Retail merchant services is an ever-changing market that is constantly being redefined. For businesses needing effective in-store payments strategies, learning how to properly integrate retail merchant services matters.

Retail merchant services are for businesses that accept credit cards at the point of sale, often in what is referred to as a “card present” environment that involves swiping or inserting a payment card into the point-of-sale (POS). As the payments landscape itself has evolved over the years, so has the number of businesses needing these services. This has changed the concept of traditional business practices, including the future of retail.

To gain better insight into what exactly retail merchant services mean, how the retail landscape is shifting, and what type of solutions businesses should consider in order to streamline their payment processing needs, we’ve broken down what this market entails.

What Exactly Are Retail Merchant Services?

Retail merchant services involve a variety of in-store payment solutions that involve changing technologies. This includes traditional countertop terminals, POS systems, and mobile readers. The beauty of being a business needing retail merchant services today is that the possibilities to serve customers isn’t limited to one payment model. There are a growing number of seamless solutions that can help create better retail experiences.

Businesses that might be looking for retail merchant services and credit card processing can be new businesses getting their foot into the brick-and-mortar retail space, established businesses looking to improve their in-store payment methods or perhaps just businesses who want to take their business on-the-go and accept payments using mobile readers.

What Does Retail Merchant Services Entail?

There are three key categories of services merchants might need to leverage to fully execute an effective payments strategy. This includes countertop terminals, point-of-sale systems, and mobile readers. Some merchants may learn that just one of these solutions is good enough for their needs, while others might use all three to connect with their customers across different retail environments. Here’s what each of these services involve:

Countertop terminals: This is the most familiar method that customers are used to interacting with merchants. Instead of having to overhaul clunky old legacy POS systems, countertop terminals provide an innovative way to give merchants the ability to accept electronic card payments without needing the full connection with an intricate POS system. The right countertop terminals streamline customer payments while providing businesses with better protection over cardholder data. With built-in PCI compliance features, modern countertop terminal retail merchant services help businesses gain better control of the customer experience.

Point-of-Sale System: For businesses that need to integrate payments into a customizable expandable POS solution to streamline business, there are retail merchant services that can combine the best of both worlds. Whether it’s in-store payments, payments via a mobile terminal in-store or mobile payments on-the-go, it’s important businesses find a POS system that can evolve with their needs.

Mobile Readers: Businesses today that accept credit cards must accommodate multiple types of payment methods, including traditional magstripe, EMV, and contactless/mobile payments. Regardless of where and how a payment is collected, a mobile reader allows for flexibility in how businesses interact with customers. This has expanded the number of ways businesses can accept credit cards while streamlining the process in an efficient and secure manner.

How Has the Retail Merchant Services Market Evolved?

Retail merchant services are no longer just about having a physical or online presence with customers. This market is about finding flexible, seamless solutions that help businesses interact better with their customers throughout the entire retail journey. The retail merchant services market has added new players and new solutions at a rapid pace. This has greatly impacted how businesses are able to accept credit cards and other evolving payment solutions.

Merchants today no longer have to feel tied down by their payment solutions. They now have the freedom to accept electronic payments without facing disconnect with the rest of their payment terminal services. For businesses looking for the right retail merchant service to fit their needs, they should consider working with a payments enablement partner that can offer them a diverse number of methods that can be tailored to their business’ and customers’ demands.

Businesses looking to find a retail merchant services provider should work with a payments partner that can deliver diverse, customizable solutions that can deliver the type of processing needs that can evolve as your business grows. Accepting credit cards today is about more than being able to take digital payments, it’s about being able to accept multiple types of payments that can be customized to how customers want to interact with and pay your business.

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Anna Kragie is a content contributor for Payline Data. She previously wrote for PYMNTS.com, as a Sr. Content Producer, where she focused on financial services and payments innovation, fraud and security, emerging payments, and FinTech news, research and thought-leadership content across the payments industry.