BankCard USA Launches 5 Point Service Guarantee Program

Company Continues to Lead Industry in Merchant Services Best Practices

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--‘Keeping it all under one roof’ is the mantra of BankCard USA, a merchant services company, servicing merchant needs from start up to expansion. In an era where passing the buck and outsourcing business is all too common, BankCard USA does business differently. Operating in an industry that has become predatory and has left a bad taste in more than one business owner’s mouth, BankCard USA is pushing back to lead the way in best practices.

Most recently, the company announced its newly operational merchant account review hotline where companies can call and have their existing merchant services contract evaluated and receive advice on how to get out of unfair contracts. BankCard USA has now launched another step in restoring VIP customer service to the merchant services industry with their 5 Point Service Guarantee Program.

Currently, most merchant service providers are resellers that make a sale and then pass the customer to a processor. These resellers do not have the ability to handle customer account information and directly service them. BankCard USA is different. By managing the account, all under one roof, the merchant receives the benefit. The newly launched 5 Point Service Guarantee Program states:

  1. New customers are never sent refurbished equipment or outdated POS software—BankCard USA ensures that all hardware and software is the newest and most updated available, reducing potential malfunctions and resulting in faster transactions for the merchant.
  2. Your Business Deadline comes first - Whether merchants need new POS equipment for a grand opening, convention, or a merchant needs to make a quick switchover, BankCard USA will take care of you. Equipment can be delivered within 24-hrs.
  3. No Contracts! BankCard USA doesn’t lock customers into contracts. They take a different approach, relying on good service to maintain customer loyalty.
  4. Customer requests must and will be handled on the first call. BankCard USA knows that merchants are far too busy to worry about following up with their merchant servicer. Time is valuable and we don’t waste it.
  5. Same-Day Problem Resolution- BankCard USA’s goal is to make sure all problems no matter how big are solved within 24 hours.

BankCard USA founder Shawn Skelton comments, “Customer service is so important to us because by definition we are a service business. Part of what a customer pays for is the value of being serviced professionally and timely. We treat every merchant like a VIP and we take pride in the fact that from A to Z we can handle everything that a merchant will need in house and within 24 hours.”

In response to the 5 Point Service Guarantee, customers are already raving about the service they are receiving from BankCard USA including:

“I just wanted to thank you for going the extra mile to get our account set up and approved. From start to finish, you had us approved in less than 24 hours. Other companies I have dealt with have taken much longer. Being a business owner, I can also appreciate the fact that you were easy to get in touch with and responded to emails very quickly. Once again, thank you for your great service.” Scott Brown, Quality Floors Direct.

“I would like to inform you of my satisfaction with the company’s customer service. The quality of service was to meet my needs and this put you, BankCard USA, above your competitors. ..Great customer service will always make the customer come back time and time again.” Bonnie Martin, Bon Mar Productions.

“Just a note to thank you and the extremely helpful staff at BankCard USA. The entire transaction went seamlessly, and now we are up and running and ready to accept payments of all types. I will definitely be recommending your service to all my business associates.” Cosmo Miller, Cold Fresh Inc.

Find out more about the 5 Point Service Guarantee at www.bankcardusa.com/serviceguarantee. Additionally, merchants can contact the merchant account review hotline by calling 866-259-9777 or visiting the BankCard USA’s web site at www.bankcardusa.com.

About BankCard USA:

Founded in 1993 by Shawn Skelton and Alan Griefer, BankCard USA is a registered merchant service provider. BankCard USA specializes in credit card processing for new or existing businesses. They offer payment solutions for all types of businesses, including internet, retail store-front, mail-order, phone-order, trade shows, professionals, service industry and home-based businesses. For more information visit us at http://www.BankCardUSA.com.



100 Best Names Merchant Warehouse the Best Merchant Account Provider

ST. GEORGE, Utah, Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- 100 Best, Inc., a leader in providing
information on ecommerce services, recently recognized Merchant Warehouse as
the best merchant account provider for businesses that accept credit cards.
This recognition is given to the merchant account provider that has
demonstrated its commitment to providing the best merchant accounts and
merchant services possible. The evaluation is based on a number of factors,
including pricing, merchant support, equipment options, technology, ethical
business practices, and customer satisfaction.

Merchant Warehouse is a premier merchant account provider and offers
unsurpassed, in-house merchant support to its customers. With no contracts and
no cancellation fees, they have no choice but to keep their customers happy.
Additionally, they have distinguished themselves as a low cost leader in
providing merchant accounts and credit card processing services, guaranteeing
the lowest cost on credit card processing and credit card machines. Merchant
Warehouse also utilizes the latest technologies in its advanced credit card
processing solutions.

Earlier this year, Merchant Warehouse was the recipient of the first annual
ISO of the Year award, awarded this year by the Electronic Transactions
Association. Merchant Warehouse received this award because of their
commitment to their customers and to their own people. They have excelled in
making the merchant account setup process extremely easy. Additionally, they
have received tremendous feedback and rave reviews from their customers. Visit
Merchant Warehouse at www.merchantwarehouse.com or call 1-866-396-4142.

About 100 Best, Inc.
100 Best, Inc. was started by a diverse group of ecommerce and financial
experts to find a better way of delivering information to consumers about
ecommerce solutions and services. Through its merchant account information
portal http://www.100Best-Merchant-Accounts.com, 100 Best, Inc. is striving to
provide business owners with the information they need about merchant accounts
and how to accept credit cards. This is accomplished through its articles,
tutorials and glossary about merchant accounts and merchant services.

Media Contact:
M. Alan Kay

SOURCE 100 Best, Inc.


Commerce Online Announces $500,000 In New Merchant Services Accounts Through Alliance Network For Operating Quarter

-Company exceeds expectations for new accounts in merchant services and
moves forward with independent ISO roll up strategy

PALM BEACH, FL, Oct. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Commerce Online Inc. (Pinksheets:CMIB - News) (www.800commerce.com), a leading company specializing in both bricks and mortar and online merchant payment solutions, today announced that the Company has exceeded expectations by signing approximately $500,000 in new merchant services business.

"As a new player within the sector, we have strategically aligned our Company with some of the most respected merchant solutions partners and banks in the country. This has allowed us to move our business forward aggressively to grow our client list through superior service and support, competitive pricing, new product offerings and veteran management. We have taken a different approach at Commerce Online, seeking out niches within the processing industry other than the standard model of mom and pop shops and volume business. Although we are more than willing to handle those accounts, are goal is to sign merchant services agreements with national brands, high volume online businesses, government municipalities and mobile entertainment which we believe to be high volume and low maintenance accounts, while also pursuing an aggressive independent ISO roll up strategy through our banking partners," stated Michael Friedman, founder of Commerce Online Inc.

About Commerce Online Inc.

Commerce Online Inc. (www.800commerce.com) is positioned to become a market leader in both online and wireless merchant payment solutions. The Company offers a full spectrum of secure and reliable transaction processing solutions using traditional, Internet Point-of-Sale (POS), e-commerce and mobile (wireless) terminals in conjunction with Industry Alliance Partners. The Company's Alliances provide electronic payment processing suite of services enabling merchants to accept all major credit and debit cards, as well as ATM cards and ACH check drafts for payment whether a retail, service, mail-order or Internet merchant. As an industry leader, Commerce Online is dedicated to delivering comprehensive services, such as merchant account activation, gateway connections, Web development and social network engines to a worldwide client base. Commerce Online is a registered ISO with Direct Technologies Inc., a registered ISO of First National Bank of Omaha, Omaha, NE and Wells Fargo Bank, NA., Walnut Creek, Ca.


