First steps to taking card payments

Decisions, decisions…


There are so many decisions to make when it comes to introducing card payments in to your business, from contracts and payment options to which terminal machines to choose. However, if you understand how the process works you will feel confident and prepared.


Who’s who?


Every transaction you accept on a debit or credit card involves a number of organisations and they all receive some payment from the merchant (that’s you).


They are the card issuer (the bank or financial institution that provided the card to the consumer), the acquirer (institutions such as WorldPay or Global Payments that facilitate the authorisation, processing and settlement of the transaction) and finally, the card scheme (the brand on the card e.g Visa, MasterCard, American Express).


Getting things moving


The next step to think about is how you go about getting your terminal. This depends a lot on the size of your business and for a SME it’s normally easiest to go through an ‘introducer’. These companies work with thousands of businesses and have a greater buying power when it comes to securing a better rate than if you attempted to do it on your own. An extra benefit of doing it this way is they will also provide you with a telephone helpline service as well as sending out a local agent to help you face to face with the application.


How long will it take?


Most applications are processed in a few days which means you could be up and running within a week of signing your agreement. In order to get to this point, a few checks will be made such as, what does your business do? Do you sell face to face or over the internet? How are your finances? Do you file your tax returns on time? Assuming that’s all fine, you’ll be set up and ready to start taking card payments from your customers.


* Andy Macauley is chief operating officer of Handepay,



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