Firearms sales are surging. Federal data showed 2015 as a record setting year for the American firearms industry as gun sales hit their highest recorded levels to date. It’s no secret that most Americans love their second amendment right and love their guns even more. There are more firearms legally held per capita in the United States than in any other first-world country and it appears that these numbers will only continue to grow. Firearms manufacturers, distributers, and retailers are experiencing such spikes in demand that they are having a hard time keeping up with supply. Part of keeping up with the supply and demand is being able to accept payment for those purchases. Firearms merchants need to be equipped with the proper merchant services to handle the sales. So with so many payment processing options for firearms dealers, how does a firearms merchant know what to do and where to go? Here are some tips:
Firearms Merchants with Retail Storefronts
Simply put, firearms merchants with a retail storefront need to have a firearms merchant account. Guns are expensive and prices don’t look to be coming down any time soon. With such high ticket prices, it should be no surprise that most purchases are made with a credit card or debit card. A firearms merchant account allows you take payment on these high ticket items. Because these purchases are considered card-present by the merchant services industry, it makes retail firearms merchant accounts generally the lowest cost per transaction of all firearms merchant account types. However, firearms merchants are still viewed as high risk merchants. So, how can a firearms merchant know they are truly getting the best deal when getting a retail firearms merchant account?
It depends on what is most important to the firearms merchant. Some firearms merchants will want to save money on their processing costs while other may find a greater interest in not paying for equipment like terminals or point of sale systems. It could be that you aren’t satisfied with the current firearms merchant service provider you work with, or any other reason for that matter. Whatever the reason might be, make what matters most to you known to the agent you are speaking with and how it will affect the final decision you are going to make in choosing a firearms payment processor. In this way the agent will focus on meeting your needs to the best of their ability.
The Internet and Firearms Merchants
One of the contributing factors to the massive increase in firearms sales in recent years is e-commerce. Licensed firearms merchants have realized that they can easily reach a much broader audience to sell products or services such as range memberships through the internet as if people were in-store making the purchase. As previously stated, firearms merchants are categorized as high risk merchants and for an array of reasons e-commerce firearms sales are high risk. When it comes to selling firearms over the internet, even most merchant service providers that say they accept high risk merchants will not take this kind of business. Likewise, you want to work with a high risk merchant service provider that openly accepts and caters to the needs of firearms merchants so they do not put you in a vulnerable position for fraud, PCI compliance, chargebacks, or other firearms industry or payment processing related issues that could arise.
Firearms Sold at Conventions
Firearms convention popularity is at an all-time high. Demand for the ability to process payments at these on-the-go industry events is also at an all-time high. Unfortunately, the most popular mobile payment processing companies such as Square, Stripe, PayPal, or even Braintree do not allow for the sale of firearms through their payment processing networks. These companies have strict policies that can leave firearms merchants in a cashflow crunch from funds being held, or even worse, shut down without a viable go-to option at a time when sales are conducted under time-constraints with competitors only feet away. Even if these payment processors did accept firearms merchants, the trade-off for the ease-of-use they tout is not worth the cost savings and effort needed to sign up for a merchant account through a high risk merchant service provider.
Firearm Merchants Accounts for Multiple Venues
Many firearms merchants will need their payment processing solutions to fit more than one of these business models. For instance, a firearms dealer might both operate a retail shop, sell some or all of their products online, and have a booth at gun shows on select weekends. This requires more than one merchant account as well as different setting that need to be communicated to the acquiring bank in order to make sure that transactions process seamlessly. It would also require firearms merchants to have different terminals, gateways, or even a point-of-sale system programmed and in place to help manage the business. Discuss all of the ways you expect to sell your goods and services so that your merchant service provider can align your business with the appropriate services.
Striking the Bullseye
In order to essentially hit the bullseye of firearms merchant services, it’s incredibly important to choose a high risk merchant service provider that caters to firearms businesses. You need a payment processor that understand the nuances of the firearms industry and has the payment processing expertise to set you up for success. They also need to be competitively priced, attentive to your needs, and available when you need them. You need a merchant service provider that can equip you with an arsenal of tools that will enable you to run your business with greater efficiency.
Painless Processing does this for many firearms businesses across the country. We believe in our second amendment right. Some of us exercise it. That’s why we believe that firearms businesses and the people who own and operate them are the backbone of support to that second amendment right. This is why we do everything we can to make payment processing for firearms merchants so easy… it’s Painless.