Credit card processing guide and tips



For the uninitiated - and even for merchants who have owned an internet business for years - the wide array of credit card processing fees that can be incurred in the operation of an ecommerce store can be a bit bewildering.

In this article, we'll discuss most of the costs involved in maintaining an internet merchant account. Note that these fees are in addition to what you may have to pay as an upfront fee for the software required in order to set up your ecommerce facility (these fees can range from $50 to $200 usually, although nowadays some providers waive this fee altogether). You may also have to pay for a shopping cart, although this service too is now sometimes packaged as a freebie when you set up the ecommerce facility.

Here are the fees that merchants can anticipate having to pay on an ongoing basis in order to process credit cards via their website:

The most significant monthly fee you'll be charged is what is known as the Discount Rate - a percentage of the dollar amount of every sale you process through your website. Limiting ourselves here to internet merchant accounts for US-based businesses in non-high risk industries, you can presently expect to pay between 2.19% and 2.40%.

In fact, discount rates call fall into 3 distinct categories: The lowest of these rates - the range quoted above - and the most commonly applied, is the Qualified Discount Rate which in the context of ecommerce retailing is where your customer "keys" in the card information in his computer's browser, and the information he provides concerning his billing address matches that in the bank's records ("AVS match"). Some companies charge up to 10 cents per transaction for the AVS service.

Tip! You will first need to find a reputable bank or credit union that will agree to extend a merchant account to you for this purpose. To get approved, you will need a solid credit history, a reasonable business plan, and documentation to show that you are able to manage the costs associated with credit card processing rates.

On occasion however you may be charged a surcharge on top of that. The Mid-Qualified Discount Rate will be added to your normal discount rate where there is no AVS match (usually an additional .75% to 1.25%). And a further additional surcharge (the Non-Qualified Rate) of from 1.5% to 2% may be levied where your customer makes his purchase using a foreign-issued card or where the card was issued to a company or the government.

Most providers will charge you a Monthly Minimum - this is the least amount you'll have to pay for the discount rate charges in a month. This is often $15 to $25 - so you'll always pay at least that much, even if you don't process at all during the month. You'll also most likely have to pay a monthly Statement Fee, often around $8 to $15.

A Transaction Fee is almost always charged - here you pay a set amount for each transaction you process on your website, regardless of the dollar amount. Usually this is in the 17 to 30 cent range.

The other standard monthly charge - and this applies only to ecommerce processing - is the Gateway Fee, generally in the $15 to $30/month range. This fee is to cover the costs of connecting your website software and shopping cart to the transaction processing system.

Tip! As far as your credit card processing application is concerned, everything. How you run your personal life is indicative of how you will run your business, helping the underwriters of your credit card processing application to determine whether or not you should be considered a risk.

We don't have the space here to go into all the other fees you may come across in operating your ecommerce business, but we'll briefly mention three of them here:

• a Chargeback (often $20 to $40) whenever a customer has a dispute about what you charged him, or whether you delivered the goods or services promised.

• a Programming Fee, if you are switching from one provider to a different one.

• a Cancellation Fee, where you sign a long term agreement and want out early.

So as you can see, there are a lot of different costs you can be hit with when running your ecommerce business. So before you sign with any particular company, have them give you, in writing, a complete list of all the possible fees they might levy against you. It pays to shop around.

Colin Albert operates The Merchant Account Explorer website, which offers advice and recommendations for merchants looking for ecommerce credit card processing solutions. The service enables business owners to comparison shop for the most suitable internet merchant account for their particular needs.






If you want to accept credit card payments on your website, you need to engage the services of a credit card processing company. What these companies do is process the credit card payments that generate from your site including following through on approvals or denials so that your shipping department knows what to ship. The credit card processing company notifies the company by email when they have received an authorization from the credit card issuer as well as notify them if the sale is declined.

