When an owner of a business hears the term “merchant services” they normally think of a generalized idea which involved processing debit and credit card transactions. While not totally wrong, it just misses the entirety of what really merchant services are and how they can assist a business grow.

A business that accepts debit and credit card payments will have to use merchant services. This is particularly so if they truly want to expand to other payment processing parts such as mobile or online. To perform this, a merchant will have to use a credible merchant services agent to use new technologies and know new revenue opportunities.

So, it’s vital for a merchant provider to just know that every business is unique. For instance, an eCommerce-based business might have diverse needs than a body shop. Although security is of paramount importance for every establishment, the eCommerce business therefore will have higher level of security measures versus the body shop. Additionally, the body shop will likely need a payment processor in order to process payments in person but the eCommerce business will need just a virtual-based one.

If you are ready with your business to select a merchant provider, where then do you start? A merchant can normally turn to the Internet to perform a simple online search using websites such as Google. This will normally tell a merchant of the quality and type of companies that give merchant services. You can visit their sites and read reviews from websites such as the Better Business Bureau to get the best service providers. Additionally, a merchant can even ask other businesses that they use and suggest as a merchant services. Other businesses will normally have a bit to say about a merchant provide whether it comes from a good partnership or a very awful experiences. Also, feel free to contact the merchant providers and speak to a representative to learn more regarding their levels of services. Because this is an industry that’s technology-based, it’s crucial for your service provider to always be on the leading edge so that you get access to the recent technologies you can easily use to reduce your costs while improving your profits.

Service doesn’t end as soon as the contract is signed and you will have the payment processing terminals. You have to know the level and type of customer service offered once you register with a merchant services provider. In case of an emergency, you’ll need to know how and when a services provider are going to address your concerns.

It’s good you know what fees and rates and will be applied to the merchant services account. For instance, some merchant agency may tout the benefits of a totally free terminal that may sound great to a prospective merchant. But, many times they are normally higher when compare to the usual fees and rates related to these “free” terminals therefore beware as you hear this.

Finally, these services may appear like a thing businesses might not really need to really know much about. A properly educated merchant however can use merchant services to assist them reduce the cost of business operation costs while increasing profits.

Credit Card Acceptance

In the small business world, there are dozens of reasons why you should accept credit cards. The best reason is that research shows that taking cards will increase the size and the speed of your customers purchases. Carrying cash in today’s society has become less and less attractive, especially when you are travelling. Credit cards are small, accepted virtually everywhere, and you can keep track of your purchases online every day if you choose.

There are several advantages for the small business owner to accept credit cards. Customers using credit cards are more apt to make impulse buys using their cards vs. cash. Cash is harder to spend on impulse buys because of the physical act of handing your cash over to a merchant is very real. Cards are, well, just a card, and the pain does not come till the end of the month. Accepting credit cards will also improve your cash flow. Your merchant processor will fund your account within 2 days of the transaction, where waiting for a check to clear can take up to 10 days. And finally the risks are very low in taking a credit card vs. the dangers of accepting a personal check.

To accept major credit cards from customers, your business must establish merchant status with each of the credit card companies whose cards you want to accept. You’ll probably want to start by applying for merchant status with American Express or Discover. For these cards, all you need to do is contact American Express or Discover directly and fill out an application.
You will want to accept the two big credit card companies, Visa and Mastercard, since these cards are used the most frequently. To do this you will have to apply from a respected merchant services provider to be able to accept these cards and others.

Requirements among banks vary, but one requirement that some banks have is there is a minimum amount of time for how long you have been in business. This does not mean that a new or start up business does not have a chance to be able to process credit cards, but it means, you will have to hunt harder to find a bank that does not have this time requirement.

Some banks many consider a start-up, homebased business or mail order business as “risky” and may deny you merchant status. But the most common reason for denial is simply poor credit. If you look at it from the banks view, this is like applying for a loan. But banks may not be the best option for many businesses hoping to open an account. In today’s economy there are many merchant service providers that work with riskier businesses as well as established businesses. Look online for merchant service providers for these companies and make sure to pick one that shows up as reputable on the internet.

