Archive for November, 2010

Merchant Services: What Every Small Business Needs to Know

Many Americans have been able to monetize their natural skills by opening a small business. Whether they are retailers, service providers, or web-based entities, these entrepreneurs are utilizing their personal expertise to fill a need in the marketplace. Small business owners have the potential to become very well compensated for their time and effort. However, acquiring this compensation means accepting their valued customers’ preferred methods of payment. Usually, this means welcoming credit card purchases — but the terms, technology, and fees of the merchant service industry are often overwhelming to small business owners. That’s why all individuals and companies should know the basics about merchant services.

Merchant Accounts

There are several different types of arrangements, known as merchant accounts, which small business owners can obtain. The most well known is the retail account, in which the proprietor engages in a face-to-face transaction with a credit card purchaser. For businesses that accept payment via telephone, fax, e-mail, standard mail, or any other method where the credit card itself is not viewed, a card-not-present account (also known as a mail order telephone order account) is often the most appropriate choice.

Internet accounts are designed for companies that accept credit card payments directly through their websites. A mobile account is like a retail account, but is used when the business owner accepts credit card payments in places other than his or her home base location (as is the case with repairmen or building cleaning services). Finally, a seasonal account can be set up for businesses that operate for only a portion of the year, such as fireworks stands, lawn services and Christmas tree sellers.

Merchant Services Middlemen

Small business owners should also understand that there are “middlemen” involved in merchant services transactions. The credit card companies themselves (Visa, Master Card, American Express, etc.) supply the credit cards and govern how the merchants can accept them. But these cards are issued through certain banks (Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, etc.), that screen the cardholders and set their credit limits. Communication between the issuing bank and the merchant is facilitated by an acquirer. Member service providers, independent sales organizations, and their agents often handle the equipment, processing, and other credit card-related services for the merchant. Finally, the credit card transactions themselves are processed over platforms and networks that may be owned or operated by an entirely different company.

Merchant Services Costs

All of these different middlemen receive a fee or percentage from each credit card transaction, and these costs are usually incurred by the small business owner. There are numerous different types of fees, but most are charged per transaction, on a recurring basis, or individually if a certain situation occurs.

The most visible (and often the largest) credit card cost that merchants pay comes from the periodic rate, which is the monetary percentage of each transaction that goes to the merchant account provider. The qualified rate is the lowest rate that can be assessed on a company’s transactions under a given agreement, and it usually comes with certain restrictions that must be met. If these criteria are not met, the merchant can be assessed surcharges of varying amounts or “demoted” to mid-qualified or non-qualified rates which are higher than the qualified rate.

The small business owner is also responsible for an interchange fee, which covers the communication networks that link the banks, credit card companies, processors, and other entities. Other costs include transaction fees (which are due each time a transaction is conducted regardless of the size) and authorization fees (which are charged whenever a business attempts to authenticate a card, even it the card is declined). There may also be monthly or annual fees associated with some merchant services accounts.

Merchant Services Transaction Information

Though most of the information mentioned so far is not relevant to the employees who actually conduct the transactions, there are some areas that a small business owner must review with his or her cashiers, clerks and salespeople. These individuals should know the difference between a consumer credit card and a debit card. Though these cards look the same, a debit card requires a Personal Identification Number (or PIN) to be entered by the cardholder, and the funds are immediately taken out of the person’s bank account. Furthermore, a purchasing card can only be used at certain businesses (these are also known as gift cards). Also, payment acceptors must know how to perform credit card transactions other than common purchases. They must be able to issue refunds, which involves transferring funds from the merchant’s account to the cardholder’s account. Front-line employees should also know how to void transactions, which means cancelling purchases already received in the event of an error or a customer changing his or her mind.

Merchant Services Payment

Finally, the small business owner must be aware of the process by which customers’ funds travel to the company’s bank account. Periodically (usually at the end of each day), a group of transactions (known as a batch) is transferred from the business to the processor via telephone, Internet or dedicated terminal. After this occurs, the small business owner usually receives the money within two or three business days. If the processor has a close relationship with the business’s bank, the lag time may be as short as 24 hours. Sometimes, various fees are subtracted from the batch totals before the money is deposited into a bank account.

It is important for small business owners to select the type of merchant services account that is right for them, and then learn all the processes, fee schedules and requirements associated with the arrangement. Companies should try to allow at least two or three weeks from the time of application to the first use of the merchant services account. Once the account is functioning properly, the small business owner can look forward to reaching a greater number of customers — and increasing his or her revenue as well.

Chris Martin is a freelance writer who writes about businesses and merchant services.


