Wednesday, July 2, 2014

2 Perplexing Areas of Merchant Account Credit Card Acceptance

Accepting credit cards with a merchant account can be confusing, but no need to fear!  We are going to clear up two points of confusing when it comes to merchant account credit card acceptance.   Contracts are one part of accepting a credit card with a merchant account that people find confusing.  While it may be confusing, it is also one of the most important parts of credit card processing, so it cannot be avoided. If you do not completely understand the terms and conditions of your contract, you could be in for a rude awakening.  The smart thing to do is to always believe what is in the contract, not go off what you sales rep says to be true.

There is no formal or specialized education required to work for a merchant services provider, so be sure to do your own research and read your contract thoroughly.  You don’t want to be bombarded with fees and service limitations for you choose your merchant account credit card acceptance provider.  Here a few items that you should specially look for in your contract:

·         Cancellation fees
·         Length of contract
·         Equipment leasing information
·         Early termination fees
·         Annual fees
·         Setup fees
·         Monthly fees
·         Monthly minimum
·         Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance fees

PCI compliance is another perplexing aspect of accepting credit cards with a merchant account.  Credit card security is of the upmost importance because if your customer’s data gets stolen, not only will your reputation as a retailer be affected but you could also be hit with fines and lawsuits.  PCI compliance regulates credit card processing security standards for businesses.  Small businesses need to be aware of the PCI compliance guidelines, and make sure they vendors are complying as well. 

When it comes to merchant account credit card acceptance, the most important thing is to be informed. If you do your research and ask the right questions, all of your concerns about merchant accounts will be cleared up in no time.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Wondering "what are merchant account services"? Find answers here!

So you've decided to start an online store to expand your customer base.  Let's face it; everybody has an online option to shop for his or her goods nowadays. Perhaps you just decided to open a business online for the first time, and you realized you first have to set up a merchant account. Every business that operates online should begin by asking, "just what are merchant account services"? Here is the answer to that important question in a nutshell:
  • A merchant account services involve an arrangement with a bank or clearinghouse to accept credit card payments into a special bank account set up for your business.
  • A merchant account takes the credit card information and approves the transaction for you. By authorizing each request, the merchant is protected from fraudulent cards or cardholders that have exceeded their credit limit.
  • Then the bank collects funds from the bank that issued the credit card.
  • Sends the payment to the merchant.

You might also know merchant account services as credit card processing. Each step I've described here is much more complex, but paying for merchant account services takes on that complexity so you don't have to. You might be thinking that this service sounds too good to be true and must be very expensive. It actually is the most cost effective way of accepting credit card payments. You also have the option of choosing to have one service to authorize the payments and get a merchant account yourself with your chosen bank. Some new businesses find it simpler just to use the all-in-one service. Either way, merchant account services are the way to go!

Friday, May 30, 2014

What if My Restaurant Merchant Services Account is Declined?

More and more restaurants are realizing that opening a merchant account is in their best interest.  However, applications to open a restaurant merchant services account are not always approved.  What should you do if this happens?  Some merchant services companies may be willing to negotiate.  Just because you were declined does not mean it is set in stone.  If your application to open a restaurant merchant services account was declined, respond in a respectful and professional manner.  For example, you could say: 

“Thank you for considering our application for a restaurant merchant services account. I am familiar with the risks associated with allowing businesses to open a merchant services account and recognize that there are reasons I might not be approved. However, I would like to reinforce that we would love the opportunity to work with your business and would take this partnership very seriously. If there is anything we can do to give you peace of mind about working with us, like providing cash collateral or security, we would be happy to discuss this option. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to have our business approved for a restaurant merchant services account.”

The wording above is a good suggestion, but be sure to customize your message to your specific audience. The main goal in this messages is to let them know that you sincerely want to work with their business. In general, the more transparent you are about risk and security, the more likely you are to be approved for a restaurant merchant services account. Once you have shown that you are a serious, stable, and financially sound business, you will be able to enjoy the freedom that comes with running your business with a restaurant merchant services account.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Reasons Why Your Business Should Make the Switch to a Tablet POS System

The age of mobile technology has sprouted some amazing advances, allowing business to perform vital processes from just about anywhere. It was only a matter of time before tablet POS systems became a popular solution to merchant account management and sale processing.

Many systems like Clover allow merchants to begin processing sales right out of the box. This type of tablet POS system comes with everything you need to process sales and track account information. They normally include a receipt printer, cash register, and fully customizable tablet-based processor which can process sales, scan bar codes, and keep tabs on things like orders, customer information, cash logs, and much more.  
In addition, you are in control from just about anywhere when using tablet POS systems. These systems work off wireless technology; allowing you to take advantage of everything the system has to offer from anywhere in the cloud. Whether you are a trade show or on vacation, you will be able to process sales and check transaction status from your handheld device.

When using of your tablet POS system, you can rest assured your business and customer information is safe and secure. Tablet POS systems employ a rigorously layered security protocols including end to end encrypting card readers, locked-down operating systems, mutually authenticated SSL, and frequent penetration testing.