There are a few things in the world that are accepted and used worldwide. The Internet, Facebook, and credit cards.  The majority of midsize and larger companies accept credit cards.  Even the fast food industry are allowing customers to use credit and debit cards.  But for some reason, there are still some businesses that just will not let you pay with plastic.

For many entrepreneurs, taking credit cards only represents fees for processing, purchasing or leasing equipment, and extra time to complete a transaction.

There are some businesses that sell merchandise that is inexpensive and they would have to raise the cost of their products to compensate for the costs of accepting credit cards.  They are actually trying to keep from passing the extra costs onto their customers.

There are, however, businesses that just do not want to pay the processing fees, and especially when business is slow.  Interchange fees can account for .025% to .05% on each purchase.  Merchants pay those fees to their issuing bank as part of the cost accepting credit cards.

Other businesses state that the cost to maintain their credit card terminals in conjunction with the addition to the processing fees, mean they just do not do enough business to make taking credit cards worthwhile.

Some business like to not leave a trail, a, paper trail for their transactions.  By taking plastic, that makes it much harder for them to hide income.  Every credit card transaction will leave a paper trail.  Unfortunately, these businesses may be trying to hide earnings from the government.

And there are even merchants that simply find taking credit cards too much work or even impractical for their business.

Whatever the reason, the pressures to take credit cards are intense.  Some merchants will allow you to pay with a credit card, but will not take a card that are reward credit cards.  These cards typically carry the highest fees.  Other merchants may require a minimum purchase amount before they allow you to use your card.

There are also businesses with services and goods that are so unusual and unique, they can leverage the customer to pay cash only.

Whatever the business, whatever type of merchant, interchange fees are coming down, and the pressure from merchant processors to allow you to take credit cards is becoming harder and harder to ignore by any merchant.

On October 31, 2015, all small businesses in the US were put on notice and required to switch from magnetic strip swiping to the EMV technology chip. New terminals, new programs, new software installations were required for every business to implement this new shift. If a business did not shift to the new technology, their processers, the banks, would not be held liable for any fraudulent transactions that came through the business, the business would. This represented a major shift in attitude towards small business. Banks have always covered the fraudulent transaction from the consumer to the business, but now, the small business would be forced to cover.
Why would not every business then switch to the EMV card terminals immediately then. It seems that the costs that they could incur would be so great it would be fruitful for a business to take care of this right away.
In a perfect world that would have been the case, but this switch to the EMV was not exactly thought out in the best terms. There was no one governing body looking out to synchronize each step of the process and lay out the sequence and ramp up all the companies needed to make this transfer possible. Because of this, processing companies were backlogged with terminal orders, terminal providers did not have enough product which resulted in months back orders, the programmers for the new software were finding it difficult to program terminals and in some cases it was taking 2 weeks to do the programming. Then after all this happened, and business were finally up and running, the banks were still charging back at a greater rate on the new terminals because of a glitch in their systems.
This change over for all business was mandated to be finished by October 31, 2015, and as of now, the US is about 44% completely switched over. What has happened in the last year?
Recently a major credit card announced they would not chargeback fraudulent charges to businesses that were under $25. This is great news for the restaurant industry and smaller ticket transaction businesses. This same company announced they would forgive 10 fraudulent chargebacks in a year if you had not converted yet. Meaning they would assume liability over 10 chargebacks over $25 over a year. After the 10th though, the merchant, if they had not converted to the new EMV technology, would be liable for all fraud processed through their terminal.
These are positive steps now for small businesses to finally start on the journey of switching your terminals form swiping to the new EMV dipping process.

EMV transition is now 11 months old and merchants have been hit with a plethora of roadblocks stopping them from converting to the EMV enabled terminals.  But the fact of the matter is, the liability for the types of cards you are taking for your business shifted in October of 2015.   If you are still taking swipe cards for your small business, it is time to change.