Article from articlesbase.com

Newton Forster The Merchant Service

Newton Forster The Merchant Service

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

List Price: $ 1.99

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Merchant Services Processing

Newton Forster The Merchant Service

Newton Forster The Merchant Service

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery.

List Price: $ 1.99

Price:

What to Expect when Working with a Merchant Services Provider

The world economy is growing more reliant upon eCommerce every day. Therefore it is natural for traditional business owners and entrepreneurs to make the logical evolution to online retail and web-based business. And when a business owner begins their venture into eCommerce, it will be crucial that they contract with a merchant services provider. While there are many merchant services providers out there, picking the right one will take some research and a solid foundation of knowledge. Merchant services providers are all different; it is crucial to figure out your requirements in order to identify the best fit for your business.

Payment Processing

Will your business require batch payment process or real-time payment process? With batch processing the order is then processed by an individual either by getting in touch with the payment processing company to confirm the legitimacy of the credit card number or by utilizing a point-of-sale terminal to swipe the card. The customer is notified immediately that the order is accepted when the credit card is verified, and the money is moved from the customer’s account to the merchant’s account. When deciding, take into account the amount of transactions that may occur. If you are anticipating a low volume of sales then this type of processing is something to consider. It is not as pricy as real-time processing. The main drawback to batch processing is the time factor. Real-time processing is more suited for bigger volume sales and for certain items that are sent over electronically.

Knowing Your Business

A business owner should be well-versed in their own financial reports; because these statistics are going to weigh heavily on what merchant services provider is chosen. For instance, if your products are inexpensive and sold in high volumes, then it would be logical to choose a provider that offers low transaction fees, typically between .20 and .70.

Additionally, some banks have a set amount of transactions a month. Thus, if you do not meet this minimum, you could be required to pay a separate fee. Other banks will ask you to project how many transactions you think will occur on your site. Your business’s strengths and weaknesses will also influence the type of services you need from your provider. For example, if you lack state-of-the-art resources, then it would be in your favor to choose a merchant account provider that emphasizes customer service.

Rates and Fees

Web based e-tailers and other eCommerce ventures need to be aware of the rates and fees they will be assessed when contracting with a merchant services provider. Typical fees include transaction fees, discount rates and set-up or application fees. Fees vary among the merchant services providers based on credit history, type of business, and transaction volume. Merchant accounts have several fees, some that are time based, and others that deal with a percentage format.

Assess your technology and service requirements. When an entrepreneur makes the jump to eCommerce, selecting a merchant services provider is only one of many aspects that have to be integrated together. Utilize a shopping cart solution and locate a merchant services provider, although many providers feature shopping cart solutions of their own.

Also required is payment system that processes transactions and a payment gateway to securely capture and process payments. Several merchant services providers offer systems that include each of these aspects. Many will bundle merchant services and other eCommerce services into their packages. Working alongside a merchant services provider that provides integrated services indicates that each level of the transaction works in conjunction with the other, meaning less difficulties on your end.

If the merchant services provider does not offer this type of service, the exact software that is used should be discovered. On occasion, a merchant account company will offer more affordable merchant services and then overcharge on software. A reputable merchant services provider will provide guidance about which type of software would be best for this situation.

Information such as this can be crucial to a business just starting out, that can literally not afford to make a mistake early on. Finding the right companies to partner with is a big step in the process of operating a successful business. Starting up an eCommerce venture is no easy task. If it was, everyone would do it! It is extremely important to know your own business inside and out; it will inevitably save you tons of time, effort and money.

Wesley Pritchard is a freelance writer who writes about businesses and merchant services.


Article from articlesbase.com

First Merchant Services Launches Website, Offers Free Cash Registers to Retail and Hospitality Merchants



First Merchant Services


Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) July 25, 2009

First Merchant Services today announced the launch of its new website at http://www.FirstMerchantServices.com/.

The website highlights the company’s strategic partnership with United Bank Card (UBC), one of the largest and most reputable payment processors in the United States, which enables First Merchant Services to offer free cash registers with fully integrated credit card processing to retail and hospitality merchants.

“This is our stimulus package for small businesses,” said a representative of First Merchant Services. “Retailers and hospitality merchants spent well over $ 1 billion last year on cash registers and credit card machines. Never again will they have such an expense when starting a business thanks to this special deal, made possible by the industry leaders at United Bank Card.”

When businesses open merchant accounts through First Merchant Services, they will automatically receive the most popular electronic cash registers (ECR), with fully-integrated credit card processing, completely free of charge. Furthermore, if a cash register breaks or malfunctions, a replacement cash register will be provided at no cost, so long as the business maintains a merchant account with First Merchant Services. Best of all, through its partnership with UBC, First Merchant Services is also able to offer some of the lowest transaction processing rates available.

