If you�re new to credit card processing, you probably have a lot of questions. Get the answers here. Want to know about fraud protection and prevention? See our Fraud Management section.
Whether you�re doing business at a storefront, by phone, fax mail, online, or all three, you�ll want to accept credit cards as payment for your products or services. And, if you want to process credit cards, you�ll need a merchant account. Merchant accounts allow you to accept credit cards from any issuer you want, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.
A merchant account is an agreement with a merchant services provider, also called a virtual terminal to authorize transactions, route them for settlement, and directly deposit money into your checking account. To cover fees from credit card issuers, such as Visa or MasterCard, merchant service providers charge a consolidated discount rate, which is assessed as a percentage of each sale plus a transaction fee.
If you�re selling products or services directly online through a shopping cart you�ll also need a payment gateway. This is a secure portal that hooks on to the back end of your shopping cart and transmits card information to the card issuer for authorization and settlement. A payment gateway is essentially a virtual version of the swipe terminal you would see in a retail store.
Most payment gateways also can be used as virtual terminals, which give business operators the ability to key in customers� credit card information for mail orders, phone or fax orders. You can process payments anywhere in the world, and all you need is a computer and an internet connection.
If you�re selling products in a retail environment where you have the ability to swipe your customer�s credit card, you will need a retail merchant account. When you swipe your customer�s credit card and check the back of the cards signature to the signature you obtained from your sale, you get the best rate possible. This type of transaction is less risky for the card issuers, thus giving you the best rates We�re here to help you through the process of discovering the services and equipment you will need to be successful.
To obtain a merchant account, you�ll need to go through an easy application.
Merchant services providers (payment processors) essentially underwrite your business because they forward funds to you from your sales before customers pay their credit card bills. Therefore, during the application process, payment processors ask for documents showing proof of valid business, and your return policy. Application forms also ask for your Tax Identification Number, although single owner LLC's and sole proprietors may also use the Social Security number of the owner to complete an application.
This documentation gives payment processors the information they need to manage your risk and their risk and find a �win-win� solution to your credit card processing needs. Sometimes, a merchant services provider will call an applicant to verify information.
Once your merchant account is approved, you will be notified of your new merchant account ID number and the integration process for your payment gateway. In most cases, this simply involves entering your gateway codes into your shopping cart so the two systems can communicate.
Understanding each terminals capability, our friendly, well trained staff is here to help you get started with a new terminal, or reprogram your existing terminal. Whether you need just credit card processing, or also need the ability to accept checks, gift, loyalty, and EBT cards, our team can help you through the process.