 

The new EMV has been plagued with numerous problems.  Lack of competent programmers, shortage of terminals for merchants, excessive chargebacks from the banks to name a few.  But, right now 70% of merchants who have not switched over to EMV compliant terminals are experiencing a high rate of chargebacks. 

 

You can end all of that frustration by switching to EMV terminals right now.

 

US consumers have been grumbling about the change, but despite their outcries, the general public is now starting to get the hang of dipping instead of swiping.

 

Most merchant services providers offer low cost, easy to use, Emv compliant terminals that can be programmed shortly after receipt.  The average wait time for a terminal to be programmed now is 10 days, down from the 3 months it was at the beginning of this switch.  With the wait time lowering, and small business staring at higher chargebacks and liability concerns, why are you waiting to change.

 

Right now, MasterCard and Visa are working on solutions to speed up dip transactions by as much as 15 seconds per incident.  December 2017 is the reported rollout of this upgrade that will quickly speed up transactions and lines at high volume merchant locations.

 

With the implementation now of about 40% of the US merchants to EMV, MasterCard is reporting that fraud costs have dropped 54% since October of 2015, the month of the first implementation.

 

Emv adoption is not a luxury that you have an option to do.  Whether you like it or not, EMV is here and your business needs to implement it sooner than later.

During tough economic, people think many times before making purchases as their primary concern is how to pay back for the purchase made. Cash flow can be a major issue for many people, and as a result, they would like to use credit to buy what they need. Also, because of the tight economy, many people would not prefer to carry massive amounts of cash with them. So, instead of taking a lot of cash with them, they would rather opt to use credit or debit cards. To have a better to have business survival, you need to update yourself and accept payment with plastic cards. Just remember that all merchant services are not similar. You need to find the best one suiting your business needs.

Here is a list of things that you should consider while comparing the services offered by different credit card processing companies.

Your Business Needs

The key to finding the right credit card processing company is to first think of the requirements of your business. How much business money-wise you anticipate? Are you running an online business owner or run a brick-and-mortar business? What are your business objectives? Keeping these things in mind can help you in finding card payment processing.

What Are The Charges?

Credit card merchant services are not available for free anywhere. Credit card processing companies charge some amount for these services. Take their charges as another business investment and wait for the return on this investment, which hopefully comes up in the form if decent profit amount. Comfort your customers by giving them an easy payment option. Take the bank card machine, which is best suiting your business.

Are they available when you need their help?

The increase in sales and the amount of profit both can be possible with a credit card processing merchant services. You need to contact a credit card processing company that can handle the volume of transactions, make sure operations are done in actual time without any delay in handling, what about the settlement and will you get your money quickly. Getting answers for these doubts cam help you in taking the right decision for your business.

With a large percentage of people making online purchases, it is important to address the various Internet support services these companies provide. Online shopping options such as e-Check, virtual terminals, and shopping carts are necessary for a high-quality shopping experience. Having online fraud protection is a must, giving your customers a safe and secure platform will build a comfortable and satisfied purchasing relationship.

Visit various credit card processing websites and get quotes. See what company offers you the best price and best product. It is one area of business you do not want to cut corners on, your profit margins and customer’s information are intricate parts of this process. Find a credible and reputable company who offers the particular industry and payment options you need.

These are some of the important things if taken into consideration carefully can help you in making the right decision for your business. Don’t be in a rush and make the final decision only after making a good comparison. You can find a reliable merchant service company for your business.

Running a successful business is a daunting task. Dealing with the inconveniences and losses caused by credit card fraud makes it much more so. Credit card fraud can occur through many ways especially by acquiring the cardholder’s personal information. However, merchants incur losses through credit card fraud when they lose the value of their goods or services and chargeback fees from the financial institution.

 

The two types of fraud affecting merchants adversely are face-to-face credit card fraud and the internet, mail and telephone fraud. In addition to fraudsters who use cards acquired fraudulently to make purchases, there are legitimate cardholders who use their cards to pay for goods and services then initiate chargeback afterward leaving the merchant to dispute this. This article outlines the various measures that merchants can take to protect themselves from credit card fraud.