Using the services of a credit card processing company can save you a great deal of time because you will not have to worry about obtaining authorizations or making sure that the payments are credited to your bank account as your processing agent takes care of all of that for you. Of course, you will pay for credit card processing, but the extra sales you can make because of your ability to accept credit cards online will make it worth the cost. Without the ability to accept credit card payments, you limit yourself to the methods of payment you can accept, meaning you have to wait for your customers to mail a check or money order. The problem with this antiquated way of accepting payments is that your customer will not likely be receptive to it and will go elsewhere to shop.

You do not want to accept the services of just anyone who offers credit card processing, but you want to do some research and locate the one who best suits your needs. Each company has its own set of fees per transaction in addition to whatever the card issuer charges for the transaction fee, which is a percentage of the sale. In addition, you want to ,make sure that the credit card processing services meets your needs for volume and type of payment options you desire including debit card processing. After all, credit card processing is to help with your business, so the processing company you choose must be willing to work with you and develop a program that best suits your needs and those of your customers. They must be able to customize your services so that you have the most important payment options for the type of merchandise you sell.

Tip! * Whether or not you made personal credit card payments on time or at all, over drafted your accounts, or filed for bankruptcy may indicate your ability to repay future creditors. * Whether or not you have enough credit for your credit card processing underwriters to be able to satisfactorily discern your ability to repay debts.

Why bother with a credit card processing company? You could, realistically, bypass the credit card processing company and manually process your credit card payments, but it would take a credit deal of time. This would mean calling for authorization and filling out the forms and submitting them to your bank the way it was done before the Internet became a big issue. Even with the use of credit card terminals, a merchant had to close out his sales for the day, and write a deposit slip for send to his bank. Credit card processing has changed all of that, thus eliminating a great deal of time, effort, and paperwork on the part of the merchant. Saving time and money means more income potential for the merchant as well as more time to devote to the customers.






Here are seven good reasons why you should consider PayPal.com as your credit card processing solution and merchant account alternative.

1. Accept Credit Cards Without a Merchant Account

You can accept all major credit cards as well as payments from bank accounts. Your customer doesn't have to be a member of PayPal to pay by credit card.

2. Low Cost

There are no initial or monthly fees to join PayPal. Fees are 2.9% of sales and $0.30 per transaction; rates vary slightly by country and sales volume.

3. Flexible and Easy to Use

PayPal payments can be made in six different currencies for digital or physically shipped products, auctions, services, recurring payments (like subscriptions), et cetera. As well, PayPal is very easy to use and setup.

4. Shopping Cart5. Buyer Network

According to PayPal.com, PayPal has "more than 86.6 million accounts in 56 countries and regions ...growing by 83,000 a day... One in three online buyers in the U.S. has a PayPal account."

6. Merchant and Auction Tools

PayPal has a number of automated tools to make your life easier including financial reporting, shipping calculation, sales tax and value-added tax calculation, and much more. Since PayPal is an eBay company, it is designed to integrate well with eBay auctions.

7. Fraud Detection

PayPal claims to have "one of the lowest loss rates in the online retail industry." Their Seller Protection Policy is designed to protect the merchant; their Buyer Protection Policy is designed to protect the customer.







Having an online business that takes in money over the internet requires the ability to accept credit cards directly from your website. This is commonly known as "ecommerce", or electronic commerce. This tutorial will help explain all there is to know about processing credit cards over the internet.

The Basics

Terms to Know:

Shopping Cart: An online application that collects all your products and gets them ready for checkout, passing the information about the transaction to the payment gateway. • Merchant Account: The bank or financial institution that actually processes and handles the transaction of debiting one account and crediting another. • Payment Gateway: The program or application that communicates between the website and merchant account, verifying the credit card information and executing the transaction. • Web Hosting: Serving your website or web page from a web server to any requesting client browser. • Secured Socket Layer (SSL): The process by which information is securely exchanged between the web server and the client browser. 128-bit encryption is the most secure. • Secure Certificate: A certificate of authentication that assures website visitors that the website being used is safe, secure and tested and up-to-date. • IP Address (internet protocol address): The physical, numerical address that is associated with the domain name. There are two types of IP addresses: 1. Static IP: There is one IP address that is associated with a domain name, and it never changes. 2. Dynamic IP: The IP address can change at any time, depending on the need and whenever necessary, as determined by the hosting company. There are 3 things required for credit card processing: 1. A web hosting account with a static IP address 2. A merchant account with a reputable company 3. A current, secure SSL certificate Web Hosting