First Merchant Services also offers a full suite of merchant services including an online merchant portal to manage your merchant account, check guarantee, gift and loyalty cards and more.

Merchants may contact 888-334-5210 to order their free electronic cash register and to request a competitive quote on merchant account rates.

About First Merchant Services:

First Merchant Services, a strategic sales partner of United Bank Card, offers free electronic cash registers (ECR) with fully integrated credit card processing to retail and hospitality merchants. Establishing a merchant account is easy with First Merchant Services. For more information, visit http://www.FirstMerchantServices.com/.

Press Contact:

E. Wagoner

First Merchant Services

PO Box 13017

Raleigh, NC 27605

http://www.FirstMerchantServices.com/

###





Credit Card Processing and Merchant Services

First Merchant Services Launches Website, Offers Free Cash Registers to Retail and Hospitality Merchants



First Merchant Services


Raleigh, NC (PRWEB) July 25, 2009

First Merchant Services today announced the launch of its new website at http://www.FirstMerchantServices.com/.

The website highlights the company’s strategic partnership with United Bank Card (UBC), one of the largest and most reputable payment processors in the United States, which enables First Merchant Services to offer free cash registers with fully integrated credit card processing to retail and hospitality merchants.

“This is our stimulus package for small businesses,” said a representative of First Merchant Services. “Retailers and hospitality merchants spent well over $ 1 billion last year on cash registers and credit card machines. Never again will they have such an expense when starting a business thanks to this special deal, made possible by the industry leaders at United Bank Card.”

When businesses open merchant accounts through First Merchant Services, they will automatically receive the most popular electronic cash registers (ECR), with fully-integrated credit card processing, completely free of charge. Furthermore, if a cash register breaks or malfunctions, a replacement cash register will be provided at no cost, so long as the business maintains a merchant account with First Merchant Services. Best of all, through its partnership with UBC, First Merchant Services is also able to offer some of the lowest transaction processing rates available.

First Merchant Services also offers a full suite of merchant services including an online merchant portal to manage your merchant account, check guarantee, gift and loyalty cards and more.

Merchants may contact 888-334-5210 to order their free electronic cash register and to request a competitive quote on merchant account rates.

About First Merchant Services:

First Merchant Services, a strategic sales partner of United Bank Card, offers free electronic cash registers (ECR) with fully integrated credit card processing to retail and hospitality merchants. Establishing a merchant account is easy with First Merchant Services. For more information, visit http://www.FirstMerchantServices.com/.

Press Contact:

E. Wagoner

First Merchant Services

PO Box 13017

Raleigh, NC 27605

http://www.FirstMerchantServices.com/

###





Credit Card Processing and Merchant Services

Microscope Image Processing

Microscope Image Processing

Digital image processing, an integral part of microscopy, is increasingly important to the fields of medicine and scientific research. This book provides a unique one-stop reference on the theory, technique, and applications of this technology.

Written by leading experts in the field, this book presents a unique practical perspective of state-of-the-art microscope image processing and the development of specialized algorithms. It contains in-depth analysis of methods coupled with the resu

List Price: $ 99.95

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Accept Credit Cards on your iPhone

Find out how you can accept credit cards on your iPhone with iSwipe, the affordable credit card terminal for the iPhone.

Kind And Generous (LP Version)

Kind And Generous (LP Version)

Price: $ 0.99

Accept Credit Card Payment By Cell Phone


Accept Credit Card Payment By Cell Phone An essential part of any mobile business is the ability to accept credit card payment by cell phone. In today’s fast paced world people now more than ever have mobile businesses and mobile work places instead of a static office or business location. Customers who utilize these services […]

Credit Card Processing: Small Business Services video
www.YourCCSolution.com Are you interested in credit card processing – small business? Merchant Warehouse was the first company to offer credit card processing services and equipment on the internet. We guarantee full disclosure on all potential fees or charges. Boost your business with our award-winning credit card services. Call 888.892.0929 today! Share on Facebook

Banking over Online Credit Card Processing
Banking over Online Credit Card Processing As the urge for simplified transactions in increasing among the individuals, the businesses all over the world are finding numerous ways to make their customers comfortable. Receiving the online payment from their customers through an online credit card processing gateway is seen as the biggest asset with an entrepreneur. […]

Farmers & Merchants Bank Move Your Money Commercial
Video Rating: 4 / 5 www.DrinkACT-Racing.com The Barre Highbanks, The Nation’s Site of Excitement, Thunder Road, opened it’s 2009 50th Anniversary Racing Season with the running of the Merchants Bank 150 American Tour Race. This is Part #1 Video Rating: 5 / 5 Share on Facebook

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