Pub Landlord Advice - Credit & Debit Card Processing

Credit & Debit Card Processing

Businesses that accept credit card or debit card payments for their products and services generate much higher profits than those businesses that do not. A merchant account will enable your business to easily accept all those credit & debit card payments.

Most people find it a lot easier to spend more money when they use their “plastic”. With the rise of plastic (or the cashless society) they have to depend on credit or debit cards for almost everything these days. You can achieve greater efficiency and become more profitable when you have a merchant account. The more time you spend handling cash and cheques the less cost effective you will be in the long run.

You can increase your sales instantly with a merchant account (a bank account that is used to hold the funds from your sales receipts). These will be deposited into a special bank account called a Merchant Account. By giving your customers more flexibility by accepting all major credit / debit cards, the more payment options you can offer your customers.

When you shop around and learn about the different packages that payment processing companies provide there are some things you should pay attention to:

  • Reliability: Does the network have a lot of downtime? What happens when the network goes down? What kind of customer support do they have in place? Is there someone you can call 24/7, or at least during your trading hours, which are likely to be outside the normal 9 to 5?
  • Products: What different kinds of payment processing products are available? Can they help you choose what’s right for you?
  • Extras: Does this system also process electronic gift cards, electronic cheques, loyalty cards or other methods of payment such as pre-paid cards?
  • Is it future proof? With innovations such as payment by mobile phone and other ‘near field’ technology is the service you intend to sign up with making provision for such changes? For instance the iDon’tQ mobile phone ‘app’ that allows customers to not only pay by phone but order their food and drinks in advance.


The biggest factor that most people use when choosing the merchant account company they want to go with, however, is the price. There are many different fees associated with accepting credit or debit cards, including an application fee, the discount rate (a percentage of each sale), transaction fees and fees for sales made over the phone.

There are also fees for statements, for not meeting a minimum amount of sales and for any returns or refunds you process.

Look carefully at all the different kinds of fees each company collects and what the rate is. In a pub you will expect most people to make a lot of relatively small purchases with credit or debit cards, so look for the company with the lowest transaction fee.

A final thing you’ll want to consider when choosing a payment processing system is what if any costs you will incur from renting or buying equipment. Some companies offer free equipment for credit or debit card processing, which can be a big positive that cuts down on your up-front costs. However be ware that if you lose or damage the equipment it is expensive to replace, the last hand-held terminal that a member of staff dropped and damaged cost nearly £300 to replace.

There is one additional cost that you must consider with an electronic card payment terminal is that it will need to be connected to a telephone line. Check with your preferred processing company and your telephone provider that the line you have is compatible with the system. You may need to factor in to your budgets provision of a dedicated telephone line for your PDQ Machine.

Merchant Cash Advances are an alternative way of funding your pub in certain circumstances, to find out more click here.

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