Tip! The benefits of credit card processing online usually outweigh the disadvantages. Unfortunately there are some pitfalls involved with credit card processing you should be aware of.

There are many web hosting companies that operate online, and choosing one is not too difficult. However, there are a couple requirements that you need to look for when choosing your company. The hosting account must have a static IP address because a secure SSL certificate is required when transferring confidential information over the internet through the payment gateway.

Merchant Account

A merchant account is required for credit card processing because this is how the payment will be processed; money must be taken out the buyer's account and deposited into the seller's account. The merchant account is the generic name for the process by which all transactions are handled. This is explained in detail:

1. The website visitor selects the product or service to purchase and initiates the sale. 2. The website takes the visitor to secure area of website (with gold lock on bottom of browser) and requests payment information (credit card info). 3. The visitor completes the required information and clicks ‘submit'. 4. The information is sent securely through the payment gateway for the information to be verified as valid or invalid. 5. After verifying the accuracy of the credit card information, the transaction amount is debited from the buyers account (bank or credit card) and deposited into the seller's bank account. 6. The buyer receives a payment confirmation via the website. Account Fees & Charges:

Tip! The heart of credit card processing is, of course, a merchant account. A merchant account is a service that you would have to enroll with to avail of a credit card processing system that would take care of your orders.

There are two basic charges associated with a merchant account. These are:

Administrative Fee: This is usually a monthly fee that is assessed for all administrative fees. • Discount Rate: This is a fee (percentage based) that is imposed based on the total amount of the sale. • Per Transaction: This is a payment gateway fee that is charged with each transaction that comes from your website.

The way this fee system works is the same, no matter what merchant account provider you use. For instance, let's say you have a transaction rate of $0.25 and a discount rate of 2.5%. If you have a product that you sell for $10 from your website, each time the product is purchased you will receive $10 deposited into your account. You will also be charged $0.25 for the transaction, and $0.25 discount rate (computed at the end of the month). That's a total of $0.50 in fees for the $10 sale of your product.

Most merchant account providers will impose a monthly base (minimum) fee for the account. Let's say the base fee is $15. This base rate is an either/or charge, meaning you are charged that amount unless your discount rate and per transaction fee amount to more than the base amount.

For example, through the course of business, you sell your $10 product to 20 buyers. At the discount rate and per transaction rate used above ($0.25 transaction and 2.5% discount), your fees amount to $10 on $300 ($10 x 30) in sales. Since this amount is less than the base rate ($15), you will be charged the base rate for the month. However, if you sell your $10 product to 90 buyers, your fees amount to $45 dollars for the month. Since your fees amount to more than the base rate ($45 vs. $15), you will be charged $45 on $900 in sales.

Tip! If you always wanted to know about credit card processing, then this article is for you. We will discuss the many benefits that can be gained by incorporating credit card processing into your online business, as well as the steps that you'd need to take to have a credit card processing system firmly entrenched in your business' operations.

Types of Transactions

There are two basic types of transactions when purchasing goods or services online:

1. One-time Purchase 2. Recurring Subscription

Most online stores and catalogs deal with ‘one-time' purchases, meaning you find a product online and purchase it. After confirmation of sale, this ends the relationship between buyer and seller.

The other type, ‘recurring subscription', is based on interval billing. This type of purchase can be for membership fees, or for any other type of fee that is billed on intervals.

