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First Data merchant services: A guide to the payment service provider

First Data is one of the UK’s best-known merchant service providers. Find out more about it, and compare payment provider quotes to save time and money, with our guide

This article will answer the following questions:


First Data is a leading provider of card acceptance services, and is dedicated to simplifying the connections that make commerce possible.

With over 20 years’ experience in the UK, First Data has the expertise and facilities to ensure that money moves accurately and securely anytime and anywhere.

In this profile, you’ll learn more about First Data as well as the specific products and services it offers. Plus, we’ll provide a breakdown of its key features so you can get a better idea of whether First Data’s merchant services are right for your small business.


what

What is First Data?

First Data is a payment solutions company which offers credit card processing and point of sale (POS) options. Based in the US and with an international presence too, First Data is a well-established merchant services provider.

Founded in Nebraska in 1971, First Data started supplying processing services to the Mid-America Bankcard Association. Then, in 1976, the brand became the first processor of Visa and Mastercard bank-issued credit cards.

Today, First Data supports six million merchants across the globe, and handles over 45% of all US credit and debit transactions.

The company has also been recognised by the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office as one of the companies whose binding corporate rules for data protection are in-line with the European Union (EU) Data Protection Directive.


Looking for a payment gateway so you can start selling online, via your website? Check out our guide to the six best payment gateways.


Which merchant services does First Data offer?

First Data’s merchant solutions offer a wide range of products and services designed to meet the needs and expectations of businesses of every shape and size.

First Data has options suitable for small shops and individual operations, through to major national and international brands.

The company’s innovative range of payment solutions and online tools help businesses enhance efficiency, minimise operating costs and optimise revenue growth.

First Data merchant services include:


First Data card machines

First Data provides a variety of card terminals that allow businesses to take payments quickly and efficiently.

Available card payment machines include:

  • Mobile card machines – Ideal for businesses on the go, card payments can be taken anywhere and everywhere with a 3G mobile signal.
  • Contactless card machines – Contactless payments are growing in popularity. First Data contactless card machines allow you to stay up-to-date with modern payment trends and future-proof your business. Accepting contactless card payments, as well as Apple Pay, you can process payments quickly, efficiently and securely.
  • Portable card machines – Especially suitable for bars and restaurants, portable card machines allow you to take payment processing to where your customers are sitting. This can help to avoid queues and make life much easier for both you and your customers.


First Data EPOS systems

First Data also offers a range of EPOS systems that have been expertly designed to meet the needs of a whole host of sectors and industries. These include: hospitality, health and beauty, and retail. Read more in our guide to EPOS systems.

These revolutionary touch screen electronic point of sale (EPOS) systems allow merchants to:

  • Accept all major payment types, including contactless and mobile payments
  • Track inventory and create handy reports
  • Be accessible and user-friendly with intuitive touch screen interfaces and cloud connection


First Data Mobile Pay

First Data Mobile Pay is an online payment application that allows you to turn your mobile phone into a point of sale device. This allows for easy processing of credit, debit and gift card transactions on the go, wherever you are.

Ideal for pop-up and on-the-go businesses as well as market traders, this payment processing solution makes taking card payments more flexible than ever before.

First Data Mobile Pay offers a range of benefits for you, including the ability to:

  • Offer safe payment options with wireless POS
  • Conduct business on the go with wireless terminals
  • Accept payments with your smartphone or tablet
  • Allow your customers to redeem paperless coupons and loyalty offers
  • Attract new customers with leading technology

There are two ways to use First Data Mobile Pay: the First Data mobile app, and the web-based First Data Mobile Pay system.

  • The First Data Mobile Pay app – Once downloaded from the App Store or Google Play, the app works in conjunction with an encrypting card reader device that plugs into your smartphone or tablet. This then allows you to swipe your customer’s credit card to process a payment. And, because the card is physically present, you avoid the cost of card-not-present processing rates.
  • Web-based First Data Mobile Pay – Using the web-based system, you can process payments on your mobile phone or tablet by simply navigating to the First Data Mobile Pay web page and entering your customer’s credit card number.

Both solutions enable you to accept customer card payments wherever a wifi signal is available.

Payments are processed instantly and an e-receipt can be sent to your customer’s email address.


First Data mobile payments

First Data also offers a mobile payments service that lets your customers pay for their purchases using only their mobile phones.

This mobile payment solution features:

  • ‘Wave and go’ mobile credit card processing – the mobile equivalent of contactless
  • Mobile payment that brings together mobile wallet applications with a range of marketing and loyalty solutions
  • First Data PayEdge Solution – offering your business a cloud-based mobile payment solution that’s based with the Automated Clearing House (ACH) and enables secure, low-cost payments for you
  • Loyalty card information that can be stored on customers’ phones to help your business to build new, targeted, and effective loyalty initiatives
  • Direct promotions sent to customers on the same mobile device they use to activate accounts and make payment method decisions

What is the ACH?

