Small business owners save time and money with merchant services

Small businesses have the same problems larger companies do. They have to control inventory, prevent shrinkage, keep track of cash sales versus credit/debit card sales and know what profit margin they have. The process can be time consuming and expensive without technology.

One such store owner was particularly overwhelmed simply because her store is a gift and collectibles shop. Very few items on the shelves are ordered from a vendor and there is nothing constant about pricing of collectible items. She found an answer to her problems with a local bank’s merchant services.

Several local financial institutions offer different options in everything from setting up a business to taking credit and debit cards in a store or restaurant setting, to portable gizmos dealers can use with Smart phones to take those same cards if sales are being transacted in the field, such as those with booth space at any number of craft and art shows or fairs and fundraisers.

There are other options as well. A Point of Sale system may also include a program for scanning merchandise tags using bar codes, or create matching bar codes as the business owner enters inventory items. The codes will appear on the price tag. It not only helps with reordering, but differentiates the profit margin.

Some programs will also assist merchants deal with gift cards, offer promotional help and have programs to highlight individual businesses. Most banks can customize services to needs.

Point of Sale programs are also available for restaurants to track costs versus sales and help owners avoid shrinkage, overstocking freezers and refrigerators and take overhead expenses into account when retailing the menu.

There are more services and packages which interact with accounting software such as Quickbooks allowing business owners to access a profit and loss statement. There is even software and equipment for employee time cards and automated payroll and end-of-the-year W-2 Forms.

Several spokespersons from local banks said a lot depends on the type of business. USBank Assistant Manager Kara Espinosa said, “Even though this small branch at Smith’s is the only branch here, USBank has much larger branches.” She also mentioned that USBank owns its processing company, Elevon. “It’s the third largest processing service in the United States.”

The financial institution brings its merchant services representatives from Las Vegas, as do Meadows Bank and Nevada State Bank. Each offers the ability for merchants to accept card payments. They also offer free evaluations of the services any business owners currently have in use to see if switching providers can save them some money.

Bank of America offers all the technical bells and whistles, according to merchant services spokesperson Kit Cannon. “We can do it all. The technology is moving very quickly in the direction of using personal computer pads for transactions, and signing transaction slips with your finger instead of a stylus.

Cannon also said the reason for the high-tech applications is the company’s use of FirstData to process transactions. “We want to work with our clients to help meet their needs. My husband is a small business owner and I treat my clients as I would want him to be treated.”

Wells Fargo is another financial institution rolling out the most up-to-date and integrated technology available. Spokesman Nick Bruels said, “It’s easy to talk about the technology but we can demonstrate how well it works.”

As with other banks offering demonstrations of systems technology, Bruels said, “Seeing it in operation makes understanding the programs and applications easier to understand. There are thousands of apps available.”

Nevada State Bank’s Nakia Hammock said, “We do outsource our merchant services and we only offer credit and debit card processing, but there are no long-term contracts and you don’t have to have an account with us in order to use the card processing. We also offer an application that works with Smart phones for people who conduct business from remote locations.

Meadows Bank also outsources merchant services. Sue Bai said, “We do offer card processing through them and a free comparative analysis for customers using another bank to see if we can save them some money.”

Some financial institutions offer more than others through the outsource companies. 1st American National Bank was the only local financial institution that spokesperson Gus Villeda said, “… doesn’t offer merchant services.”

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