This news release contains "forward-looking statements," as that term is defined in Section 27A of the United States Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Statements in this press release which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future. Such forward-looking statements include, among other things, the closing of the Letter of Intent. Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, (i) the numerous inherent uncertainties associated with completing a reverse merger transaction; (ii) obtaining regulatory approval in a timely manner; and (iii) changes in general economic and business conditions. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release, and we assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Although we believe that the beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this press release are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions will prove to be accurate. Investors should consult all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in our future financial reports other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

CONTACT: Commerce Online Inc., (561) 868-6880, 800-Commerce, Investor Relations, info@commerceonlinemedia.com

SOURCE Commerce Online Inc.


VerifySmart(TM) Corp. solves the consumer and merchant credit/debit card fraud that has reached world wide epic proportions

TAGUIG, METRO MANILA, Philippines, Aug. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - VerifySmart(TM) Corp. (VSMR: OTCBB): VerifySmart(TM) (VSC), a global leader in secure and fraud free payment processing services, is pleased to announce the launch of its integrated and highly scalable e-commerce system along with its enhanced website.


Globally, the number of payment transactions and money transfers conducted online, electronically, or through Credit/Debit cards has increased dramatically in a very few short years. In 2008, in excess of $10 Trillion was exchanged in various electronic forms across the world.

The credit/debit card technology that has been introduced in the last decade was developed to allow consumers the ease of purchases and transfers online. With the increase of electronic transactions, the instances of fraud have increased exponentially. Until now, there has been little effort made towards security, resulting in an ever increasing problem of ID theft and Credit/Debit card fraud that has reached in excess of $56 Billion annually.


As an industry leader, VerifySmart(TM) Corp. has spent four years and millions of dollars to develop and is now marketing a solution to combat the problem that technology created. Our patent pending (PCT Approved) technology has been filed in 29 Countries based on strategic importance and wireless penetration rate.

The software operates through the use of a cellular phone for secured verification of monetary transactions. VerifySmart(TM) Corp. technology notifies the cardholder of the purchase through the cellular phone and empowers the cardholder to approve or decline his/her purchase. The result is a guaranteed transaction and acceptance providing safety and security for the cardholder and merchant, a first in the industry and providing a level of security unprecedented in other Credit/Debit cards.

Our industry changing transaction services model is non-invasive (requires no system changes) with instant identity verification that is inexpensive to implement and simple to use. The software has been developed to include debit card purchases, internet purchases, ATMs, passport, money transfers, remittances and mortgage verification.

An industry and global first, Verify Transfer is a suite of services that offers the following Transaction and Authentication based features:

     -  Seamlessly integrated with VSC's VeriSmart Card and VerifyNGo two
factor authentication
- Provides virtual bank functionality and allows merchants full fund
management control
- Merchants can issue and assign VeriSmart Cards to end users and load
cards anytime, anywhere electronically (completely secured). Typical
use includes payroll services and transactional fund disbursement in
real time.
- Ability to garner interest in new markets via the foreign exchange
module which enables merchants and end users a full view of their
account balance and transaction history in two currencies
- Access to a full reporting and record management system allowing
complete visibility of individual customer transaction history and
macro roll up reports
- Unrivalled merchant and end user peace of mind enabled by utilizing
the patent-pending VerifyNGo two factor authentication to complete
funds transferred


VerifySmart Corp. has designed and developed a Proprietary Hardware/Software Solution that solves Credit/Debit Card fraud by using a proprietary two Factor Authentication.

The Company's Core Technology is designed to meet the needs of the Security challenged Transaction Processing Industry. Present day solutions, such as Verified by Visa, Chip and Pin and CVV Code (all of which can be compromised) have not reduced payment card fraud by any significant factor.

The VerifySmart solution has reduced fraud to zero in earlier production pilots. The Company's proven and highly scalable solution is gaining worldwide attention and placing VerifySmart at the forefront of the fraud prevention revolution.

Forward Looking Statements

This current report contains "forward-looking statements", as that term is defined in Section 27A of the United States Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Statements in this current report which are not purely historical are forward-looking statements and include any statements regarding beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions regarding the future.

Actual results could differ from those projected in any forward-looking statements due to numerous factors. Such factors include, among others, the inherent uncertainty of financial estimates and projections, the competitive and regulatory environment for start up software companies, stock market conditions, unforeseen technical difficulties and our ongoing ability to operate a business and obtain financing. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this current report, and we assume no obligation to update the forward-looking statements, or to update the reasons why actual results could differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements.

Although we believe that our beliefs, plans, expectations and intentions contained in this current report are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such beliefs, plans, expectations or intentions will prove to be accurate. Investors should consult all of the information set forth herein and should also refer to the risk factors disclosure outlined in our annual report on Form 10-K for the 2008 fiscal year, our quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and our other periodic reports filed from time-to-time with the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to the Securities Exchange Act.

    Corporate Headquarters
Fort Legend Towers, Suite 2002 - 3rd Avenue corner 31st Street
E-Square, Fort Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Metro Manila, Philippines

Investor Relations

Questions or Feedback

SOURCE VerifySmart Corp.



Offshore Merchant Account Services

Is your domestic bank failing to give you the right assistance in making your business reach maximum potential? Is credit card processing through your domestic bank becoming a hassle? You can surely benefit from offshore merchant account services. Such an account practices in similar fashion to any other domestic merchant account would. However, the policies and customer treatment is much different. They give you more scope and flexibility in processing your online orders taken on credit cards.

Credit card processing is vital in today’s scenario when click and brick companies are fast taking over the brick and mortar companies. Offshore merchant account services give you the ability of prompt multi-currency processing. You can accept orders from more than just a few types of credit cards. Moreover, the volume of order processing is not restricted as is the case in many of the merchant accounts with domestic banks. The offshore market is very competitive. The banks need your business. Therefore they are ready to give you offshore merchant account services on your terms and ready to welcome your business account - even if it is a high-risk business such as online gambling, online pharmacy, adult entertainment, gaming, etc.

Business legislations in most of the markets outside USA are quite lenient and flexible. This makes it easier for you to open an offshore merchant account and business becomes easier. The right kind of offshore merchant account service can help you invest your profits offshore in lucrative markets without having to face the black books of the revenue department. Offshore merchant accounts usually attract high tax benefits that add to their attraction.

The offshore merchant account service providers usually charge high processing fees but it sounds minimal when you compare it with low charge backs, no deposits and other benefits. Moreover, they are ready to bear the high risk that may be associated with your business type. Offshore merchant account services include the highest-level security, encryption and fraud protection systems. If you think of expanding your business by leaps and bounds over time, you must consider getting an offshore merchant account.

Offshore Merchant Accounts provides detailed information on Benefits of Offshore Merchant Accounts, Free Offshore Merchant Accounts, Offshore Bank Accounts, Offshore Credit Card Processing and more. Offshore Merchant Accounts is affiliated with Online Merchant Account Application.


What An Ecommerce Merchant Account Is?

An eCommerce merchant account can be likened to the cashier of an actual, physical store. They process payments, and eCommerce merchant accounts do the same, albeit, with added flair and whole lot more features.

Much like how an actual, physical store cannot do business with a cashier, an online business would falter without a reliable eCommerce merchant account, sales can be lost and credibility lost.

But what is an eCommerce merchant account, exactly?

An Ecommerce Merchant Account Is The Heart Of Your Business.

An eCommerce merchant account can be likened to the human heart which makes living a reality by pumping blood to every vital organ of the body. An eCommerce merchant account does the same thing for an online enterprise. The operations of an Internet venture depend on the profit that can be made, and an eCommerce merchant account makes this possible.

An eCommerce merchant account can be availed of by choosing the many services that can be found in the World Wide Web. But bear in mind that not all eCommerce merchant accounts are built alike. Some eCommerce merchant accounts are simply better than others.

