Archive for the ‘Merchant Services Processing’ Category

Merchant Services: Position Your Company for Prosperity

If you’ve recently started a small business and would like to take your services—and profits— to the next level, a great way to increase convenience, and therefore customers, is by starting a merchant account.

A merchant account is a special type of account for businesses that lets you process credit cards for payments. While most consumers take the use of credit and debit cards for granted, the processes involved are actually very complicated. Additionally, the application process alone for establishing a merchant account is rather lengthy and detailed.

If you’re new to merchant accounts and the different ways in which a business can charge credit cards, it’s a good idea to get the basics under your belt before applying for one. There are many different providers of merchant services available to business owners and many options to weigh before finally establishing your account as well. Take a few moments to learn the ins and outs of merchant accounts with this quick crash course.

Account Providers

There are two kinds of providers able to offer merchant accounts and their services to businesses: independent sales organizations, or ISOs, and merchant banks. Each have their special perks and drawbacks.

Merchant Banks – This type of bank differs from normal investment banks in that their main operating objective is to turn profits by making investments of their own capital. They often provide loans for small businesses in addition to offering other banking services for businesses.
ISOs – Independent sales organizations are licensed third party brokers who exist specifically to handle credit card processing. These companies act as a middleman between businesses and banks, but come with a few very practical extras. ISOs typically offer an array of services dealing with credit card processing including customer service, equipment sales and leasing, settlement management and more.

Before establishing a contract between a merchant bank or ISO, it’s important that you do your homework. Legitimate ISOs should be able to prove sponsorship by and certification from an FDIC certified parent bank. Be sure your ISO has disclosed evidence of its official affiliation with a reputable and insured bank before signing any agreements.

Types of Payment Processing

There a three basic ways of processing credit cards. When you set up your merchant account, you can choose one or a combination of methods to best suit your business. Each method, however, comes with its own abilities, limitations and fees.

Retail Merchant Accounts

Retail merchant accounts offer the most familiar way of processing credit cards. They are best suited to businesses with a storefront or other physical point of sale, such as restaurants, grocery stores or hotels. This type of account requires obtaining a credit card terminal that reads and processes swiped credit cards nearly instantly via an internet connection. Terminals are usually offered for sale or lease by your ISO.

This type of merchant account comes with the cheapest fees of the three since it is considered the most secure. ISOs typically charge a processing fee of around 1.79% of the total of each credit card transaction. Retail merchant accounts require that at least 80% of credit card transactions are processed with the card holder present.

Mail Order – Telephone Order Accounts

Mail order – telephone order accounts, also known as MOTO accounts, are an excellent option for businesses that process credit cards via phone or mail order form. They also make sense for businesses that do a blend of in person and remote credit card transactions. With this type of account, business owners or employees must submit credit card information manually to the ISO via telephone or the web.

Because the potential for human error and intentional credit card fraud is much higher for MOTO accounts than other types, they typically charge the highest fees per transaction. MOTO accounts are also at a disadvantage to other types since the customer is usually not present if the card is declined.

Internet Merchant Account

Perhaps the most versatile type of credit card processing available to businesses without a storefront is done through an internet merchant account. For most smaller businesses, internet merchant accounts provide a third party payment gateway where potential buyers are directed when ready to make payments. These gateways offer secure servers where customers enter billing and shipping information.
Most internet merchant account providers offer a “shopping cart” style function that allows consumers to browse items, easily select products they wish to purchase and pay in a few simple steps. This type of account charges fees slightly higher than retail merchant accounts — around 2.3% of each purchase per transaction.  

By making it simpler and more accessible for potential customers to consume your company’s products or services, a merchant account can offer a decisive competitive edge over similar companies that require more antiquated or slower methods of payment.

Scott Strubel is a freelance writer who writes about a range of topics including business strategy and merchant services.

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Merchant Services Basics: How Your Business Can Benefit

You’re looking into acquiring a merchant services account for your business. This is a very important step toward your business and financial success. Accepting credit card payments is the only way to go in the business world. Ask any business owner, and they’ll tell you the same thing. Your clients will be so happy you took this step, and you’re bound to gain many more because of this decision.

The process of accepting credit cards is very straightforward. It’s quick, easy and efficient. When customers present credit cards for payment, this gives the card holders the ability to pay for goods and services based on the amount of credit that their bank allows. Sometimes, retailers will place a cap on payment amounts, as well.

Credit cards have been around since the 1920s. Now, they’re hugely popular. So much so that more people now pay for purchases with plastic than with cash. Now, along with credit cards, there are also debit cards. Unlike credit cards, debit cards are linked directly to a checking account. If customers attempt to use their debit cards to pay for purchases that exceed the amount of available funds in their checking accounts, then sales are declined.

If you want to accept credit card payments for your business, you’ll need to enlist the help of a credit card processing company, also known as merchant services provider. There are many merchant services providers that can help all types of businesses with their payment processing needs.

Once you sign up with a company, they’ll provide you with a specialized code, also known as a merchant identification number (MID), that identifies your business. That special code is unique to your business only, so you never have to worry that anyone else will access it.

The merchant services provider will then provide you with the equipment you need to process credit and, if you desire, debit cards. Bear in mind that there are other types of payment forms, as well. More and more customers are using pre-paid cards, gift cards and more. You and your merchant services provider will determine what forms of payment you will accept.

As the merchant, your processing fees are determined based on how often you accept non-cash payments. Usually, the card network will base their service fees on a percentage of your sales. Sometimes, this isn’t the case, however. You’ll learn your merchant services provider’s detailed fee setup during your initial meeting.

