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What is a merchant account?

A merchant account is an account at a financial institution that allows you to accept credit cards. You may find that you can acquire a merchant account directly from your local bank or you may decide to use any of a number of Merchant Account Providers that can be found using your favorite search engine.

What credit cards can I accept?

We support all major credit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diner’s Club, Discover, JCB and POS/ATM debit cards. We also support private label cards, including gift cards and loyalty programs. If you service fleet accounts, we highly recommend you consider Voyager and Wright Express. All of these accounts can be setup by us, quickly and at no charge. Of course, all of our accounts are Visa MasterCard Interchange.

Can I accept debit cards?

Your merchant services account can accept debit cards through us for debit networks throughout the United States.

How are my monthly fees paid?

Monthly fees are automatically debited from your business checking account the first week of each month for the previous month’s fees. You’ll understand those fees before you start processing.

I already have a credit card terminal; can I just reprogram it to work with you?

In many cases, you may be able to use the equipment you already own as long as the terminal equipment is PCI compliant.

What is the difference between online debit and offline debit?

The difference between these two debit choices is whether a PIN (personal identification number) is used at the point of sale. When a PIN is used the transaction becomes “online” and funds are immediately withdrawn from the cardholder’s available funds. When an offline debit transaction occurs, funds are not withdrawn until the transaction processes – usually 2-4 days after the sale. Debit card transactions are the fastest growing point-of-sale payment method today. The acceptance of this payment method continues to remain popular because customers and merchants both appreciate the convenience and ease of using debit cards to purchase merchandise and services.

Can I use someone else’s merchant account to do my transactions?

No, this practice is known as “credit card laundering” or “factoring.” It is against the Visa® and MasterCard® agreement. Using someone else’s merchant account to process your credit card transactions can lead to heavy fines and perhaps more. In addition, you’ll also put that merchant’s credit card processing account in jeopardy.

Why are rates higher for Internet, Mail and Telephone Order transactions?

Face-to-face transactions where the credit card is swiped is considered less risky by banks. Since this is the case, rates are quite a bit lower as the instances of fraud and chargebacks are a lot less.

When are funds usually placed into my business checking account?

The typical time period is 2 to 3 business days. Depending on type of account you have, next day billing is available.

What kinds of credit card processing solutions are available?

There are a wide range of solutions for all types of businesses. Swipe terminals for retail merchants; real-time processing for Internet sites; PC software for mail order/phone order and Internet businesses; touch-tone processing for low volume, seasonal and mobile merchants; and virtual terminals for Internet, mail and telephone order businesses. Each have their own pros and cons, ask your sales representative which is best for your business.

Are Internet merchant accounts compatible with all shopping carts?

No. Shopping cart companies make their software compatible with certain secure payment gateways (ie., Verisign, etc.) In addition, merchant account companies work with different secure payment gateways so their clients can process credit cards online. It’s important to take to find out from your merchant account company what secure payment gateway you’ll be using. If it’s, you can expect most shopping cart companies will support that gateway.

What are chargebacks?

A chargeback is what it’s called when a transaction is reversed. In other words, rather than adding money to your account it is deducted. Chargebacks can occur for a wide variety of reasons, such as double-charging, credit card expiration, bank error and customer disputes.

What kind of transaction reporting is available?

Most merchant account companies will provide you a paper statement at the end of the month. Some companies can even offer detailed online reporting. I have a credit card swipe terminal from a previous merchant account, is it compatible other companies? Probably. You will certainly need to have it reprogrammed to work with your new merchant account. There are some companies that only work with certain terminals, be sure to inquire before signing up.

What is a monthly minimum fee?

This processing fee is collected by your transaction and discount rate fees from your credit card sales each month. So, for instance, say your merchant account company charges $25 as a monthly minimum, if the transaction and discount rate fees collected by the processing company add up and equal or go over $25 that month, no monthly minimum will be charged. However, if the fees for that month do not meet the $25 monthly minimum, you will then be charged the difference. You can avoid this fee in many cases by just processing a few thousand dollars per month.

What is a discount rate?

Discount rates are basically a percentage that is taken from the charge that is being processed. For example, if your discount rate is 2.35% and you have an order for $100, the discount rate being deducted would be $2.35.

What is PCI Compliant? Why must I become PCI compliant?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of requirements designed to ensure that ALL companies that process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. Essentially any merchant that has a Merchant ID (MID). The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) was launched on September 7, 2006 to manage the ongoing evolution of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards with focus on improving payment account security throughout the transaction process. The PCI DSS is administered and managed by the PCI SSC (, an independent body that was created bythe major payment card brands (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB.).

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