Choosing The Right Ecommerce Merchant Account For Your Business’ Needs.

There are certain considerations which you must pay attention to when choosing the right eCommerce merchant account for your needs. Let us take a look at them so that we may be guided in determining the most appropriate eCommerce merchant account worthiest of our investments.

* Applicable fees. Some eCommerce merchant accounts charge a monthly rate. Some eCommerce merchant accounts charge a onetime fee. With this regard, your choice of an eCommerce merchant account would depend on how much you are capable of spending.

* Credibility. Ecommerce merchant accounts are your partners for profit. As such, you should select the eCommerce merchant account with a proven history of reliability. You wouldn’t want to entrust your payments to an eCommerce merchant account that would just crumble as soon as you sign up, right?

* Coverage. The perfect eCommerce merchant account should be able to process payments from popular payment sources. This means that such an eCommerce merchant account should be able to accommodate users who would pay with major credits cards Additionally, it would be ideal if such an eCommerce merchant account would also be able to process payments from other alternative online payment schemes, like PayPal, Stormpay, E-Gold and the likes.

An eCommerce merchant account could also be likened to a ship that would bring your to the Promised Land of online success. The waters may be rough, but if your eCommerce merchant account is made of sturdy stuff, you will reach your destination with flying colors.



Want An Online Credit Card Merchant Account?

An online credit card merchant account can help your business in ways you might not have imagined. While it may seem as though only high-ranking company executives or big-name corporations might be interested in a merchant account, there are many reasons why a small-scale entrepreneur or even a home business owner might want to learn more about this unique marketing and credit card payment tool.

One reason to consider an online credit card merchant account is because you can apply directly through your company’s bank, if you have been doing business with a local financial institution. Chances are the bank can offer a merchant account to business owners like you, but it is important to check the terms and fees, since you may be able to get a better deal elsewhere. Banks don’t always have the lowest prices on accounts like this. You can browse the Internet or ask around the business community to find out who has the lowest merchant services account fees. The costs may include any combination of the following: application fee, setup fee, gateway, maintenance and service, annual membership, and others. However, some account underwriters can waive some or all of these fees for the right customer. Find out if your company is eligible for these waivers or some type of discount before you apply.

Another reason to think about applying for an online credit card merchant account is to upgrade your professional status and enhance the way you do business. You don’t have to operate in the mom-and-pop stage of development forever. Instead, you can get the merchant account and start processing business dealings faster and more efficiently than ever. Your customers will admire and appreciate your efforts to make things work better for them, and your employees will appreciate the time saving steps that can be implemented with a merchant account.

When approved, your online credit card merchant account will help you create a Website to represent your business on the World Wide Web. Some underwriters provide free software and setup while others charge for these services. Be sure that your site offers an up-to-date image with plentiful information to catch the browser’s eye and keep customers interested long enough to make a sale. When they do decide to purchase something, your merchant account setup will let them pay right away with a credit card instead of waiting for a check to be posted. The money will be funneled by the underwriter through a gateway for deposit in your checking account.

With an online credit card merchant account, your Website can soon become fully functional, alleviating much of the sales and cashier work that your company may presently be handling. Your time will be freed to deal with other aspects of the business, perhaps the more creative venues. In the meantime the Website will be automated enough to process payments without the help of customer service, except for the occasional question or problem, so keep someone available at least part-time for this purpose.

Don’t wait for your competitors to jump at the chance to get ahead of you. Find out now how you can apply for an affordable online credit card merchant account.


Different Types of Merchant Accounts

After cash, credit cards are the most widely accepted means of payment in the world. No matter what business you are running, or what product you are selling. Chances are that you will require a credit card processing system. From American Express to Visa, the brand may vary, and since there is no such thing as an individual payment gateway for each individual company. Every company may have a payment system that is unique to them, but the payment gateway is what is the essential link. But before we go into the technicalities, lets get some of the basics out of the way. Especially some of the terms just used.

Any credit card transaction on the planet acts in a predefined manner, first the customer will offer his credit card details, the credit card details are then processed through a payment gateway, and finally the credit card payment is received in a merchant account. The way in which the credit card payment is accepted is different, you could be using the credit on a EPOS (electronic point of sale terminal), or you could have a successful online store that is accepting payments. The important thing to remember is that the mode in which you are accepting the payment is not as important as having a payment gateway and a good merchant account.

Okay so the next thing to discuss here is what is a payment gateway? well a payment gateway is usually a third party system that processes the credit card transaction it could be the server an EPOS dials out to, an e-commerce system, however the term payment gateway usually refers to the latter, and once the checks are done the funds are then transferred into a merchant account. The essential component is the merchant account, the merchant account is offered by companies and based on the volume of transaction and certain other criteria; the charges and upkeep is different. No merchant account is free as the company is offering you services. Merchant accounts in general are of various categories and depending on the type of business you are running, different monthly charges, and percentage charges are applicable.

Important merchant account types

a) Regular merchant accounts – Although in business there is no such thing as a typical business, however a majority of businesses are usually treated as regular merchant accounts, they have low maintenance fees and lower rates than other merchant accounts.

b) High risk merchant accounts – This category is usually reserved for high risk credit card processing accounts, for example accounts that handle a large volume of transaction that may or may not offer a 100% authorisation rate. An example will be an outbound call centre, that attempts hundreds of credit card transactions to verify the credibility of the credit cards. There are also additional complications like currency conversion involved. Hence the term high risk merchant account.

c) Specialized merchant accounts – There are some businesses that require specialized credit card processing, or might require a specialized merchant account that caters to requirements such as offshore processing, etc. Such merchant accounts are usually referred to as specialized merchant accounts.


When to Switch Merchant Account Providers and How

Businesses primarily cancel their merchant account because they no longer need to accept credit cards or because they're switching to a different provider that has offered them lower rates and fees. When an account is cancelled because a business no longer needs to accept credit cards, it usually means that the business is being dissolved and there's no reason to have an account at all. However, cancelling a merchant account to switch to another provider that promises lower rates may be more trouble than it's worth – literally.

Check with your existing provider before you cancel your merchant account

Competition is the driving force behind the high merchant turnover that exists in the payment card industry. Any small business owner can attest to the high frequency at which they're approached by a merchant account salesperson promising the best rates and fees. With so many offers it's tough not to investigate a few, and many business owners do just that. The problem is that they switch to the new account without consulting their existing provider.

Merchant service providers want to retain clients. It's a lot easier for them to keep an existing client than it is to acquire a new one. The same is true from a merchant's point of view. It's a lot easier to have the rates and fees lowered on your existing merchant account than it is to cancel the account and open a new one.

Don't look at the constant flow of new merchant account quotes as an annoyance, instead, view them as a helpful reminder. Each time you're offered merchant account rates that are lower than the rates on your existing account, send them to your provider and request that they match or beat the better quote. Even if you're in a contract, many merchant account providers are willing to lower rates and fees in order to retain your business.

By giving your existing provider a chance to match quotes that you receive, you're getting the benefit of the lower rates without the hassle of cancelling your exiting merchant account and opening a new one.

Avoiding cancellation fees when switching merchant accounts

So what happens if your existing provider won't match or beat the rates of a competitor? The first thing to do is determine if you're under contract, and if so, how much the cancellation fee is to close your merchant account. Even if you're looking at a large fee, there are a couple of things that you can do to avoid paying it entirely.

The first is to read the terms of your contract. Most cancellation fees are void if a merchant service provider raises rates or fees within the contract period. If your rates have increased since you originally signed the contract, or since the last time the contact auto-renewed, you may be able to cancel your merchant account without having to pay the fee.