The ACH is a US-based payment system that moves money from one bank account to another.


First Data ecommerce solutions

First Data offers a range of dedicated ecommerce payment solutions that make processing online payments simple and secure, with an online payment gateway that enables you to offer your customers a reliable online payment facility.

The First Data ecommerce payment gateway is made up of three components:

  • Connect Hosted Payments Page – This is a securely-hosted, customisable payment form that’s ideal for small businesses’ ecommerce websites. It’s the quickest and simplest way for you to accept payments through your website.
  • API – Application Programming Interface (API) is a web service that allows you to integrate your website and the First Data processing platform using XML. This component is designed to meet the needs of corporate businesses, allowing you to capture customer card details on your website and submit them directly into the First Data payment gateway.
  • Virtual terminal – The virtual terminal turns any computer with internet access into a POS device, allowing you to process cardholder not present payments quickly and securely, namely via telephone. This web-based application is ideal for use in call centre environments, or by small businesses that process purchases without customers present.

What is XML?

XML is a type of coding language used to allow computers to process data.

Additional ecommerce payment options

First Data’s ecommerce solutions also enable online businesses to offer additional payment options, including Apple Pay and Android Pay.

This flexibility should help to attract new customers and reduce instances of cart abandonment – as with more ways to pay, people may be less likely to leave your checkout page before completing a purchase.


First Data’s handy additional services

In addition to its payment processing equipment and ecommerce services, First Data also provides a range of value-added services:

Service Function Impact
Business Tracker An online portal Access useful information and manage your card acceptance service
ClientLine An online reporting tool Access details of your payment processing transactions 24/7
Cashback Converts cash to electronic funds on premises Reduce time spent on manual accounting and administration
Merchant Cash Advance Helps you to access funds Increase cash flow
PCI DSS Compliance Programme An online portal and informative programme Stay up-to-date with the very latest card data security standards
Global Choice Dynamic Currency Conversion Services Converts international currencies Offer an enhanced experience for international customers; earn additional revenue
Mobile top-up Converts your payment terminal into a mobile top-up point Maximise your POS software; access the mobile market

These extra features can be added to your First Data package in order to enhance your reporting, cashflow management and customer service capabilities.

Some of these are free and don’t require additional equipment, while others may carry charges and need specific equipment to work.


How does First Data keep my money safe?

This high performance ecommerce gateway is designed to manage and reduce the risk of online fraud and security issues for small businesses, using a variety of built-in features.

First Data’s ecommerce solutions all feature:

  • 3D Secure – An additional online security feature which authenticates card transactions
  • Address Verification Service (AVS) – This checks that the billing address provided by customers matches their card issuer’s records
  • Security Code (CVV) – This verifies each cardholder’s identity
  • PCI DSS Standards – The 12 requirements used worldwide to protect cardholder data, First Data meets these standards
  • Fraud tools – Additional built-in anti-fraud features, such as lock-out times


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How much does First Data cost?

First Data does not supply one-size-fits all pricing options – rather, it asks that you get in touch with its sales team to discuss what your business needs. The company will advise on a suitable payment plan from there.

It has to be said that reviewers have flagged First Data as a relatively expensive option among merchant services providers. However, it does provide more than many in the way of handy features and robust fraud protection – so could well be worth the cost depending on your small business’ needs.


What is First Data’s customer service like?

All First Data merchant services come complete with access to full, 24/7 email and phone customer support as standard.

The brand’s dedicated, UK-based support staff are all experts in their fields, with a high level of knowledge about boarding, reconciliations, chargebacks, investigations, and complaints.

There are also plenty of guides online, which can be found on First Data’s website, to help you to set up and run your equipment.

What customer service is available?

  • 24/7 email and phone support
  • UK-based support staff
  • Online guides

First Data in a nutshell

Established – First Data is a well-known provider and has a checkable history of operating in merchant accounts

International – First Data has experience in both the UK and international markets, with a wide reach

Scaleable – First Data offers different options to suit your small business as it develops and grows


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Can I compare First Data merchant services with other providers?

The information on this page should help you to understand what your business can expect when it comes to First Data merchant services. The best way to understand whether this merchant account supplier is right for your business, though, is to compare it to others – and we can help you there.

Simply fill in the form at the top of this page to compare UK merchant account providers and receive bespoke price quotes – helping you to find the best option for your start-up.

This process is free, quick and easy, and it can save your business money and time – so get started today!

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