Credit Card Processing

Shopping Around for the Right Credit Card Processing Company

Investing in a merchant account is one of the smartest things a small business owner can do. Especially with the holiday season coming up, when you’ll be doing a much higher volume of sales, it makes sense to partner with a payment processing company that can help increase your productivity. But with so many companies now offering merchant accounts, it’s tough to know which one to choose.

If you’re in the market for a merchant account, and you want to get the most bang for your buck, keep the following points in mind as you shop around:

Knowledgeable customer support available 24/7. You need to partner with a credit card company that offers experienced in-house support in the event that a transaction doesn’t go through or you have questions about your account. Some merchant accounts only offer an FAQ page on their website or a database of articles that may or may not address your particular concern. Not only is this lack of support frustrating if you’re in the midst of a transaction, it could translate to the loss of a sale. When you sign up with a credit card company, make sure you’re able to get a live person on the phone when you need them. 

Flexible pricing structure. If you’re a merchant who’s doing a large volume of sales (or you plan to!) transaction fees can add up. This is in addition to any monthly fees the payment processing company charges for doing business with them as well as statement fees. In order to keep the most amount of money in your pocket, make sure the company you choose offers a flexible pricing structure. They may charge a higher monthly fee (for example $50), but they might also offer a much lower transaction fee than their competitors.  Find out more about merchant account fees.

Free equipment for processing credit cards.
Some credit card and wireless terminals can cost an arm and a leg, and this is in addition to the percentage you’re charged per transaction. When you’re on the hunt for the right payment processing company to do business with, look for those that offer equipment at no cost when you open an account. Certain credit card processing agencies may even waive setup and application fees. It pays to negotiate!

Selecting a credit card processing company that fits the needs of your business doesn’t have to be rocket science, but you need to be informed. If you want to increase your bottom line, streamline your payments and have peace of mind, it pays to shop around.

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Credit Card Processing Do’s and Don’ts Part II

The key to getting the most out of credit card processing is to avoid certain pitfalls. In this article, I will share with you a few merchant credit card processing do’s and don’ts.
Do’s of Merchant Credit Card Processing
Do gather up quotes from a few merchant service providers. Don’t base your final decision on price – consider the features and benefits the merchant account provider has to offer. Plus, you want to investigate a little and find out if it is the right company to do business with.
Do set up a seasonal merchant account if you are only open for a few months out of the year. Many businesses like tax preparation agencies, beach resorts and ski resorts are open on a seasonal basis.
Do check your statements every month and check for any kind of unusual activity.
Do get setup with the proper merchant account (i.e. ecommerce, retail, etc.).
Do offer customers other payment options such as payments by check.
Do keep all of your receipts in a safe location.
Do get set up 2-3 weeks before processing your first credit card sale.
Do pay your last bill with your credit card processing company. If you neglect paying your final bill, this could lead to collections and go on record.
Don’ts of Merchant Credit Card Processing
Don’t settle for your local bank. Most traditional banks have much higher merchant credit card processing fees.
Don’t process credit card refunds for a check or cash payment. A dishonest customer may still file for a chargeback.
Don’t process your personal credit card on your credit card machine.
Don’t email credit card numbers because email is not 100% secure.

Don’t sign up for any merchant account service offer without thoroughly investigating the company.

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Merchant Credit Card Processing Account Safety

Small business merchant credit card processing is one of the best inventions ever made for business owners. It allows you to accept credit cards and process them quickly – unlike checks that take a long time to clear. However, there are a few things that you will need to know when it comes to Merchant credit card processing.  The following are three valuable merchant account safety tips to live by:
Safety Tip#1 – Make sure you verify the address and phone number of the merchant account service. You can verify the number by doing a reverse lookup on the internet. You can also call 411 and see if they can find it for you. Obviously, if it is a very popular merchant service provider, you don’t have to investigate as hard. This applies to start-up companies that haven’t established a proven track record.
Safety Tip#2 – If you’re taking restaurant delivery orders, product orders, hotel reservations or any kind of phone order, make sure you ask for the CVV number. This is the number located on the back of the customer’s credit card.
Safety Tip#3 - Be cautious of international credit card orders, especially if they place unusually large orders on expensive items.  If you own a high-end jewelry store and someone places multiple orders on an $8,000 diamond ring, that’s a red flag. There is a lot of fraudulent activity on the Internet; you have to protect yourself at all levels.
Safety Tip#4 – If you have a delivery service, make sure you request a signature for your records, especially if it is a high-priced item like a computer or a credit card machine. If you deliver the package and leave it at the front door and the customer never receives it, you’ll be responsible for replacing it if he never receives it.
Having a merchant credit card processing account will contribute greatly to any business. When you have a merchant account, you can potentially increase your sales revenue.

