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There's no getting away from the fact that the commercial world is more competitive today than ever before.

As well as offering great products or services at affordable prices, the multitude of ways to market your business that are available to all means that every small potential advantage needs to be taken into account in order to be successful.

Whether your trade is done on a face-to-face basis with customers or clients, or if you rely on the ever-expanding online sales option, being able to take payments quickly and easily is a baseline essential process that must be in place.

Merchant services

The term “merchant services” relates to the way in which a business accepts credit or debit card payments. This covers all types of transactions, whether they are in person using chip and PIN verification technology, over the phone (called a “cardholder not present” or CNP transaction) or using e-commerce to take an online payment.

These services used to be controlled by major banks in the UK but in recent years things have changed and today businesses of all sizes can use card facilities provided through third parties called “Independent Sales Organisations”.

New solutions

These ISO companies allow a business to choose a merchant services facility based on their own needs and requirements. Leading players in the industry such as Payzone Cards offer a range of affordable solutions which take into account that when it comes to accepting card payments there is no single “one size fits all” answer.

Although the opening up of the market to today's extent is a fairly recent thing, in fact companies such as Payzone have been operating in the UK since the early 80’s and that particular outfit pioneered the first ATM machines.

Technology

The very latest card acceptance technology includes a range of options from counter top terminals to state-of-the-art mobile devices using GPRS. With total card payments in the UK in the year to September 2012 totalling £4.8 billion pounds, there is no denying that the ability to accept payment by plastic is an essential part of any modern client or customer facing business.

In fact, the same year's figures revealed that annual growth rates for spending on cards was running at 4.1%, with debit card purchases increasing by 5%.

A cashless economy may still yet be some way off but with even more changes already beginning, such as payments using NFC enabled Smartphone, the need to stay on top of developments is an essential part of any successful business operations planning.


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