Payment Processing for Salons: What You Should Know

May 14, 2018

The advent of social media platforms such as Instagram has been a boon for hair and beauty salons. As the most popular photo sharing social network, Instagram is redefining personal style and aesthetics; users of this network, particularly women, will often share photos that highlight salon services they recently received and paid for. As can be expected, followers of Instagram users whose hair, makeup, nails, and skin are always looking great are often asked for recommendations, and this is an excellent great marketing opportunity for salons.

While salon operators will certainly welcome an influx of new customers coming from Instagram, they should be prepared to deal with the payment demands of a young, tech-savvy crowd. A young woman whose life is ruled by her smartphone and a few mobile apps, and who wants her hair and nails done every Friday, is not likely to pay cash; at the minimum, she will pay with a credit or debit card, but she may prefer to do so via a mobile app.

A solid payment processing and solution is essential for today’s salon operators. Simply installing a credit card machine to accept Visa and MasterCard payments is no longer acceptable for salon operators; it is more important to choose a provider that can handle more than just credit card processing.

If you are the owner or manager of a beauty salon, the first thing you should look for when evaluating merchant services providers is their level of involvement in your particular industry. One observation to make in this regard is whether the provider offers a point of sale (POS) terminal or software specifically developed for salons, ideally one that features built-in payment processing options or that connects to a legacy credit card machine.

Advanced POS solutions offer customer relationship management (CRM) functionality to connect with social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. If your customers are not coming from social media, a CRM strategy can point you in the right direction.

Credit card processing is just one of the pieces of the merchant services puzzle for salon owners. You will want an option that allows you to collect and distribute tips that customers wish to leave for your staff. Even though all stylists love getting cash tips from customers who place them inside neat envelopes, this custom has been mostly abandoned. Your POS system should allow customers to tip from their credit cards, and it should also route tips for you.

Chargeback and fraud protection are two other features that you should consider when choosing a merchant services provider for your salon. The last thing you want is a breach of your salon’s payments processing system, such a situation could put your customer’s financial data at risk; to this effect, your system should offer endpoint security and encryption.

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