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Credit Card Processing Do’s and Don’ts Part I

Whether you own a retail store, restaurant or even a convenience store, accepting credit cardswill not only make life easier for your customers, it can actually boost your revenue. However, there are a few things to know before choosing a merchant service provider. Here are the do’s and don’ts to consider:
Do’s of Merchant Credit Card Processing
·      Make sure you use an Ethernet terminal if you’re still using broadband internet service. This is a lot quicker and you don’t have to use a landline telephone company.
·      Accept all major credit cards. At one time, it was harder for merchants to accept Amex and Discover along with MasterCard and Visa. This is not the case any longer.
·      Consider using a wireless terminal if you expect to have increased sales in the near future or you have a mobile business.
·      Do give your credit card processing company a call if you’re going to process larger than normal transaction amounts (i.e. $10,000 when your average transaction is $3,000).
·      If you’re a retail store owner, make sure you set up a PINpad and PIN debit.
·      Do your homework. Conduct research about credit card processing so that you have some knowledge of how merchant services work.
Don’ts of Merchant Credit Card Processing
·      Don’t sign up with the first merchant account service you stumble upon. Make sure you take the time out to review at least 3 to 4 other companies before making a final decision.
·      Don’t require customers to make a minimum purchase amount in order to accept credit card payments.
·      Never avoid responding to your chargebacks in a timely fashion.
·      Don’t sign the dotted line before thoroughly reading the contract. It’s important that you understand the fees involved. If you don’t understand the terms within the contract and the provider fails to explain them, avoid that merchant service like the plague.
Well, there you have it – the do’s and don’ts of merchant credit card processing. Once you understand these important points, you’re less likely to run into road blocks in the future.

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Prevent Fraud with a Reputable Credit Card Processing Company

Identity theft is on the rise, according to the research firm Javelin Strategy and Research, with 12 million cases being reported in 2011. As a small business owner with a merchant account, how are you protecting the personal data of your customers? Some shoppers may be reluctant to hand over their plastic, because they’re not sure their credit card information will be safe. If you can assure them that you value their business and you’ll take the necessary steps to guard against fraud, you can easily grow a loyal customer base.

It makes good financial sense to partner with a credit card processing company that has a plan in place to guard the personal information of your clients. Some steps these agencies take to prevent fraud are:

Payment gateway. Whether you have an e-commerce website or a traditional brick and mortar, a payment gateway anti-fraud service has a set of protocols in place to protect the credit card information of your customers. Once the shopper initiates a purchase either online or by phone, the payment gateway fraud management system makes sure the data is secure, most likely through encryption technology, and then sends it safely on the way to the payment processor.

Address verification service (AVS). This fraud deterrent ensures that the info a customer gives you matches the data the bank that issued the card has on file. If this information doesn’t match up, the transaction will be declined. AVS is a boon to the small business owner, because if you ship merchandise paid for with a stolen card, you’re not only out of the cost of your product and shipping expenses, you also have to face chargeback fees.

Tokenization. We’ve all seen tokenization before when placing an order online. The fraud protection process replaces personal information with symbols that shield the shopper’s information and cut down on the amount of data a business needs to keep on file. Hackers beware. Tokenization makes sensitive credit card data and bank account information much more theft-proof.

Fraud prevention is key for giving your customers peace of mind and for protecting the bottom line of your small business. Speak to a credit card processing or merchant services company today to see what anti-theft measures they have in place to guarantee identity theft doesn’t hit you in the wallet.

Don’t Let Potential Customers Pass You By: 
Sign Up with a Credit Card Processing Company Today

Take a walk through your local mall, and you’re likely to stumble upon a vendor with an old-fashioned sign posted on his kiosk: Cash or Check Only. Like many small business owners who don’t accept credit cards, the owner of the kiosk probably believes his merchandise is so unique, customers will go out of their way to drop by the ATM first before buying his wares. Or this merchant has grown comfortable doing business with the mall rats who often stop by his stand that he doesn’t notice the other customers who are passing him by because he’s not set up to accept credit cards.