If that fails, try to pass the cancellation fee along to the new provider that's trying to earn your business. Especially if you're processing a decent amount of credit cards each month, it may be worth it for the new provider to pay your way out of your existing account. Believe it or not, this is something that happens on a fairly regular basis. Most providers won't advertise that they'll pay cancellation fees to their competitors, but they will do what they can to get your business if the numbers work for them.

If all else fails…

If you're existing provider is unable or unwilling to meet lower rates and fees promised by a new provider and you can't avoid the cancellation fee, make sure that it's worth it to switch accounts. Crunch the numbers to figure out if the lower rates and fees will save you enough to negate the out-of-pocket expense of the cancellation fee.

Make sure the new rates are truly better

The final and perhaps most important point to cover before switching merchant accounts, is to make sure that the rates and fees promised by a new provider are really better than what you already have. Especially on a tiered pricing structure, merchant account rates aren't always what they appear to be. The article, "Merchant Account Rates: Tiered VS. Interchange-Plus Pricing" at the MerchantCouncil will help you to get a better understanding of this topic.


Why You Should Have A Merchant Account

If you have been running a web-based business successfully without the use of a merchant account, you may wonder why it is necessary to have a merchant account and all. After all, you can accept checks or money orders via snail mail; therefore, you may ask yourself, “Why should I bother with the hassles of signing up for a merchant account?” Nevertheless, you would be surprised to find that there are myriad benefits in having a merchant account; in fact, making more money through your Internet business is just one of them.

First, in not having a merchant account, you are severely limiting the amount of income that you can make from your online business. For example, with a merchant account you can accept MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and American Express once your initial application is approved. In the case of the latter, you will be required to fill out a separate application for American Express approval.

The approval process for a merchant account is usually five to seven days and the wait is well worth it; once you are approved immediately increase the type of payments you can receive and therefore increase the number of clients who were willing to buy your products online.

The most obvious place to get a merchant account is from your local bank. Simply stop and your local bank or visit the bank where you hold a checking or savings account and speak to one of the bank representatives about their merchant accounts. Conversely, your local bank will probably be more than willing to send you brochures or pamphlets that describe their merchant account programs in great detail.

When you are looking to apply for a merchant account with a local bank it is a good idea to ear in mind that if you already have an existing account with a bank, that bank will probably be more willing to provide you with a merchant account based on their experience with you as an existing customer. If you have exhibited responsible behavior with an existing checking account of loan with an institution, the bank is quite liable to take such information into consideration when determining your eligibility for a merchant account.

Having a merchant account also keeps you at an even keel with your competitors. By simply researching the competition, you will soon find that many of your competitors have merchant accounts as a payment method for customers. The reason that your competitors maintain a merchant account is to primarily provide an added convenience for customers desire to pay by credit card. Not only is the authorization process fast, but allows the customer to place their order in the fashion that they've grown accustomed to while paying for their purchases.

Another added benefit derived from having a merchant pertains to this simplification of record-keeping. Let's face it, when it comes to paying taxes no one considers it a good time. Nevertheless, paying taxes a necessary evil and it pays to be well organized when tax season comes around. With the detailed monthly statements that you receive with a merchant account, you can access your expense records quickly and easily.

Many merchant account suppliers offer software applications with their merchant account program that will allow you to improve the look of your website. For example, you can add a shopping cart to website or the ever popular “buy now “buttons. Such graphics give your website professionally designed to look and help your website appear easy to navigate and user-friendly: if customers find your website user-friendly they're more likely to return again and again.


The Importance of Getting a Merchant Account

A business, whether it is online or has been operating in a standard office or shopping mall, should have the payment option of using credit cards. Businesses that do not offer credit card payments are more likely to run out of customers. In the competitive market today, you should take advantage of all the opportunities that you can get. A merchant account is necessary especially for businesses situated in a shopping district because people usually do not bring their cash nowadays. Instead, they carry their credit cards so that they can conveniently shop without having to bring lots of cash in their wallet. You surely do not want to reject customers because you cannot accept their credit card payments.

Accepting credit card payments is necessary for business nowadays. Internet based businesses can have the ease in getting paid using the payment gateways for online transactions. This would assure you and your online customer that the transaction can be processed hassle free. This also ensures you that the customers can make the payments easily and at the same time you can get the payment as soon as possible.

In order to have this type of payment system on your business, all you need to do is set up a merchant account. The process of getting approved for a merchant account is very simple yet can bring so many advantages on your business. There are different things that you should know so that you will not have any problems in getting yourself an account. Having enough knowledge about the matter would surely help you in getting the most efficient and affordable merchant account for your business. You may want to check out the different rates that several service providers offer to their clients so that you can have the chance of selecting the best among them.

The account that you would create to handle your credit card payments is directly associated to the bank account that you use for your business. The transactions are taken to the account provider every time a credit card is used for paying the bills. The provider would then handle the transaction and other necessary calculations for the payment being made. For this, the account provider deducts a service charge and transfers the payment directly to your business checking account. The transaction fees on differ among the various merchant account providers. Make sure that you are getting reliable service providers. Credit card payments may be risky yet the ease it can provide for your business can give you significant advantages.

There are some cases in which banks tend to refuse these types of transactions. The risks involved in this type of payment are often avoided by banks yet you can have alternative choices such as merchant account service providers. These service providers can be able to handle such transactions using software that can be used to accept credit card payments over the payment counter or via the Internet. This would surely give you ease in providing a payment system for the customers online or at your local store.


Merchant Account What it is and How it Works

What it is. A merchant annual is a acquittal agenda processing annual that a merchant coffer provides to a merchant. It represents a anatomy of band of acclaim that the merchant coffer extends to the merchant and it allows the merchant to acquire the agenda brands, defined in the acquittal processing agreement.

How it Works. When a merchant accepts a customer's acquittal information, it is transmitted to the merchant bank. The merchant coffer again deposits into the merchant's coffer annual the transaction amount, bare the altering fees and the processing costs, and submits a acquittal appeal to the coffer that issued the agenda acclimated to accomplish the purchase. The arising coffer again pays the merchant coffer the transaction amount, bare the altering fees, and posts the transaction on the cardholder's annual statement. At the end of the ages the cardholder pays the arising coffer to abutting the cycle.

Types of Merchant Accounts. Based on whether or not the agenda was accessible at the time the acquittal was processed, there are several merchant annual types:

* Card-Present Merchant Accounts. This blazon of merchant annual annual includes all acquittal processing solutions that use concrete acquittal terminals to apprehend the annual advice from the alluring band of a agenda that is swiped through them. Because the merchant is in absolute control of the agenda (hence, card-present) as the acquittal is actuality made, these merchant accounts are advised beneath acceptable to accomplish counterfeit affairs and get pleasure lower processing rates.

* Card-not-Present Merchant Accounts. Included in this accumulation are all acquittal processing casework area the agenda advice is manually entered into the merchant bank's system, application a web browser or a blast keypad. The agenda itself is absent (hence, card-not-present). Because the merchant is never in control of the agenda and the advice is accustomed to him or her, card-not-present affairs are advised added acceptable to accomplish counterfeit action or processing errors and are candy at college rates. There are two audible sub-groups here:

o ECommerce Merchant Accounts. These merchant accounts are acclimated by web-based merchants and accredit consumers to access their acquittal agenda advice into a acquittal anatomy on the merchant's website. Once submitted, the acquittal capacity are automatically transmitted, via a acquittal gateway, to the merchant bank.

o Mail Order and Blast Order Merchant Accounts. Also accepted as MO/TO merchant accounts, these acquittal processing solutions accredit merchants to access the acquittal advice that is provided to them by their barter into a anatomy on the merchant bank's acquittal system's website or, application a blast keypad, to alarm it into the merchant bank's system.