These fees tend to be very reasonable. If they are not, then you should strongly consider choosing a different company. There’s no reason why you should have to pay exorbitant fees. It’s simply not necessary. Do some research and find the companies that charge the most reasonable fees, and meet with some of their representatives. As the saying goes, knowledge is power.
Your register is also known as the point of sale, or POS. When customers present cards for payment, the POS cashier either swipes the card in a terminal or enters the card data manually into a machine. Then, the machine transmits the information from the card to the credit card processing company. At that point, the processing company passes this information along to the bank that issued the card. While this might sound like a lengthy and tedious process, it isn’t. In actuality, it takes mere seconds.

If the proper amount of funds is available in the cardholder’s account, then the sale is approved. If not, the sale is declined. When a sale is successful, the merchant receives an authorization code that verifies the transaction. This unique code is used to track the sale, and also assists with your reporting data.

At the end of the sales day, merchants create what’s called a batch form. This is when you collect all the day’s card sales, and submit them as a group to the merchant services provider. A few days later, the funds appear in your bank account, minus the processing fees. This is an easy process that usually flows quite smoothly.

You should always try to find a merchant services provider that offers all the latest features and services. Otherwise, you might find yourself missing sales and using outdated equipment. Don’t let this happen. Your business will suffer. The application process should also be easy and inexpensive. If you’re faced with high fees or a long wait, interview another company. You’ll be glad you did.

It’s simply good business to accept cards. If you don’t, customers will go elsewhere. Don’t miss out on huge sales opportunities. The process is easy, and there are great merchant services providers to make it a great experience for you. Congratulations on this very smart decision. Hear that ringing sound? That’s the sound of your register, cashing-in on big-time sales. And it’s all because you chose to open a merchant services account.

Nellie Janney is a freelance writer who writes about a variety of topics including merchant services.

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100 Best Names Merchant Warehouse the Best Merchant Account Provider

St. George, UT (PRWEB) October 2, 2009

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 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 , 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




If You Don’t Set up Merchant Services Now, Your Profits Will Suffer Later

The world moves by pretty fast, and it only seems to go quicker every year. As the years pass and technologies advance, people become more and more accustomed to these new conveniences. They also become less and less willing to go back to the older, slower ways of doing things.

One thing in particular that consumers rely on with ever-increasing frequency is their ability to pay for goods and services by using their credit or debit cards. And if they happen upon a business that only takes cash, odds are they are simply going to make their purchase elsewhere.

By setting up a merchant services account you can finally level the playing field between your business and the rest of the competition. Just about every business can benefit from signing up for credit card processing through merchant services. Here are a few ways that it could help your business.

Swipe Terminals

The most common way for a business to process credit cards is with a retail swipe terminal. Obviously this isn’t something that would be practical for an online business, but if you have a “bricks and mortar” storefront it is pretty much essential these days.

A swipe terminal is the machine you see on the counter at pretty much any retail outfit. You just swipe the card through and your merchant account handles the rest. They take the payment through a series of complex transactions and the money is deposited into your account in about two or three business days.

One of the nicest things about processing payments by way of a retail swipe terminal is that they tend to have the lowest fees. This is because studies show that credit card fraud is a lot less common when dealing in face-to-face transactions. If you are still worried you can always ask to see ID when you accept a credit card.

Debit Card Processing and E-checks

Merchant services are also great for businesses that do a lot of their transactions over the Internet. Nearly all of the purchases that happen online are made with a credit or debit card and there are plenty of other websites that can process cards if yours can’t.

Another way that people make purchases over the Internet is by using what is called an e-Check. These are basically just the online equivalent of your everyday paper check, except the buyer doesn’t have to sign it.

There are a few different ways to process e-Checks. One way is to go out and buy an application for your computer that allows you to print these e-Checks right out. From there you just deposit it in your bank account like normal. Of course, like normal, you have to wait a few days for the check to clear.

You can also process e-Checks through a transaction service that checks to make sure they are complete and accurate. You can even pay an additional fee to guarantee the check so that if it bounces they will reimburse you.

Escrow Services

Businesses who deal in expensive items like real estate or fancy auction houses may also benefit from the escrow services that many merchant account providers offer. The escrow service essentially serves as a middleman so that your clients aren’t afraid of getting ripped off.

It works quite simply actually. The customer pays the escrow service and the escrow service informs you that they have the money. After that you ship out the product. When your customer receives the merchandise they tell the escrow service that it is all good and the money is transferred to your account.

If for some reason your client receives the merchandise and is unsatisfied, they can send it back and the escrow service will refund the money. As was said, these services are really only practical when you are dealing with very expensive items.

Wireless Solutions

Businesses that aren’t tied down to one specific location can also benefit from a merchant services account. Many will provide your business with mobile wireless swipe terminals so that you can process credit and debit cards from pretty much anywhere.

This is especially convenient for restaurants that offer delivery services, for musical groups that do a lot of touring, or for traveling salesman. Many of these wireless swipe terminals even have a function that will save your customers’ credit card information and then transmit it later if you are somewhere out of your network.

Signing up

Setting up a merchant account is easy and it can usually be up and running in only 24 hours. You will, however, have to prove that you are a legitimate business beforehand. Having all of your pertinent information together ahead of time can help to make this process go a lot quicker.

Different merchant account providers may require different things, but if you have a business license you should have that ready. Other things that would be good to set aside are pictures of your storefront, references from other people in your trade, and past tax returns.

No matter what business you are in it is clear that it would benefit from signing up for a merchant account. Even if you are getting by today, it is time to start planning for the future.

Isabel Walsh is a freelance writer who writes about a range of topics including business strategy and merchant services


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