A Merchant Services Provider, or MSP, is something that many new business owners may not even know exists. They know they need the credit card processors, the POS terminals, and the software to keep everything together, but many have no idea where to start.

Busy business owners often find themselves overwhelmed by a myriad of options and blindly pick something popular without knowing if it’s the solution that their company actually needs. A good MSP helps business owners navigate this often-unknown, but completely critical, aspect of running a business. These are the top 3 benefits they bring:

#1 Expertise

You’re an expert in your business, but you’re likely not an expert in the ever-expanding field of what an MSP provides, and that’s ok! MSPs directly consult with you to determine what specific needs you have and how to best meet them, while staying within your budget.

Restaurants and retail have very different operating needs, as do new, small businesses vs. more established, larger companies. Do you require E-commerce tools? Do you have plans for growth and expansion, and what resources do you have that will allow it? What kind of hardware like credit card processors or countertop terminals will best help your success? Will you simply stick with magstrip reading or would it be best for your clientele to offer chip reading and contactless payment capabilities? Would an ATM benefit your particular business? Will you want cloud-based backup technology?

If you don’t quite know where to begin, you’re not alone. MSPs sort through the complex array of rapidly changing options and innovations so you don’t have to, but your business can still remain competitive.

#2 Time Management

Time is one thing that business owners never have an excess of, but MSPs provide a variety of solutions that will let you shift your focus from the minutiae so you can spend your time actually growing your business. A smartly-implemented POS system will track sales, cashflow, best and worst sellers, and inventory, allow for seamless scheduling, and keep your bookkeeping and accounting as simple as possible.

This is all done with a few keystrokes instead of hours spent compiling your data and trying to make sense of it on your own. Not to mention that a knowledgeable MSP will save you the countless hours needed to narrow down all your options in the first place.

#3 Financial Security

Because an MSP is a facilitator between your business, the bank, and the credit card companies, it takes a lot of worry about fraud out of your court. A reliable MSP will be federally insured and backed by banks. Many also have the capabilities of providing you with more secure, and lower interest, cash advances or loan options that are needed to do everything from making sure vendors are paid when cashflow gets tight to giving you the ability to make the improvements necessary for business growth.

Much like businesses in every industry, there is absolutely a range of quality among Merchant Services Providers. Not every MSP can offer everything, and many don’t have extensive enough knowledge and insider experience to know precisely which systems will be the best fit for your business’s unique needs and merely push generic, one-size-fits-all solutions instead.

A quality MSP isn’t just another vendor, but rather a partner fully committed to being an integral part of your business’ success. If you’re ready to see what an effective MSP can do for your business, then contact HBS today.