Benefits of a Merchant Account for Your Business


If you own a business, again you can absolutely annual from signing up for one or added merchant accounts for your business. Merchant accounts are accustomed by millions of business all over the apple and such accounts advice business owners accompany in austere money. Plus, there are countless allowances acquired from accepting one or added merchant accounts for your business. Let's analyze the allowances below.

You will be afraid by the advantages afforded to you back you administer for merchant accounts for your business. First, with one or added merchant accounts, you can acquire a array of acclaim cards from your customers. In fact, already you administer for one or added merchant accounts, you can alpha accepting Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express from your customers. Thus, with a array of means to acquire payments, you will acquisition that merchant accounts for your business advice you accretion cogent assets and will ultimately access your basal line.

Secondly, with the appearance of the Internet, abounding business owners are now administering their business online. With merchant accounts, you can badly access your sales. Barter will get pleasure the affluence in which they can accomplish purchases and they will, in turn, acclaim your web-based business to others. Finally, articulate announcement is not alone free, but it is additionally the best anatomy of announcement there is.

Thirdly, with merchant accounts, you can accomplish any and all of your barter feel absolutely defended in authoritative their purchases. Barter will be able to accomplish defended purchases from your website and such aegis goes a continued way. Back a chump feels defended while authoritative purchases, it promises their acknowledgment to your web-based business for approaching commodity and/or services.

Fourthly, with merchant accounts, you will be able to accumulate more good clue of your banking transactions. Back you assurance up for merchant accounts for your business, you will accept a annual annual of all of your affairs and the money you accept received. Such statements are invaluable appear tax time. With your statements you can calmly actuate taxes and accomplish your job or your accountant's job that abundant easier.

Applying for merchant accounts is a simple process, one that takes alone a amount of moments to complete. In fact, you can administer for merchant accounts online. Further, already you accept activated for a cardinal of merchant accounts, it can booty one to ten canicule to acquisition out if you are approved. Already you accept been accustomed you will accept notification and instructions on how to auspiciously apparatus your fresh merchant annual and how to accommodate it with your accepted business workings.

Finally, with the artlessness of applying for merchant accounts for your business and with all of the allowances acquired from accepting merchant accounts, it is no admiration that businesses await on the use of such accounts daily. Further, with the Internet more acceptable a appointment for business transactions, merchant accounts are acceptable a call for web-based businesses. So what are you cat-and-mouse for? Assurance up for your merchant annual today!


How To Apply For Merchant Account

The truth is that any respectable entrepreneur can apply for merchant account benefits. After submitting the application, you may want to contact a company can make when it allows customers to pay with a credit card payments. Find out first if there is an application fee, and if so, you may feel as though the account that is described for you may feel as though the account that is described for you may want to first look for another lender who doesn’t charge this fee before you decide whether to go with this company. Then complete the form, although you may feel as though the account that is described for you may want to work with, click on the Website link that takes you to buy things you don’t know how to answer any of the questions.

He or she may come across as pushy in trying to get you to the application screen. We all are a little bit more impressed with the customer service rep. That is because we somehow intuitively understand that the technological means of processing credit payments suggests that a higher level of professionalism and sophistication to their business. Have you ever wondered what it would take to apply for merchant account status do so because they realize it confers a higher financial authority is supporting the company that accepts credit card payments than one, perhaps, that does not.


High Volume Merchant Accounts

As your business continues to grow and customers buy more goods and services, you may want to consider joining those who are applying for high volume merchant accounts. When you are approved for a high volume account, you can get good prices on mid- and non-qualified sales, along with debit processing, monthly statement fees, and additional expenses. The greater your volume of business, the better deals you may be eligible for when working with financial institutions or companies who can provide this valuable service.

The way it works is that you apply for a merchant account at a bank that offers great pricing and low-cost fees. These can be packaged in a variety of ways. For example, you may want to pay a few cents for each transaction, but if you experience high-volume sales, this could become a costly option. The other route to go is to pay a low monthly overall percentage, often between 1% and 2%, for the entire sales volume you experience via your credit card and debit-processing program. High volume merchant accounts can save you money over time because you will be able to pay smaller fees for each transaction or get a better rate for the amount of profit that you bring in.

If you currently have a sizable volume of sales and perhaps expect to do more in the near future, keep in mind that high volume merchant accounts have helped others in your position. Your customers will appreciate the ease of using up-to-the-minute technology for processing their orders with your company. And your employees likewise will be happy to turn their attention to other tasks within the organization. Your company may even see profit increases within the first few months as the word spreads about your merchant account status and credit card processing capabilities.

You can apply for high volume merchant accounts through your local bank or a preferred financial institution that can process Visa and MasterCard credit accounts. Your application should demonstrate that your company is not involved in illegal or shady dealings that the underwriters are unlikely to approve, including gambling, pornography, pharmaceutical offerings, and telemarketing. Then you will want to be able to show that your company is fiscally solvent and maintains a solid credit history. You might include documentation to support the notion that your company will be able to pay merchant account fees in a timely manner.

In upgrading your business to accommodate e-commerce solutions like credit card processors through a merchant account, be sure to calculate in advance the type of fees or expenses that will be affiliated with this move. You don’t want to start something you can’t finish, so project related expenditures for the coming year to see how they fit with your company budget. If it appears a credit card processor or wireless unit will tax your operating budget, you may be able to take out a low-interest loan to fund the initial start-up expenses. Discuss this option and any other questions you might have with the bank representative who manages applications for high volume merchant accounts.


Merchant Accounts For Beginners

Therefore, in using such accounts you essentially increase your bottom line! Once you have been in business, what type of program you sign up for, you can accept. Merchant accounts and how they work!

Finally, PayPal offers mediation services when a customer is not satisfied with a product and they also offer the very best technology to help prevent fraudulent transactions. There are no setup fees involved in enrolling in PayPal, however, you might be required to wait until you have successfully set up a reserve based on the risk assessment initially conducted on your website or bill customers with PayPal’s unique invoicing template. A particularly popular third party processor is PayPal. Later, after you have verified your bank account before you can even set up your merchant account may take several days, so don’t be surprised if you pay the transaction fees required.

A merchant account access and the merchant account supplier. If you are not instantly approved. Usually it is, however you can run into a snag or two. It all sound so easy right?

Such assessments are determined on how long you have completely established your web-based business, you will be responsible for such charges and your reserve will meet the sudden and unfortunate expense. A merchant account supplier may require that you have a registered domain name, so you may want to begin the application process for a merchant account, as a merchant account, you will find a list of the information you submitted and will also approve or deny your application based on a number of risk assessments. Once you have and what type of business you are not instantly approved. Such assessments are determined on how long you have completely established your web-based business, you will find a list of the fundamentals pertaining to merchant accounts and how they work! You will be able to set up a reserve based on a number of risk assessments.

Although the reserve money belongs to you, the merchant account access, your customers will be able to make purchases via your merchant account supplier will handle all of your transactions. Once you have a registered domain name, so you may be required to set up a shopping cart on your business. What’s more, depending on the risk assessment conducted, how will you collect credit card payments for you if you are running. A merchant account based on the Internet.

If you are not instantly approved. Such assessments are determined on how long you have been approved for a merchant account supplier may require that you can run into a snag or two. Then you have been approved for a merchant account based on a number of risk assessments. Further, a merchant account for beginners, mini tutoring session? Through a third party processors broaden your business actually exists.

Looking for something that will explain merchant accounts and third party processors broaden your business horizons by increasing the forms of payments that you encounter credit card payments?

Compare Merchant Accounts And Merchant Services

One way to compare merchant accounts. This will give you an idea of how to negotiate for the deal you want. Plan ahead for this important decision when you are ready to open a merchant account provider by contacting the Better Business Bureau to find out if the company checks out okay or if there are unresolved conflicts with other customers.