Payment Gateway

The payment gateway is an application that you integrate into your website. Most payment gateways have an API that allows for easy, seamless integration into your website, meaning the user's experience on your website remains consistent, even through the credit card processing phase. The payment gateway is responsible for validating the credit card information provided, such as address verification and security code matching. There are many payment gateways available on the market, but to ensure compatibility, it's recommended that you use the one provided at the time of your merchant account setup.

SSL Certificate

The secure digital certificate validates the site as being secure, letting the buyer know that the information exchanged over the internet will be sent using the best possible encryption. In other words, the personal, confidential information sent will be scrambled to avoid interception by a 3rd party and used fraudulently. An SSL certificate requires a static IP address, but does not have to be associated with your website. You can link the transaction to another website (sharing a certificate) to handle the transaction. However, it is recommended that your website have its own static IP and secure certificate to maintain site continuity. Think of it this way; you're at the supermarket, and when you go to checkout, you are either taken across the street to handle the transaction, or the transaction can be handled at the store you're currently at. Basically, it looks more professional to process the transaction immediately, rather than take the buyer somewhere else.

Tip! Although you may have relied on cash transactions up to now, you might find that is becoming more cumbersome to make correct change, accept checks that could bounce, and track delinquent payments, all while keeping track of each and every transaction. Farming out some of these tasks to hired help can be costly, which is why you may be able to benefit from credit card processing services.

In Conclusion

That is what merchant accounts are all about. All merchant accounts operate on the same guidelines, and determining which merchant account you want to conduct business with is up to you. The main things to consider are the per transaction fee, discount rate and base monthly rate. Make certain that the merchant account provider you are going to use is a top-tier provider, meaning the company is the actual processor, and not a reseller of another provider. This is important when it comes to the fees and customer service for your account.






Would you like to upgrade your company's operations by taking advantage of free credit card processing for business owners? There has never been a better time to locate banks offering this service and make the best possible deal for your interests. Financial institutions are eager to work with you in opening a merchant account, and they sometimes offer attractive incentives to get entrepreneurs' business. If you like the idea of free credit card processing, start shopping at your community banks and credit unions to see what type of deals they can offer.

Free credit card processing for business owners is an attractive perk, since some companies impose fees of perhaps 15 to 25 cents per transaction or a monthly percentage fee overall of between 1% and 2%. Being able to get free credit card processing for business owners could save you a significant sum of money each month, and over time, those savings could increase even more. Your customers will love the ease with which they can make online credit card payments, and you will appreciate the time-saving benefits of handling credit payments electronically rather than by employees who require regular paychecks.

It is a good idea to sit down with your financial institution and discuss the precise terms of the free credit card processing for business owners deal. Will you have to pay an application fee? Will annual membership fees come due each year? Are there other embedded costs that you should know about up front? Even if your credit card processing is free, other start-up expenses could add up to cost even more than the transactions would. You will want to make the best possible deal before signing an application or contract to be sure you don't get trapped into paying unexpected high costs later.

Tip! * Whether or not you made personal credit card payments on time or at all, over drafted your accounts, or filed for bankruptcy may indicate your ability to repay future creditors. * Whether or not you have enough credit for your credit card processing underwriters to be able to satisfactorily discern your ability to repay debts.

Keep in mind that free credit card processing for business owners may not be the best perk to ask for when applying for a merchant account. In addition to start-up fees that could be imposed and perhaps increased in lieu of the free credit card processing option, you also may have to pay expenses like a statement fee, a minimum fee, a discount fee, and a license fee. These could add up initially to more than you will pay for transaction fees. Even if the free credit card processing option appears to save you money at first, is this a limited time offer? When reinstated later, will transaction fees be difficult to add to the company budget since you did not start the process with them?

You might want to get a second opinion on weighing the benefits offered with various merchant account deals. You could even ask the customers via an informal survey about the type of credit processing they are most interested in and then see how promotional offers for opening a merchant account may impact customer interests. Of course, you can always check out the benefits of paying no transactions costs, and if permissible, switch to another system later if costs increase more than expected with free credit card processing for business owners.

