Finding the right credit card processor for your gun shop is a must! The ability to accept payments from customers safely, smoothly, and reliably is not only a requirement for operating a business, but also something that can encourage purchases, motivate customers to buy something from you again in the future, and spark some word-of-mouth advertising for your business. This is true for every business, but firearms merchants and other high-risk businesses face some additional challenges that are directly or indirectly related to payment processing. Today, firearms sales usually involve payment by credit card, so let’s take a brief look at finding the right credit card processor for your gun shop.
There are, of course, certain things that you should always look for in a high-risk payment processor, things to keep in
mind, and questions that you should always be sure to ask. These include things such as knowing how high risk your high-risk business is considered to be, deciding how you want to process transactions, finding out what additional features and services are provided or available, asking for a client list to help you get an understanding of the processor’s experience and consider the processor’s reputation, getting a clear understanding of the pricing of services, and looking for easy integration of the processor’s system and services with your existing systems.
Another important matter in finding a credit card processor for Your gun shop is the payment gateway. As mentioned above, it is important for transactions to be both secure and pleasant (or at least not excessively painful). The payment gateway plays an important role in both of these aspects. Your aim should be to find the right balance between making it easy for customers to make a purchase on one hand and discouraging/preventing chargebacks and fraud on the other. You should be able to work with your payment processor to find the best way to do that given your specific circumstances and the characteristics of your industry and market.
One of the main things that makes firearms dealers high risk is their particularly high susceptibility to chargebacks. As discussed in more detail in a different article, there are generally five characteristics of firearms retail businesses that increase the risk of chargebacks.
This includes actual defects in the product, but it often is simply that the customer realized that the firearm he or she purchased thinking that it fit their criteria isn’t actually a good fit. With firearms, it could literally be the way the gun fits in the hand or against the shoulder, but it could also be the strength of the recoil when the gun is fired or the weight and balance of the gun. The less experience/knowledge the customer has prior to making the purchase, the more likely the customer will be dissatisfied later on.
Some products and services are easier to try out than others, such as trying on a pair of shoes in a store vs. sitting in a travel agency trying to imagine if a certain cruise will be what you want. Firearms are somewhere in the middle. It’s usually possible to hold and handle a gun in a shop, and many gun shops have shooting ranges with a lineup of rental firearms that are the same models as those sold in the shop. Sometimes a customer has a friend or family member that owns the model, caliber, etc., that the customer is considering and can let the customer try it out. That isn’t always the case, however, and in most cases, the customer’s experience with the firearm prior to purchase is very limited.
In addition to the availability of opportunities to try a firearm before you buy, various factors can lead to an inaccurate impression. For example, while it is true that you can hold a gun and examine it closely at a gun shop, there can be a significant difference in weight and balance between a pistol with an empty magazine and one with a full magazine. That difference increases more rapidly as the caliber of the gun, and therefore the weight of the ammunition, increases.
Also, an empty .44 Magnum revolver may be a little heavy, but the physical impact is completely different when Harry Callahan’s sidearm of choice is actually fired. Unfortunately, customers don’t always heed advice to spend enough time using a gun before buying it, so there is a higher risk of changed minds and chargebacks at some point down the road.
Today, there is a wide variety of quality firearms available at relatively affordable prices. However, we are still talking about a purchase of at least $200 or $300 new, with some of the well-known brands costing much more. Customers are significantly more likely to demand a refund or initiate a chargeback for a purchase of $500 than a purchase of just $5.00. Firearms fall more often into the former category than the latter, and so are more likely to result in a chargeback.
Finally, a husband’s high-dollar purchase of a new refrigerator is likely to be more welcomed by his wife than a purchase of a firearm for the exact same price. Typical reactions are often some form of “You bought a what?!” or, if this isn’t the first time, “You bought another one?!”
This susceptibility of firearms retailers to chargebacks means that you should pay particular attention to a credit card payment processor’s ability to help you eliminate chargebacks where possible and minimize them in other circumstances. As has been mentioned, a good payment gateway, whether online or in person, can do much in this area.
Customers want a smooth and secure transaction when making payments. Since legitimate (non-fraudulent) chargebacks are caused by some type of dissatisfaction or regret, the better the customer’s experience interacting with you and your system, the less likely it will be for a chargeback to occur. A related aspect is the clarity of your return/refund policy and how effectively it is communicated. Customers sometimes initiate a chargeback because they have missed the deadline for returning the product for a refund. They are less likely to miss the deadline if they have a clear understanding of when it is and what the requirements are.
Another measure that can help is to avoid pushing the customer to make the purchase right here, right now. Although some “experts” teach that you have to close the deal when the customer is at maximum emotion, that practice is short-sighted and tends to cause businesses more headaches (and financial loss) than healthy growth. Allowing the customer to take just a bit more time to think about the purchase can be the difference between a costly chargeback and a repeat customer.
Your high-risk payment processor should be an expert in effective ways to combat chargebacks. Mitigating chargebacks as much as possible will be beneficial not only to your business, but to the payment processor’s business as well.
The firearms industry is highly regulated in the United States, and the laws and regulations of individual states and municipalities are sometimes in conflict, with each other and with federal laws and regulations. On top of that, those laws and regulations frequently change. Your payment processor should be able to help you navigate that path.
It’s also important that your credit card payment processor be flexible and able to adapt to the changing landscape of the firearms industry. The right credit card processor for your Gun Shop can then also help your business adapt.
A high-risk payment processor such as Zen Payments specializes in payment processing for high-risk industries and understands the payment processing needs and challenges of the firearms industry. We are chargeback countermeasure specialists and can help you eliminate the unnecessary bother and cost.
When choosing a high-risk payment processor, be sure to ask as many questions as necessary until you’re satisfied with the responses and clear on what you can expect and what will be expected of you. Our team at Zen Payments would be happy to speak with you and find ways to help your business prosper, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.