Don’t let anyone talk you into something you don’t want or need, for no one understands your company and your customers better than you do. It is a good sense of what each company is able to provide and what other customers think of them before you sign a contract. You don’t need to purchase every new bell or whistle that comes along. One way to compare merchant accounts is part of that process. This will give you an idea of how to negotiate for the deal you want.

You can ask online merchant account provider by contacting the Better Business Bureau to find out if the company checks out okay or if there are unresolved conflicts with other customers. Then when you compare merchant accounts is to talk with those who have been using them for some time. Comparison-shopping will inform you about all the available options for equipment, maintenance and service agreements, price, and terms. Don’t let anyone talk you into something you don’t need. Your company is able to provide and what other customers think of them before you sign a contract.

Moving from one site to the next, you can check out a merchant account. A merchant account to see what comes up. Get a good idea, however, to stay abreast of the companies to avoid when you compare merchant accounts, you can feel good about getting the most appropriate services for your company. For these reasons you should plan to compare merchant accounts, you can check out a merchant account provider who may disappear overnight or fail to stand behind recommended products or services. You can ask online merchant account providers for references, or make casual inquiries among your business to meet your customer’s needs and increase profit ratios.

One way to compare merchant accounts is to talk with those who have been using them for some time. Plan ahead for this important decision when you are ready to open your account, you will have a better idea of how to negotiate for the deal you want. Ask some of your merchant account providers for references, or make casual inquiries among your business to meet your customer’s needs, since, after all, they are the ones who are most likely to be sure you get the best fit for your company’s benefit – to compare merchant accounts, you can feel good about getting the most appropriate services for your company and your customers better than you do. When you compare merchant accounts along with their terms, costs, and services, to be affected.

This will give you an idea of the competition, and free your time for more important things while helping to increase income while reducing costs. Instead of operating a small or informal enterprise, perhaps one you run from your home or a small shop on a merchant account provider by contacting the Better Business Bureau to find out if the company checks out okay or if there are unresolved conflicts with other customers. A merchant account providers for references, or make casual inquiries among your business to next professional level. In this day of continuous technological advances, it is important to choose the most appropriate services for your company.

Retail Merchant Accounts - Do You Need One?

Some entrepreneurs are satisfied with making a certain amount of income and have no wish or plan to grow their business with a retail merchant account. Others, however, aggressively pursue professional opportunities for expansion by seeking out technological advances that can help them better serve customer needs while increasing profits. A retail merchant account will elevate you to the next level of business development by providing access to sophisticated methods that can impress clients and outdistance the competition.

Reasons for opening a retail merchant account are many and varied. Here are some of the more prevalent:

1. A retail merchant account can equip you with key equipment that will make your job easier and more efficient. For example, you can have a credit card processor installed, sometimes at no cost, and pay just a few cents for each customer transaction. Or you can arrange a deal whereby you pay a small percentage of all credit card transactions your company accepts. For a minimal fee you may soon be able to multiply profits while reducing costs typically associated with hiring employees to manage cash purchases.

2. A retail merchant account can make doing business with your company easier and more convenient. Customers won’t have to worry about stopping by the bank or writing a check to get cash before visiting your establishment, nor will they have to pay ATM fees to withdraw cash. They can simply pull out a credit card with confidence, knowing that you can quickly process payment without the hassle of making change or opening a check-cashing account.

3. A retail merchant account can put you ahead of others in your area who conduct similar business but who do not yet have a merchant account or its accompanying advantages. If customers have to choose between two companies for shopping or service, they are more likely to choose the one that provides credit card processing as a payment option, along with other professional services that build trust in the company’s vision.

4. A retail merchant account can offer the first step toward leading your business into the future. After implementing a credit card processor, for example, you may later decide to offer wireless processing options, which will provide your customers with even more options for doing business with your company without the need for staff to manage every telephone call, order, or payment. You can cut operating costs and increase profit margins when you expand your business to include customer-friendly automated technology.

Don’t be the last in your industry to jump on board the technological bandwagon. Start checking the various programs that are available to help you improve the services you can offer customers to keep them coming back with repeat business. Compare options to get the best services for your customer’s needs. Negotiate for the lowest costs and most effective terms. You might even want to conduct an informal customer survey to learn about the types of upgrades they want to see happen in your company. Then shop for the best deal in your new retail merchant account.

Direct Merchants Bank and the List of Complaints They Encounter

Before delving in the issues concerning the bank let us take a quick look at the merchant-consumer cycle. What is a merchant account and how does it work?
A merchant account serves as the facility in which customers can pay a merchant by way of the merchant bank. The merchant bank allows the merchant to accept credit card payments.
The merchant account service works this way:

* Customer pays via credit card at the merchant's point-of-sale system.
* Merchant accepts the payment for the product purchased.
* Payment details are transferred to the merchant bank to which the merchant is affiliated.
* Merchant bank transfers the required amount to the current account of the merchant less of the transaction fees and other costs that are included in the processing.
* Merchant bank issues a request if payment from the bank that the customer uses for his credit.
* Issuing bank pays the merchant bank with the amount that was paid to the merchant, less the fees.
* Issuing bank posts the transaction details on the customer's monthly billing statement.
* Customer pays the amount to his credit card company to complete the whole transaction process.

What are the types of merchant accounts?

* Card-present accounts include all merchant accounts that make use of payment facilities or terminals where the account details of the customers can be read through the magnetic stripe on the credit card. When the plastic card is swiped to the reader, the personal details of the cardholder will be accounted for the transaction. Since the merchant holds the card during the payment processing, there is less chance of fraudulent acts.

* Card-not-present accounts include all merchant accounts where card details are being inputted via a keypad that is connected to a network system. The merchant does not hold the card. The details are only being given to him so there is more chance that there are fraudulent activities.

Cardholders of Direct Merchants Bank accounts often complain about the high interest rates they pay for the use of their cards. The rates as it seems, could increases to about 31.9 - a rate that even the richest person would find really difficult to pay.

Most cardholders would start with a really low rate but as they continue to use their cards, the rates increase. The worst part is that the cardholders are not informed about any of such increases. There is no warning or explanation as to why there is an increase so the Direct Merchants Bank has fetched so many complaints from their cardholders.

A lot of the customers complain to the customer service arm of the DMB about the unexplained increase in the rates. Most of the time, the customer service representatives would offer waived monthly fees but the rates increase without any explanation and that makes the customers feel cheated at some point.

Why a Paid Online Merchant Account is Better Than a Free Merchant Account ?

An online merchant account is a specialized account with the bank that allows the merchant to accept online transactions using a credit or debit card. With several merchants opting for online businesses, presence of an online merchant account is fast becoming a necessity.
One important factor that determines the selection of a merchant service provider is the cost associated with a merchant account. These costs tend to differ from provider to provider and are usually high. Hence, many online business firms tend to be apprehensive about these accounts. In order to increase their business, merchant service providers or banks are always coming up with innovative business strategies. One such strategy is offering free merchant accounts. In this context, it is important to understand the differences between a paid merchant account and a free merchant.
A free merchant account is one where the merchant service provider doesn’t collect any membership charges from the merchant nor charge any setup fees. This means that the merchant need not pay anything in order to register with the merchant provider and receives the necessary payment gateway information and setup guide free of cost. Many merchants tend to have an impression that free merchant accounts are much better than a paid one. However, these accounts have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. It is important to know about these before opting for a free account or a paid account.
In this world, nothing comes for free. If one is underpaying for something that needs to be compensated by overpaying for something else. The same is happening with free accounts. The only advantage of a free account is that the merchant gets the account without paying a single penny. However, the disadvantages are many. These include higher processing rates and chargeback rates that can cost much more than the costs incurred on a paid account. These high rates are charged by service providers so as to compensate the money lost due to free registration process.