Customizing your tablet POS system is as easy as visiting your app store. You can add and delete features as needed. Depending on your business, your POS system can adapt, giving you complete control over sales and transactions whether cash or credit. 

Tablets are set to become the standard for up-and-coming POS technology, allowing businesses more control over sales, customers, and product and service management. In order to get the most out of your merchant service, consider the tablet POS system to customize the way you do business.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Business Tips: How to Prepare for eCommerce Merchant Account Services

Whether you are starting a new business or you are expanding your services, ecommerce merchant account can increase profits and customer satisfaction. It is important to remember that whichever ecommerce merchant account service provider you choose, you are prepared for your new service.

In most cases, setting up your ecommerce merchant account is simple and quick. However, the paperwork, credit checks, and other factors can sometimes delay your approval for services. Knowing this, you should try to begin setting up your account at least a few weeks before your new business opens.

Investigating ecommerce merchant account service providers is the first step in securing a merchant account. Make sure you choose a company or bank you trust. Check their track record with other clients, investigate their rates, and speak with representatives. Once you feel you have found a good match, start the process by filling out the proper paperwork.

Once you begin the process of acceptance, the representative from the ecommerce merchant account provider or bank will likely ask you about projected sales, your current sales, and how many of these sales you suspect your customers will use their credit or debit card for. When projecting your sales, be sure to have the paperwork to back up your claims. If you severely overshoot projected credit card sales, these could eventually increase your rates with the ecommerce merchant account provider.

Once you have been accepted for a merchant service account, be sure to keep good records of sales, taxes, profits, and losses. This will help you properly fill out tax and income information for the IRS. Since 2011, merchant service providers have had to submit their transaction records to the IRS. Having paperwork to reconcile the transactions submitted to the IRS by your merchant service provider could save you an audit in the long run.

Choosing the right provider and keeping the right records is the key to maximizing profit and customer satisfaction. In addition, you will reap all the positive benefits business owners have come to expect from their merchant service provider.

For more information about small business credit card processing, check out this blog!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Advantages of having a Merchant Service Accounts for NPOs

The benefits of credit card processing for businesses are limitless, but what about for non-profit organizations? NPOs can enjoy some serious advantages by allowing donors to conveniently make payments using their debit or credit card. Whether you NPO accepts monthly, yearly, or quarterly donations, a merchant service account can help keep the resources flowing and your donation records organized.

Top Reasons NPOs Should Implement Merchant Services Accounts

Consistent Cash Flow: When setting up an NPO merchant services account, the organization can enable donors to make donations each month, quarter, or year. This predetermined amount will be billed to the donor on a consistent basis according to the donation agreement.

Easier Reporting: If the donor pays with a credit or debit card, the donors credit card statement will show the NPOs name. This allows for easier reporting of charitable donations during tax time. 

Donor Convenience: Just as with business merchant services accounts, NPOs and donors can benefit from the convenience merchant service accounts offer. Whether at an event or at the NPOs headquarters, donors can make donations without the hassle of writing a check or going to the ATM.

Branding Capabilities: Just like for profit businesses, NPOs need a brand. Social media, email marketing campaigns, and live events are all tools to get the word out about the NPOs cause. With merchant services, donations can be taken as the donor browses your cause, news, and upcoming events. 

As with any new payment system implementation, the NPO must investigate what system will work best for their cause. Credit card and debit card processing systems vary from merchant service account to merchant service account. The NPO must decide whether or not they would like mobile equipment, stand alone processors, and/or mobile devices to process donations. 

Whichever route the NPO chooses, the organization will no doubt benefit from the implementation of a merchant services account. It is important for the NPO to research which merchant service company will suit their needs and the needs of their donors the best.  For more information about running a non-profit, click here.

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Importance of Credit Card Processing Security and How to Maintain PCI DSS Compliant

Credit Card Processing Security

There are many different factors to take into consideration when you are looking for a payment processor for your company. It can really hurt your business and cost you dearly if you do not find a processor that fits your business needs or one that cannot guarantee credit card processing security.

Two Most Important Credit Card Processing Security Tips:

Safeguarding Your Customers' Personal Data

You might not realize it, but if you are processing credit card transactions through a merchant account, it is your responsibility to ensure your customers' credit card data is safeguarded and secure. In fact, you will see on the contract you sign small print that will state something along the lines of your business having to be "PCI Compliant." Safeguarding account information is a big part in this, along with the service provider you use, and how you store this personal data.

There are card brand regulations and rules that your business must follow, when accepting payments. A dedicated compliance team can help keep you compliant. They can help with taking you through the process to avoid fines or just point you in the right direction.

Opting for Additional Credit Card Processing Security

A good thing to look into is a solution that take all the hard work away from you and makes secure credit card processing just plain easy.  Tools and solutions like this help with data theft.  In some cases, you will even find credit card security solutions that do not even keep customer payment information in your environment.  Instead, these solutions actually take turn the cardholder’s data into tokens that are made up of random numbers and are meaningless to thieves.  Also, many of these solutions will even help you with PCI DSS compliance by enabling you to spend less time and resources on these requirements since you are not actually storing private customer payment information in the first place.  The provider is the entity who will have access to this information so you can keep track of vital customer interactions.