Tip! As far as your credit card processing application is concerned, everything. How you run your personal life is indicative of how you will run your business, helping the underwriters of your credit card processing application to determine whether or not you should be considered a risk.

Shane Penrod is the founder of http://www.Merchant-Account-Quotes.com Specializing in allowing merchants the ability to shop and compare multiple quotes from national merchant account providers. For free quotes on merchant account rates and fees, please go to http://www.merchant-account-quotes.com






Here are seven good reasons why you should consider 2Checkout.com (also known as 2CO) as your credit card processing solution and merchant account alternative.

1. Accept Credit Cards Without a Merchant Account

For an initial fee of $49.00, you can accept all major credit cards as well as online checks. Fees are 5.5% of sales and $0.45 per transaction.

2. Handle Both Intangible and Tangible Products

While ClickBank.com restricts itself to digital products, 2Checkout can handle both digital and physically shipped products.

3. Shopping Cart

Whereas ClickBank handles only single sales, with 2Checkout, you receive a shopping cart. Alternatively, many third-party shopping carts integrate with 2Checkout.

4. Integration With Third-Party Affiliate Programs

2Checkout integrates with third-party affiliate programs such as ClixGalore.

5. Eliminate Sales Tax Problems

Since you must agree to sell your product to 2Checkout for resale, 2Checkout becomes the retailer responsible for collecting sales taxes -- not you. This simplifies or eliminates sales tax administration for you.

Tip! You should also make sure you have adequate customer service which may help you iron out kinks with customers before a refund is requested. Good customer service goes a long way to preventing future problems with credit card processing.

6. Fraud Detection

With 2Checkout, you have to wait until they complete their fraud detection checks before you deliver the product. This protects the merchant as well as the customer.

7. Other Advantages

As well, 2Checkout features free on-line support, their own affiliate program, and more. Your products are also searchable from shopping center links on their website, thus giving you more exposure. 2Checkout also allows for multi-currency transactions which enable customers to buy in their own local currency. According to the 2Checkout.com website, this improves sales and reduces credit card disputes.

RESOURCE BOX:

J. Stephen Pope, President of Pope Consulting Inc., has been helping clients to earn maximum business profits for over twenty-five years.

To learn more about accepting credit cards, visit http://www.yenommarketinginc.com/creditcards.html

For profitable Work at Home Small Business Ideas, visit http://www.yenommarketinginc.com/






Are your customers asking for credit card processing services? If so, you may want to consider adding this service to your company's Website in order to provide convenient payment methods that will bring back repeat business. Many companies today are moving more toward e-commerce, which means that if you want to avoid getting left behind, you should get ready to join the throng of professionals who are marching into the electronic age of doing business.

Although you may have relied on cash transactions up to now, you might find that is becoming more cumbersome to make correct change, accept checks that could bounce, and track delinquent payments, all while keeping track of each and every transaction. Farming out some of these tasks to hired help can be costly, which is why you may be able to benefit from credit card processing services. If you conduct business onsite at a primary facility, you can plug in a credit card processor and start taking credit payments immediately, which are far less likely to bounce than personal checks.

Tip! If you want to get the best deal on credit card processing rates, you will have to do your homework well. Thoroughly search for the best priced terms and conditions - but make certain the company has a good reputation.

But you will first have to open a merchant account before establishing credit card processing services. Look for a longstanding bank with a solid reputation, one who currently offers merchant accounts to dependable business owners like you. Then be prepared to provide the required documentation that shows a stable credit history and a reasonable business plan that depends on credit card processing services. Upon approval, which can come within a few days, you will be able to purchase or rent credit card processing equipment and start accepting credit payments from your customers.

