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September 22, 2022

6 Signs it’s Time to Switch Payment Processing Vendors

Jarett Theberge

Written by:

Jarett Theberge

6 Signs it’s Time to Switch Payment Processing Vendors

As a business owner who accepts credit card payments, your staff needs to be comfortable with the system you currently use to process transactions. When a solution ceases to be fast, easy, and painless, it might be time to switch your approach or find a new partner. 


Here at Electronic Merchant Systems (EMS), we know all the pain points of inefficient payment processing systems. We’ve spent over 30 years helping businesses prevent and avoid them.


Below, we’ll explore six signs indicating it’s time to switch payment processing vendors.




  1. Slow Checkouts at POS Terminals
  2. Outdated POS Terminals
  3. Limited Payment Processing Technologies
  4. Inefficient Data Tracking and Reporting
  5. Undisclosed Payment Processing Fees
  6. Issues with Payment Processing Support
  7. What’s Next?


1. Slow Checkouts at POS Terminals

If your business uses point-of-sale (POS) terminals to take payments and customers always wait in long lines to make payments, it’s probably time to find a new processing vendor.


Slow checkouts don't just affect customers.


Staff who spend most of their time troubleshooting payment processing have less time to perform other tasks. Conversely, saving time spent in checkout with mobile processing can ensure customers are more satisfied, and employees have more time for other responsibilities.


It’s one thing for customers to re-enter their information at your POS terminal when the system is slow. It’s a bigger issue if loyal customers consistently experience the same slow checkouts.


Customers want to make purchases quickly without waiting too long in line. A fast and easy checkout helps all parties, solidifying your reputation and encouraging loyalty—a win-win.


2. Outdated POS Terminals

What’s one reason your checkouts might be delayed? Outdated terminals. If your current POS runs on older systems, consider upgrading to a newer one with a different processing vendor.


With outdated POS systems, you risk exposing your customers’ sensitive data to security issues and potential data breaches. But that’s not the only reason you should stick to newer terminals:


  • Old POS terminals might not comply with applicable regulations (like PCI DSS).


  • Older hardware might lose physical functionality or connectivity to newer technology.


  • Old hardware and software don’t have the same capabilities as newer terminals.


Legacy POS terminals are usually not energy efficient and can be difficult for the average employee—or customer—to navigate. Plus, they can be expensive to service or repair.


A new payment processing vendor can alleviate these issues with updated POS technology.


3. Limited Payment Processing Technologies

If you can’t accommodate different processing that your customers want, like paying through an app with their phone, that’s a bad sign. It might be time for a change if you can’t use methods that would speed up payments or ensure security, like near-field communication (NFC) solutions.


Being stuck with a single payment method might not seem important, but it is.


On a broader level, switching vendors might make sense if your business can only take card payments either physically or digitally but not both or if one is much harder than the other.


Leveraging modern technologies will help you cater to a broader variety of customers.


Spotlight: Contactless Payment Technology

Contactless payments use NFC technology that allows customers to hold their card or mobile device close to a payment terminal without physically inserting the credit or debit card. NFC is popular for data security, speedy checkouts, and payment convenience for customers.


The market for contactless is growing; it’s expected to reach over half a trillion users by 2026.


But why? Here’s an example to illustrate the importance of contactless payments:


Imagine a customer enters your store, fills a cart with items, and then gets in line ready to pay. Once all the goods are rung up, they realize they forgot their credit card back at home. And, unfortunately, your store doesn’t offer contactless payments.


So, what does this mean?


It means the customer probably isn’t going to buy those items. They’ll leave unsatisfied, and you’ll need to make sure staff return the items to their shelves in addition to their other tasks.


In other words, you lost business with limited channels—and it may be time for a new vendor.


4. Inefficient Data Tracking and Reporting 

Businesses run on sound decision-making, which is powered by data. If your POS system doesn’t provide data tracking and reporting capabilities, it may be time to change processing vendors.


Modern POS systems are not limited to just processing card payments.


Instead, the best solutions can also be used to track data related to:


  • Inventory in a store, based on the number of transactions per item
  • Employee performance, based on hours worked and time spent doing tasks
  • Sales and profits, based on POS reports and inputs from connected programs
  • Customer behavior, based on their loyalty or the types of items they purchase


A POS system that goes beyond just processing credit or debit card transactions is essential; it works as a tool to boost sales and helps you improve the processes that run your business.


Tracking the data that goes through your portal also enables you to understand which changes work best when implemented. If your current vendor can’t help you do that, consider switching.


5. Undisclosed Payment Processing Fees 

You may also need to switch vendors if you can’t identify payment processing fees.


This is a higher stakes issue than it might seem because your payment processing vendor is actually required to disclose fees involved in processing payments. They typically include:


  • Assessment or swipe fees, paid directly to credit or debit card issuers like Visa, Mastercard, Discover, or American Express.
  • Interchange fees are paid to issuers each time you process a transaction on their networks.
  • Payment processor fees or merchant service provider (MSP) fees, charged by your payment processor (and often subject to negotiation).


Other negotiable fees that impact payment processing costs include but are not limited to:


  • Equipment fees
  • IRS reporting fees
  • PCI compliance fees
  • Accounts fees
  • Service fees


As a business owner, you need to know which types of fees you charge when processing card payments. If your vendor isn’t disclosing these, it’s a major red flag (and time to switch).


6. Issues with Payment Processing Support

One of the most important reasons to switch payment processing vendors is support—or, more accurately, the lack thereof. If your vendor doesn’t help you troubleshoot, that’s a bad sign.


Support needs to be available when you have technical questions about customer-facing functionality, or you’re training your staff on how to use a new online payment gateway; support needs to be available.


Even better, that support should be available on demand.


For example, imagine that one of your staff is completing checkout, and the POS system suddenly freezes. An experienced manager tries to provide troubleshooting support but can’t get the issue fixed. To make matters worse, they call the vendor indefinitely and get put on hold.


Keep in mind that, while this is all going on, your customers are also being inconvenienced.


This kind of thing simply can’t happen. If it does, this might be the biggest reason of all to seek out a new payment vendor, maybe immediately. A partner like EMS can come to the rescue.


What’s Next?

Whether you run an online or brick-and-mortar store, your payment processing system needs to meet your business needs and your customer’s needs. It should make transactions easy and fast to process, and it should store data safely. Ideally, it should also put that data to use for you.


EMS has over 30 years of experience providing cutting-edge and reliable payment processing solutions for businesses of every size and across every industry. We have you covered.


Contact us today to learn more about how our solutions can help you!

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