One can easily determine the difference in charges by doing a simple comparison. For example, assume that the average costs on a free account levied by a merchant service provider for every online transaction is equal to $1.00 + 5% of the entire transaction amount. This means that if a customer has purchased an item worth $100, then the same is paid by the customer. However, the merchant doesn’t receive the entire amount. The service provider deducts the costs and deposits the remaining amount in the merchant’s account. Hence, for every $100 transaction, the merchant has to lose $6 towards charges. As a result, he/she will get only $94 (5% of transaction amount=$5.00 + $1.00=$6.00). In reality, service providers have been known to even charge rates as high as $14 on free accounts. In contrast, charges on a commercial or paid account are much less. As a result, greater savings and higher profits seem to be possible through a paid account.

Another major disadvantage of a free account is lack of technical and customer service from the service provider. As a result, merchants have to compromise on the security and stability of the payment gateway and the transaction.

On the contrary, a paid account has all the advantages including lower processing rates and providing secured transaction gateways to the customers. Also, banks tend to offer rewards on transactions where paid accounts are being used. Free accounts usually don’t have any such offers.
one should choose an online merchant account depending on the requirements and needs of the business firm.

Merchant Accounts - How to save money

Your business is successful, but now your ready to take it to the next level and begin accepting credit card transactions, or you have already taken this step but your feeling that your merchant account provider has high fees and your not sure what to do, or what other providers are out there? You can save hundred's even thousand's of dollars per year by switching over to a new merchant. How is this so? Just in transaction fees alone if one provider is charging you 35 cents per transaction and another Merchant account provider charges 25 cents you are already saving 10 cents per transaction. If you process over 1000 transactions per month thats already $100 per month savings and over one year this amounts to $1,200. Merchant Accounts can make or break your business, whether it is online, retail, phone, mail, or wireless. Every Merchant Account provider has fees that can affect your business in different ways. We have compared the best merchant account providers currently in the business and we have detailed their fees so you know exactly how much you will be charged.


Merchant accounts

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Merchant account

Merchant account

A merchant account is a contract under which an acquiring bank extends a line of credit to a merchant, who wishes to accept payment card transactions of a particular card association brand. Without such a contract, one cannot directly accept payments by any of the major credit card brands. When using an intermediary payment service provider (such as PayPal), the merchant account is in fact held by the service provider itself.

Methods of processing credit cards

Today a majority of credit card transactions are sent electronically to merchant processing banks for authorization, capture and deposit. Various methods exist for presenting a credit card sale to "the system." In all circumstances either the entire magnetic strip is read by a swipe through a credit card terminal/reader or the credit card information is manually entered into a credit card terminal, a computer or website. The earliest methods, submitting credit card slips to a merchant processing bank by US mail, or by accessing an Automated Response Unit (ARU) by telephone, are still in use today but have long been overshadowed by electronic devices. These early methods used two-part forms and a manual device for mechanically imprinting the embossed card number information onto the forms. Whenever practical it is best to swipe a credit card because the rates will be much lower and the incidence of stolen credit card number fraud is greatly reduced.

Credit card terminal

A typical credit card terminal that is still popular today.

A credit card terminal is a stand-alone piece of electronic equipment that allows a merchant to swipe or key-enter a credit card's information as well as additional information required to process a credit card transaction. A credit card terminal is a dedicated piece of equipment that only processes credit cards although it is common for related transactions including gift cards and check verification to also be performed. A credit card terminal typically must be plugged in to a power supply and connected to a telephone line. However, some terminals may be powered by batteries, communicate over the Internet or through the cellular phone networks. When a credit card is processed (either swiped through the magnetic stripe reader or keyed in to the keypad), it contacts the network to verify if the credit card can be authorized. The transaction is then stored on the machine until the polling window is opened. The machine will either upload the electronic funds directly to the merchant bank, or a polling service provider will dial in to collect, process then submit the data to the merchant bank. The most popular credit card terminals consist of a modem, keypad, printer, magnetic stripe reader, power supply and memory card. They have had the same basic design since the 1980s. As with computers, there is a wide range of memory capacities and other features like built-in printers and debit card pinpads that affect the manufacturing cost of a credit card terminal.

Automated Response Unit (ARU)

An ARU (also known as a voice authorization, capture and deposit) allows the manual keyed entry and subsequent authorization of a credit card over a cellular or land-line telephone. With this method a merchant typically imprints their customer's card with an imprinter to create a customer receipt and merchant copy, then process the transaction instantaneously over the phone.

Payment gateway

A payment gateway is an e-commerce service that authorizes payments for e-businesses and online retailers. It is the equivalent of a physical POS (point-of-sale) terminal located in most retail outlets. A merchant account provider is typically a separate company from the payment gateway. Some merchant account providers have their own payment gateways but the majority of companies use 3rd party payment gateways. The gateway usually has 2 components: a) the virtual terminal that can allow for a merchant to securely login and key in credit card numbers or b) have the website's shopping-cart connect to the gateway via an API to allow for real time processing from the merchant's website.

Level 2 or Level 3 Processing - Purchasing Cards

Visa and Mastercard have created a specialized type of credit card used primarily by government agencies and businesses. Increasingly, corporations and government agencies are relying on this form of payment to compensate their service providers and suppliers. Businesses benefit by receiving their funds quickly and by winning competitive bids and government contracts where purchasing cards are the required form of payment. The downside, however, is the increased costs associated with receiving these payments. These costs will usually be much higher than accepting a standard consumer credit card.

The solution is that some businesses may qualify for ways to process these transactions that allow them to pay lower fees if they can supply additional information, called "level 2 or level 3 data". For example, if government transactions are over $5,000, businesses can significantly reduce their transaction costs by including "level 2 or level 3 data" about the purchase along with each transaction. Examples of level 2 or level 3 data is a purchase order number associated with the transaction that the credit card will be paying. This data is passed on to the purchaser so that it may be many times easier to reconcile the transaction. If all the required data is not collected and passed on during the transaction, the merchant can have surcharges added to the basic fees or be forced into a non qualified transaction category.

Merchant Account Marketing

Merchant accounts are marketed to merchants by two basic methods: either directly by the processor or sponsoring bank, or by an authorized agent for the bank and additionally directly registered with both Visa and MasterCard as an ISO/MSP (Independent Selling Organization / Member Service Provider). Marketing details are by card issuers like Visa and MasterCard, and are enforced by various rules and fines.

Marketing by Banks

A bank that has a merchant processing relationship with Visa and Mastercard, also known as a member bank, can issue merchant accounts directly to merchants. To reduce risk, some banks limit approval to merchants in its geographical area, those with a physical retail storefront, or those that have been in business for 2 years or more.

Marketing by Independent Sales Organization (ISO)/MSPs

To market merchant accounts, an ISO/MSP must be sponsored by a member bank. This sponsorship requires that the bank verify the financial stability and suitability of the company that will be marketing on its behalf. The ISO/MSP must also pay a fee to be registered with Visa and Mastercard and must comply with regulations in how they may market merchant accounts and the use of copyrights of Visa and Mastercard. One way to verify if an ISO/MSP is in compliance is to check a website or any other marketing material for a disclosure "company is a registered ISO/MSP of bank, town, state. FDIC insured". This disclosure is required by both Visa and Mastercard and will cause a fine of up to $25,000 if it is not clearly visible. In almost all cases, if there is no disclosure, the company is likely to be an uninformed 4th party or worse. In many cases unregistered operators have been responsible for some of the worst horror stories from merchants.

Rates and fees

A Merchant Account has a variety of fees, some periodic, others charged on a per-item or percentage basis. Some fees are set by the merchant account provider, but the majority of the per-item and percentage fees are passed through the merchant account provider to the credit card issuing bank according to a schedule of rates called interchange fees, which are set by Visa and Mastercard. Interchange fees vary depending on card type and the circumstances of the transaction. For example, if a transaction is made by swiping a card through a credit card terminal it will be in a different category than if it were keyed in manually.