Credit card processing services can be established at your company's Website. You do have a Website, don't you? If not, that is the second important step into the 21st century that your company needs to take. Hire a Web designer or sketch a few ideas yourself. It need not be fancy or sophisticated, but rather a basic outline of your company's services or products along with basic operating information. Then you will need to register a domain name for a small fee and then pay monthly "rental" fees to post your site in cyberspace. Hiring a designer or someone to maintain and update your site will cost a little more, although often you can find a high school or college student who can do this type of work at nominal cost. When your site is up and running and your merchant account is approved, you are ready to open the Website doors to current and new customers for business. They can browse at their convenience and pay by credit card without human assistance at each juncture. You can make money and save money at the same time.

Tip! If you always wanted to know about credit card processing, then this article is for you. We will discuss the many benefits that can be gained by incorporating credit card processing into your online business, as well as the steps that you'd need to take to have a credit card processing system firmly entrenched in your business' operations.

If your company is growing, your customers are asking about credit payments, or you want to move forward with your business plan, give some thought to opening a merchant account, setting up an attractive Website, and adding the convenient, customer service option of credit card processing services.

Shane Penrod is the founder of http://www.Merchant-Account-Quotes.com Specializing in allowing merchants the ability to shop and compare multiple quotes from national merchant account providers. For free quotes on merchant account rates and fees, please go to http://www.merchant-account-quotes.com






Here are seven good reasons why you should consider ClickBank.com as your credit card processing solution and merchant account alternative.

1. Accept Credit Cards Without a Merchant Account

If your products are digital (such as electronic books or software), you can use ClickBank to process credit cards and on-line cheques. The cost is $49.95 upon signup and $1.00 per transaction plus 7.5% of sales.

2. Start Your Own Affiliate Program

With ClickBank, you have your own built-in affiliate program. You decide what commission (from 1% to 75%) you would like to pay your affiliates.

3. Receive Free Advertising

You receive additional exposure through free listing on the ClickBank website and through the search facilities of other websites, such as CBMall.com.

Tip! The benefits of credit card processing online usually outweigh the disadvantages. Unfortunately there are some pitfalls involved with credit card processing you should be aware of.

4. Obtain Referral Commissions

Even without applying for ClickBank credit card processing, you can earn referral commissions on thousands of ClickBank Marketplace products.

5. Eliminate Sales Tax Problems

Since you must agree to sell your product to ClickBank for resale, ClickBank becomes the retailer responsible for collecting sales taxes -- not you. ClickBank will not be subject to sales taxes in most jurisdictions. ClickBank is registered for European Union (EU) purposes and adds the appropriate Value Added Tax (VAT) to each applicable transaction.

6. Accept PayPal

ClickBank now accepts PayPal as a payment method. According to PayPal.com, PayPal has "more than 86.6 million accounts in 56 countries and regions ...growing by 83,000 a day."

Tip! You can set up a retail credit card processing program using a swiped card method of processing payments. Or you can use MOTO for mainstream commerce.

7. Automated Product Delivery

After purchasing your product through ClickBank, the customer is redirected to a "thank you" page. This page may contain information about how the customer can download your product, thus automating your product delivery.

RESOURCE BOX:

J. Stephen Pope, President of Pope Consulting Inc., has been helping clients to earn maximum business profits for over twenty-five years.

To learn more about accepting credit cards, visit http://www.yenommarketinginc.com/creditcards.html

For profitable Work at Home Small Business Ideas, visit http://www.yenommarketinginc.com/






Everyone goes into business to make money, so why spend more of your profits on expensive transaction fees, Website maintenance, service agreements and high credit card processing rates? When you take time to shop for the best deals, you can save quite a bit of money that can be used to good purpose in other parts of your business. Start shopping for the best credit card processing rates and open a merchant account.

