Archive for September, 2009

Merchant Accounts and Interchange Fees

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Transaction processing is a service that is needed by most businesses today, but providers of merchant accounts still have to compete for business, even though some of them seem to forget that fact. All transaction processing companies still have to deal with the same key players: Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover. They deal with those four companies on a pretty level playing field where the difference comes in is how they deal with you, the merchant. Do not believe the claims of so-called wholesale credit card processors, they have to do business with the big four the same way as all the others.

Leasing equipment is a favorite way for credit card processing companies to extract more money from their customers. The offer of terminal equipment for no money up-front might sound like a great way to reduce start-up cost, but terminal equipment can be obtained reasonably without having to pay $25 or more each month, which can add up to a really expensive terminal over time. Low-ball rates should be red flags; if the rates offered seem too good to be true, look out for hidden fees which can more than eliminate any savings you think you might be getting. Do not get locked into a long term deal with high cancellation fees. These are designed to make it more expensive for you to leave if you do not like the service you are getting; there are plenty of credit card processing providers that do not charge a cancellation fee.

Before selecting a provider to do your credit card processing, be sure to check their references. Any business worth its salt will be able to provide you with a list of satisfied customers that will be more than happy to share their experience with you. And, once you sign up with a merchant account provider, take a close look at your bill to make sure that you are actually being charged for the credit card processing you expected when you agreed to the arrangement.


Transaction Processing―Don’t lease to own a terminal

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Transaction processing is a service that is needed by most businesses today, but providers of merchant accounts still have to compete for business, even though some of them seem to forget that fact. All transaction processing companies still have to deal with the same key players: Visa, Master Card, American Express, and Discover. They deal with those four companies on a pretty level playing field where the difference comes in is how they deal with you, the merchant. Do not believe the claims of so-called wholesale credit card processors, they have to do business with the big four the same way as all the others.

Leasing equipment is a favorite way for credit card processing companies to extract more money from their customers. The offer of terminal equipment for no money up-front might sound like a great way to reduce start-up cost, but terminal equipment can be obtained reasonably without having to pay $25 or more each month, which can add up to a really expensive terminal over time. Low-ball rates should be red flags; if the rates offered seem too good to be true, look out for hidden fees which can more than eliminate any savings you think you might be getting. Do not get locked into a long term deal with high cancellation fees. These are designed to make it more expensive for you to leave if you do not like the service you are getting; there are plenty of credit card processing providers that do not charge a cancellation fee.

Before selecting a provider to do your credit card processing, be sure to check their references. Any business worth its salt will be able to provide you with a list of satisfied customers that will be more than happy to share their experience with you. And, once you sign up with a merchant account provider, take a close look at your bill to make sure that you are actually being charged for the credit card processing you expected when you agreed to the arrangement.

Portable Merchant Account Terminals

Monday, September 7th, 2009

Portable or wireless credit card terminals can add a degree of flexibility to your business that wired models can have a hard time delivering. First, a little clarification: now that some mobile phones have the ability to perform credit card processing transactions, the term “wireless” might cause some confusion, so for the purposes of this article we will refer to wireless hand-held credit card terminals as “portable”. Here we will take a brief look at some considerations to make when selecting portable merchant credit card processing terminals.

Since the data for credit card processing is sent over a wireless connection, it is important that your device incorporates strong encryption to foil any attempts to hack the signal from the device and otherwise provides security to be compliant with the Payment Card Industry (PCI), and PIN Entry Device (PED) standards; either triple DES encryption or 128 bit SSL can provide adequate security for the wireless signal. To keep your terminal devices usable in a variety of conditions, you may want the ability to connect by either wired or wireless methods, consider if you will need to connect by WiFi, cellular, Ethernet, RS-232, or modem. You will also want to make sure that the portable terminals will be able to hold a charge for at least an entire shift. You do not want to lose a sale because a terminal has to be removed from your floor in order to charge, so you may also want to consider different charging options including vehicle charging. And not all portable terminals have the ability to read smart cards, so you will want to specify this feature if you know you will need the ability to do so.

Once you have taken these few factors into consideration it should be easier for you to narrow your selection of terminals for your portable merchant credit card processing needs.