 

  1. Train Your Staff to Detect Suspicious Behavior

A fraudster will rarely be at ease when using an unauthorized card. Suspicious customer behavior includes nervousness, haste, random selection of products that are expensive and signatures that don’t match. These behaviors can help your staff be more cautious and investigate further to find out if the customer is the genuine cardholder.

 

  1. 2. Verify Card Features to Detect Counterfeit Cards

Confirming features such as the hologram, valid date, account number, signature and embossing among others can go a long way in detecting whether the card is genuine or counterfeit. If you suspect it is counterfeit, contact the card company or a relevant authority immediately and keep the card if you can do so without endangering yourself.

 

  1. Make Sure you are PCI Compliant

PCI compliance refers to the fulfillment of the PCI DSS- Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards’ requirements. The PCI DSS sets technical and operating standards for credit card data processing, transmission and storage. This keeps the data secure. Other additional processing procedures include using equipment designed for fraud detection and proper regular maintenance of your card reader. In case of a suspicious transaction, the Code 10 prompt enables you to inform the authorities without alerting the customer, in the US.

 

  1. Use EMV Point of Sale (POS) Systems

Using EMV POS systems that are provided by reliable credit card processors is a great way to incorporate fraud prevention measures such as tokenization and encryption. These systems accept EMV payments which are effective against card-present fraud and in detecting counterfeit credit cards.

 

  1. Data Breach Protection Techniques

Data breach techniques are imperative when operating an e-commerce business online. They offer a secure way of processing credit card transactions and protect you from online transaction fraud. There are wide ranges of techniques which may be basic or advanced. The former deals with the installation of firewalls and anti-viruses while the latter involves an advanced method of monitoring information before their delivery.

Did you know that the EMV are more convenient to use than the magnetic stripe cards? Well to understand this, try to swipe the magnetic -card in the opposite direction after a successful transaction. If you try this, you will understand that you have to master the quick, fluid card swipe direction to process your transactions.  However with the EMV chip-card, you will not be required to master the right direction to insert or swipe the card. The card reading and processing do not depend on the side that they are inserted into the card reader.

How are the transaction made

Just like the magnetic-stripe credit card, the EMV transactions are processed in two steps. The first process is the card reading.  The reading starts after you ‘dip’ your card into the terminal slot of the card reader.  After dipping/ inserting the card into the slot, you wait for the terminal to reading the card information.

After the card is dipped, data flows between your card and the card issuing financial institution. The process verifies the card legitimacy and then creates a unique transaction code.  Note that the process is not as quick as that of the magnetic-stripe card swiping. However, the advantage of this is that it eliminates some significant chances of fraud.  There are a couple of reasons that justifies why the EMV chip-card takes a bit longer than the Magnetic- stripe card. The main reason for this is that the chips contain up to 64 kilobytes of storage capacity. Their counterpart traditional magnetic stripe have 62 kilobytes available.  This makes it easier for one to embed the customer’s PIN in the credit card chip and enable POS verification.  The US FICO whitepaper also confirms how easy it is for one to embed the PIN code in the magnetic stripe card and access the holder’s account information.  The magnetic stripe card the card is meant to self-authenticate and authorize a transaction process without a connection to a separate authorization system.

The EMV transaction process takes a little bit longer for the data transmission to happen and allows communication between financial institutions and the chip card.  So, if one just inserts the card and immediately pulls it out the transaction will be denied.  The transactions require the EMV chip- card to remain intact in the payment card reader for some time until the transaction is fully complete. The lag time gives the merchant’s system time to update the chip on the EMV card with the transaction data.

Pin and signing before the transaction are complete

To complete the transaction, the reader will require you to initiate the process by either entering the pin code or signing.

Why most U.S banks did advocated and issued the EMV chip-cards?