You will first need to find a reputable bank or credit union that will agree to extend a merchant account to you for this purpose. To get approved, you will need a solid credit history, a reasonable business plan, and documentation to show that you are able to manage the costs associated with credit card processing rates. Typically, these include an installation fee for credit card processing equipment, a monthly gateway fee for your financial host, a transaction fee of a few cents per each or an overall percentage total each month. You also may be offered Website service that will entail a hosting fee, a service contract cost, and a designer's or updating service fee. Be sure to carefully read the terms of any contract that you receive. Never sign something that you don't understand or with which you cannot completely agree. Your company may have to pay for a monthly minimum up to a certain number of transactions, after which the balance for that month do not require additional fees.

Tip! The payment gateway is an application that you integrate into your website. Most payment gateways have an API that allows for easy, seamless integration into your website, meaning the user's experience on your website remains consistent, even through the credit card processing phase.

Credit card processing rates can vary by company or by processor program. Some companies charge no installation fee, while others require a one-time cost of a few hundred dollars, depending on the program's complexity. You may have to pay between 15 and 25 cents per transaction, or you could opt to pay a monthly percentage for the entire amount of business generated by your credit card processing unit; this amount often falls below 2%.

It is always a good idea to compare rates among competing financial institutions. If you really like the services offered by one merchant account company but prefer the lower rates of a second company, tell the first one about the competitor's lower rates, and perhaps the first company will meet or beat the lower cost in order to get your business. At first, you may want to keep the customer's interests in mind when shopping for credit card processing rates. In other words, passing on the savings of a particular program to your customers will keep them coming back to do business with you. If your rates are too high or not competitive enough, they may decide to take their business elsewhere.

Tip! If you want to get the best deal on credit card processing rates, you will have to do your homework well. Thoroughly search for the best priced terms and conditions - but make certain the company has a good reputation.

As you plan to set up your new credit card processing service rates, it may help to let them know in advance that this program is coming so they can prepare and perhaps even help to get the word out to other potential customers. Then, after installing your new credit card processor, you should not hear complaints that anyone was blindsided or treated unfairly. If someone does complain, politely remind them of the earlier notices.

When you are ready to start processing credit card payments, don't be tempted to go for the option with the most features or the most sophisticated set-up. Opt for a system that will best suit your company needs and your customers' interests, as well as offering the best credit card processing rates.

Tip! You can set up a retail credit card processing program using a swiped card method of processing payments. Or you can use MOTO for mainstream commerce.

Shane Penrod is the founder of http://www.Merchant-Account-Quotes.com Specializing in allowing merchants the ability to shop and compare multiple quotes from national merchant account providers. For free quotes on merchant account rates and fees, please go to http://www.merchant-account-quotes.com





Thursday, November 09, 2006

1. Independent Sales Organization:

An independent sales organization (ISO) is essentially a registered credit card merchant broker who represents one or more third party credit card processors. They set up and service credit card merchants, but do not do the actual card processing. ISOs are less selective than banks, but that comes at a somewhat higher price. They are also not strictly regulated the way banks are, so be particularly vigilant when evaluating potential suppliers.


2. Bank:

The bank you use for your business finances should be the first place you contact. Banks can be the easiest source to turn to for credit card services; many offer service packages for businesses that include merchant services. Most banks do not process credit card transactions themselves, though.


3. Third Party Credit Card Processors:

Third party credit card processors dedicate themselves to handling credit card processing. As such, they take care of different aspects of the transaction process such as authorization, billing, reporting, and settlement.


4. Financial Service Provider:

Master Card and Visa require you to establish a merchant account through an intermediary. However American Express and Discover give you the option of applying directly to them.


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Buyer's Guide.

1. Compare variable fees:

Check on fees that tend to vary between providers and may be negotiable. Such fees include set-up, cancellation, and monthly minimum.


2. Get the complete picture:

Once you know all the fees a provider will charge you, figure out what your total cost would be based on your best and worst recent months.


3. Read the contract:

Make sure to read the contract in detail to understand all fees, minimum charges, the term of the agreement, and termination clauses. Some providers will not cover every point and leave it to you to uncover the details.

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