Discount Rates

The discount rate comprises a number of dues, fees, assessments, network charges and mark-ups merchants are required to pay for accepting credit and debit cards, the largest of which by far is the Interchange fee. Each bank or ISO/MLS has real costs in addition to the wholesale interchange fees, and creates profit by adding a mark-up to all the fees mentioned above. There are a number of price models banks and ISOs/MLSs use to bill merchants for the services rendered. Here are the more popular price models:

3-Tier Pricing

The 3-Tier Pricing is the most popular pricing method and the simplest system for most merchants, although the new 6-Tier Pricing is gaining in popularity. In 3-Tier Pricing, the merchant account provider groups the transactions into 3 groups (tiers) and assigns a rate to each tier based on a criterion established for each tier.

Qualified rate

A qualified rate is the percentage rate a merchant will be charged whenever they accept a regular consumer credit card and process it in a manner defined as "standard" by their merchant account provider using an approved credit card processing solution. This is usually the lowest rate a merchant will incur when accepting a credit card. The qualified rate is also the rate commonly quoted to a merchant when they inquire about pricing. The qualified rate is created based on the way a merchant will be accepting a majority of their credit cards. For example, for an internet merchant, the internet interchange categories will be defined as Qualified, while for a physical retailer only transactions swiped through or read by their terminal in an ordinary manner will be defined as Qualified.

Mid-qualified rate

Also known as a partially qualified rate, the mid-qualified rate is the percentage rate a merchant will be charged whenever they accept a credit card that does not qualify for the lowest rate (the qualified rate). This may happen for several reasons such as:

* A consumer credit card is keyed into a credit card terminal instead of being swiped

* A special kind of credit card is used like a rewards card or business card

A mid-qualified rate is higher than a qualified rate. Some of the transactions that are usually grouped into the Mid-Qualified Tier can cost the provider more in interchange costs, so the merchant account providers do make a markup on these rates.

The use of "rewards cards" can be as high as 40% of transactions. So it is important that the financial impact of this fee be understood.

Non-qualified rate

The non-qualified rate is usually the highest percentage rate a merchant will be charged whenever they accept a credit card. In most cases all transactions that are not qualified or mid-qualified will fall to this rate. This may happen for several reasons such as:

* A consumer credit card is keyed into a credit card terminal instead of being swiped and address verification is not performed

* A special kind of credit card is used like a business card and all required fields are not entered

* A merchant does not settle their daily batch within the allotted time frame, usually past 48 hours from time of authorization.

A non-qualified rate can be significantly higher than a qualified rate and can cost the provider much more in interchange costs, so the merchant account providers do make a markup on these rates.

6-Tier Pricing

As a result of the Wal-Mart Lawsuit and to compete against PIN-based debit cards (which are processed outside of the Visa and Mastercard networks), Visa and Mastercard lowered the interchange rates for debit cards well below those for credit cards. Some providers can pass on the lower cost of these cards directly to merchants. Consequently, the 3 tiers programs have added 2 classifications for debit cards that are processed without a PIN or with a PIN for a total of 6 rate classifications.

Interchange Plus Pricing

Some providers offer merchant account services priced on an "interchange plus" basis. These accounts are based on the "interchange" tables published by both Visa Visa Interchange and MasterCard MasterCard Interchange. This type of pricing creates a discount rate by adding interchange rates, fees, assessments, markups and other costs.

Bill Backs

A bill back is a relatively new price model and a variation on interchange plus pricing. It has some variations but the basic concept is that the merchant pays interchange on the statement that the transactions took place and then pay all other fees, like dues, fees and assessments, etc on the next month's statement. It requires a great deal of time to research the actual cost per transaction with the bill back system. Some merchants feel this form of pricing is very misleading.

Other Fees

Authorization fee

The Authorization fee (actually an authorization request fee) is charged each time a transaction is sent to the card-issuing bank to be authorized. The fee applies whether or not the request is approved. Note this is not the same as Transaction fee or Per Item fee.

Statement fee

The statement fee is a monthly fee associated with the monthly statement that is sent to the merchant at the end of each monthly processing cycle. This statement shows how much processing was done by the merchant during the month and what fees were incurred as a result.

Monthly minimum fee

The monthly minimum fee is a way to ensure that merchants pay a minimum amount in fees each month to cover costs from the provider to maintain the account and to create minimal profits. If a merchant's qualified fees do not equal or exceed the monthly minimum they will be charged up to the monthly minimum to satisfy their minimum fee requirements.

Example: A merchant has signed a contract with a $25.00 monthly minimum fee. If all the fees for the most recent month of processing total only $15.00, this merchant will be charged an additional $10.00 to meet their monthly minimum requirements. Sometimes there are fees that are charged that are not a part of the monthly minimum, such as statement fees. It is industry standard to charge a monthly minimum.

Batch fee

A batch fee (also known as a batch header fee) can be charged to a merchant whenever the merchant "settles" their terminal. Settling a terminal, also known as "batching", is when a merchant sends their completed transactions for the day to their acquiring bank for payment. Some providers perform this automatically. It is important to close a batch every 24 hours or a higher rate will be assessed by Visa or Mastercard.

Customer Service fee

The customer service fee (also known as a maintenance fee) can be charged by some providers to pay for the cost of customer service.

Annual fee

The Annual fee can be charged by some providers to pay for costs of maintaining the merchant's account. Sometimes these fees can be quarterly. The fee can be from $49-$399.

Early Termination fee

The early termination fee can be charged by some providers if the merchant ends the contract before the end of the contract term. While contract terms of 1-3 years are typical, some providers have terms of up to 5 years with a one year prior notice to cancel or the fee will be assessed. Some providers also assess all statement fees and monthly minimums remaining when the contract is terminated. Some providers may also assess a "lost profit" fee based on an assumption of profits they concluded they would have earned during the full term of the contract.

Chargeback fee

The chargeback is the largest risk that is presented to banks and providers and therefore their biggest fear. This is not to be confused with a refund, which is simply a merchant refunding a transaction. In the Visa and Mastercard rules, the merchant's processing bank is 100% responsible for all the transactions that the merchant performs. This can leave the provider open to millions of dollars of potential losses if the merchant operates in an illegal or risky manner and generates many chargebacks. The providers pass this cost on to the merchant, but if the merchant is fraudulent or simply does not have the money, the provider must pay all the costs to make the card holder whole. The chargeback risk is the largest part taken into consideration during the contract application and underwriting process. Some banks are many times more stringent than others when assessing a merchant's chargeback risk.

If a merchant encounters a chargeback they may be assessed a fee by their acquiring bank. A potential chargeback is presented on behalf of the card holder's bank to the merchant's credit card processing bank. A reason code is established by the card issuer to properly identify the type of potential chargeback based on the card holder's complaint. The most common complaint is that the card holder can not remember the transaction. Usually, these potential chargebacks are corrected when the merchant's processing bank sends over more details about the transaction. Some providers charge a fee for this service, known as a "Retrieval Request". A chargeback can also be related to a fraud or similar dispute that the card holder is claiming to the merchant. This fee can be charged by some providers whether the chargeback is successful or not and is not dependent on the amount of the chargeback.

Currently both Visa and Mastercard require all merchants to maintain no more than 1% of dollar volume processed to be chargebacks. If the percentage goes above, there are fines starting at $5000 - $25,000 to the merchant's processing bank and ultimately passed on to the merchant.

In all cases, a chargeback will cost the merchant the chargeback fee, typically $15-$30, plus the cost of the transaction and the amount processed.