Before the Liability shift, or otherwise before October 1st, 2015, the banks were accountable for fraudulent purchase with the understanding that the banks would have done something to prevent the identity crimes. Since the banks were losing their funds as a result of compensation, the banks had to look for alternative strategies to curb the fraudulent transactions. Adjusting to what most Europe countries had already adopted decades ago became very sensitive to most U.S banks. Therefore, most banks took the incentive of advocating for EMV cards to verify the cardholder`s identity before any transaction. The other logic behind the shift to EMV chip-card is the since the merchant were less accountable to the identity crimes advanced through the magnetic stripe cards the merchant were reluctant and less concerned with the possibility of fraud transaction. It is at this point that the credit cards frauds became a national issue, and the government was partially involved. Though the government was involved at some point, one should understand that the initial steps were instated by the banks as well as the other prevailing networks that process payments (such as the MasterCard, Visa).

Evidence that the federal government did not mandate the EMV shift

Though the U.S. government has the power to step in and force the adoption of the EMV technology, as a way of preventing fraudulent use of credit cards in transactions in case a stolen credit card is present at a merchant’s terminal, the government did not initiate or drive the shift. Probably the reason behind the relaxation of the Federal government was a way of protecting the magnetic stripe-card institution. However the government cannot be blamed for this since one of its obligation is to safeguard the right of business.

Banks and the networks that process payments also prefer to avoid regulations in order to prosper in the economic world. Therefore, they decided to initiate the shifting to EMV technology for their financial gain.

Also, if the Federal government had mandated the shift, it could have backed it up with tax penalties and fines. There are no fines or tax penalties that merchants incur in case the liability is shifted to them.

It is only after the banks and payment networks initiated the process that Obama administration issued the executive order to for the federal employees to migrate to the EMV chip-pin credit cards.

Are you a business that is not confined to a physical location? Do you mostly operate in the field or online? If so, going for mobile credit card processing is a smart business decision. A business that is mobile requires a mobile solution, and the advantages are numerous. Mobile payment options for credit card processing are popular options for businesses since they offer more leeway. They involve a smartphone, a mobile card reader which you connect to the tablet or smartphone through its audio jack, and a card reading app.

Benefits

Mobile credit card processing enables you to accept or pay for purchase from any location provided your smartphone/tablet receives signal. They are also a great choice for a new business that has no idea yet of the revenues it will earn due to its pay as you go or month-to-month payment options.  Again, mobile credit card processing requires fewer upfront fees, and most card processors offer a free basic card reader or one at a very low cost. Therefore, if you have a smartphone or tablet already, there are no or little additional costs. Finally, mobile credit card processing is a great additional payment system that can help reduce checkout lines with the advantage that most credit card processing companies do not charge termination fees in case you suddenly want to abandon it or upgrade.

What are the Advancements in Mobile Payment Options

You must be wondering whether the mobile card processing is keeping up with their counterparts especially since the EMV chip technology was rolled out. New card readers that are EMV capable are already in the market to help you upgrade to a more secure payment technology. Additionally, there are better card reading apps and most mobile card processing system also have added features such an inventory system and email invoice.

How to Choose a Mobile Payment Option for Card Processing

The first thing is to ensure that the quality apps you would like to use are compatible with your mobile device. Popular software includes Gopayment, Square, Payanywhere, Roampay and Paypal Here among others. Your merchant account also factors in when you are selecting a service. For instance, if you are sponsored under master merchant accounts such as Paypal, then Paypal Here would be your best bet. However, if you want to have your own merchant account, looking for merchant service providers and direct processors will work best for you. Choosing the most suitable mobile credit card processor also depends on the transaction fees (which are expressed as a percentage of the transaction), the amount of money you are processing, whether you mainly operate online, or you prefer printed invoices instead of sending via email. Investing in mobile card processing is a great idea for your business as you don’t get many defaulters or missed business opportunities but rather, you get even more money in your account. The trick is to weigh your options carefully and pick the mobile credit card processor best suited for your business model.