Basics

From the smallest café to the largest financial institution, credit cards are an important part of every business. As a business owner, it’s important you understand how credit card processing works – and what your options are when shopping for payment providers.

While accepting cash payments is fundamental for many businesses, accepting credit cards is a key part of expanding.

According to a recent survey, 30 percent of all transactions were paid with cash, suggesting the majority of consumers rely1:

  • Directly on credit card processing (using traditional consumer plastic)
  • Indirectly on CC processing (via digital wallets on their smartphones)

Any business unable to process credit card payments risks missing out on a large percentage of potential sales.

The Basics of Credit Card Processing

Before a business can accept credit cards, it first needs to set up a merchant services account.

Merchant accounts are a specific type of bank account that allows businesses to accept payments by debit, credit, or gift card. Ultimately, a merchant account is an agreement between a retailer, a merchant bank, and a payment provider for the processing of credit and debit card transactions.

Once a retailer has a merchant account, the next step is to decide on a credit card payment processing solution that best fits the business.

How Credit Card Processing Works

Today there are more payment processing options than ever before; many of which are tailored for specific types of businesses.

For example, the online credit card processing solutions that an e-commerce merchant might explore are very different from what a brick-and-mortar retailer needs – and vice versa.

Ultimately, this is a plus as business owners can find the right payment solutions for their individual needs.

However, with so many options available it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important to pick a trustworthy partner that can guide you throughout the entire process – from selecting a POS system to learning how to process payments quickly and securely.

The following represents the minimum to get started. Though, depending on your specific payment environment, you may need to invest in additional tools and equipment

  1. Select a merchant account – this is a mandatory requirement for all CC processing
  2. Select a POS system – this is what allows brick-and-mortar merchants to capture in-person credit card payments
  3. Select a payment gateway – as an eCommerce merchant, payment gateways are necessary for online credit card processing

POS Systems That Tie to Credit Card Processing Solutions

At First Data, we specialize in a range of payment processing solutions to help you securely capture new sales in today's ever-changing marketplace - whether you want to accept:

  1. Credit and debit cards
  2. Mobile payments
  3. Online transactions

First Data’s extensive portfolio of innovative small business credit card processing and large merchant services is designed to help businesses get more value from every transaction.

Below are some of the most popular POS systems that integrate seamlessly with our PCI-compliant credit card payment processing solutions.

1. Clover Station

The Clover® Station is a POS solution that can manage an entire business all in one system, from accepting payments to managing employees to tracking inventory.

The Clover Station can take virtually all kinds of payments, including:

Additionally, the Clover Station is compatible with a variety of peripherals from barcode scanners to kitchen printers.

2. Clover Mini

The Clover Mini is the sleekest, most flexible payment terminal around. It is a simple and entirely self-contained credit card processing solution that allow you to accept more kinds of payments, including:

  • Magnetic stripe
  • EMV® chip
  • Contactless payments

As your business grows, the Clover Mini can easily scale up to full POS functionality, thanks to a range of specialized apps from the Clover App Market.

3. Clover Flex

The Clover Flex is an all-in-one device with the built-in capabilities to help you better serve customers, whether it's in-store or in the field.

The Clover Flex helps protect your customers, your business, and your reputation from fraud with built-in Clover Security.

4. Clover Go

Using your smartphone or tablet, the Clover Go allows you to securely and reliably accept both credit and debit cards on the go - including EMV chip cards and contactless payments such as:

  • Apple PayTM
  • Samsung Pay
  • Android PayTM

Clover Go is ready right out of the box. Just pair it with your iOS or Android device, and start accepting chip cards, contactless payments, and more.

Why Do You Need Credit Card Processing?

The simple act of accepting credit card payments can give a significant boost to your business. Research shows that sales can double (or even triple), with one survey finding that2:

  • 83 percent of small businesses that started accepting credit cards saw increased sales
  • 52 percent of businesses made at least $1,000 more a month
  • 18 percent made at least $20,000 more a month

The bottom line is that if you want your business grow, you need to accept credit and debit cards.

Explore Our Credit Card Processing Solutions Today

Learn how you can set up a credit card processing account with First Data, whether you run a:

1 “2018 Findings from the Diary of Consumer Payment Choice," Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, 15 November 2018

2 “Cash Isn’t Always King: Accepting Credit Cards Can Increase Your Business," Small Business Trends, 28 January 2019