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Choosing the Right Merchant Processing Services for Your Spa or Salon

Chris Allen

Repeat customers are everything to hair salons and spas. Highly competitive businesses like these need the right mix of products, services and treatment packages to keep people coming back month after month, and customer convenience is paramount in all cases.

A good merchant processing service can offer many solutions that will strengthen your relationship with customers, but some of them can be very costly. It's important to sort through the options and find the right fit for your particular needs.

Point-of-sale hardware
Many service providers will set you up with the equipment to accept payment cards, including POS terminals, magnetic strip readers, PIN pads, touch screen monitors and anything else you might need. They may suggest you adopt certain spa point of sale or hair salon POS systems based on your specific needs. If you prefer, you can also buy the gear from a different source and just use your provider's merchant payment services.

Payment processing with merchant accounts
Merchant accounts are a financial bridge between the customer's bank or credit card account and your salon or spa's business account. When customers make purchases, the money is withdrawn from their accounts and deposited into a merchant account, where it sits until the funds are cleared. The money then transfers to your business's bank account.

Payment processing makes it easy for customers to pay with a credit or debit card, an absolute must in today's marketplace. When people can use payment cards, they are likely to spend more, particularly on impulse purchases. For instance, if they try out a new hair product during a routine styling, they can easily add the item to their purchase at checkout.

Data security
If you accept electronic payments, nothing is more important than keeping your customers' information safe. Your merchant services provider should be fully compliant with the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard, which includes rules and regulations aimed at reducing the risk of a costly data breach. Additionally, a good provider offers support for merchants in their own efforts to achieve and maintain compliance. If your business is not PCI compliant and a data breach occurs, your business could be subject to multiple penalties and fines, including the loss of credit card processing privileges (1).

Merchant processing services offer a wide range of options that can fulfill the needs of your salon or spa. All-inclusive solutions can provide you with everything from equipment and payment processing to data security. However, it pays to research your options and make sure you are comfortable with the fees that are involved. Your vendor should be clear about all transaction charges, monthly fees and other variables that can impact your business. Finding the right service provider takes some time and effort, but the advantages it brings to your business will make it worthwhile.

  1. Practical Ecommerce, PCI Complaince: Freqquently Asked Questions:  http://www.practicalecommerce.com/articles/1028-PCI-Compliance-Frequently-Asked-Questions

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