Are you in the same boat as this kiosk owner? Are you comfortable with the level of sales you’ve managed to generate by accepting cash or checks only? Are you under the impression that you don’t have a large enough customer base to warrant credit card processing? Do you believe the processing fees on a merchant account are too high or that it will take too long for the money to hit your bank?

Whether you sell hand-knitted scarves or you run a small accounting business, it makes good financial sense to invest in a merchant account. Haven’t you outgrown that faded Cash or Check sign in the window? Here are three reasons you should sign up with a credit card processing company today:

Impromptu sales.
Let’s suppose that you do sell hand-knitted scarves for a living. When you wear your scarves, you probably get stopped all the time by potential customers, commenting on the beauty of your product. Instead of earning a modest income with your homemade goods, you could be racking up impromptu customers with a wireless merchant account that you plug into your cell phone or tablet. Many merchant accounts feature affordable processing fees and the money is transferred to your bank within a day or two. Instead of handing out a business card in the parking lot or on the sidewalk, you could be accepting credit cards from a spontaneous customer base that you encounter during your travels.

Streamline your cash flow.
As a small business owner, how many times have you had to run to the bank before closing to deposit the cash and checks you’ve collected from customers? Not only are you wasting gas money and valuable hours that otherwise could be spent running your business, you have to wait for those checks to clear … if they don’t bounce altogether. By having a merchant account in place, the money is automatically deposited into your bank with a day or two, and most credit card processing companies offer account management.

The mark of a leader. In today’s tech-saturated global marketplace, don’t be a flip phone user in a smart phone society. Having a merchant account sends a message of prestige and professionalism.

Businesses That Accept Credit Cards Experience Major Increases in Sales

Today, there are many payment processing options available for business owners, such as credit card machines (Point of Sale-POS), wireless credit card machines and various mobile phone payment options.
Recent studies have shown businesses which accept credit card payments experience an upsurge in sales almost instantly. Studies also show that credit card holders are more likely to buy from a business that accepts credit cards than one that does not.
Here are a few reasons to offer credit card payments as a payment option for your customers:
Attract impulse buyers.
Consumers are more likely to make impulse purchases with their credit cards. They also love using credit cards because they can earn cash awards and bonus points from their credit card provider.
Accepting credit cards builds credibility.
Experts suggest when business owners advertise the major credit card logo at their place of business or website, it builds the consumers trust. In addition, statistics show that more than 90 percent of Internet purchases are made with major credit cards. If your business does not accept credit cards, you’re losing money.
Receive money from your customers instantly.
When a business accepts credit cards, it can improve cash flow. When your customers purchase your products or services, the funds from the credit card sale are immediately transferred to your bank account. With a credit card machine, you no longer have to wait a long time for a check to clear before receiving money.
It’s affordable.
The days of paying expensive merchant account fees are long gone. Credit card processing fees are very inexpensive. They’re so inexpensive that a start-up business on a shoe-string budget can afford to accept credit cards.
Increase orders.
Customers are more likely to make recurring payments than they would with other forms of payments.
Fast and easy set up.
The overall set up process is very easy. Depending on the merchant account provider, you can be up and running within 1-2 days.
Today, there is really no good excuse for not accepting credit cards. Your customers will expect you to accept credit cards. If your competition is accepting credit card payments and you’re not, will lose potential profits.    

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Small Business Credit Card Processing: Is Not Accepting Credit Cards Hurting Your Business?

It is amazing how there are several businesses out there that still do not accept credit cards. Every business that sells products/services (regardless of size) should accept (all) major credit cards, especially restaurants and retail store owners.  Additionally, if you own a business that processes recurring payments or monthly subscription fees, you will need to have some form of credit card processing.

I remember wanting to place a large food order at a popular delicatessen but they did not accept credit card payments. So, I had to lose my spot on line to use their ATM. I was not too thrilled about the $2.50 ATM fee.  If I wasn’t so famished, I would have left to go to their competitor up the street.

Why won’t some businesses accept credit cards?  Some business owners immediately assume that having a credit card terminal or credit card machine will cost a fortune. In reality, they are actually losing money by not accepting credit card payments.

A decade ago, a business may have been able to squeak by without accepting credit cards. Today, there is no excuse for not providing credit card processing for your customers. Even the Girl Scouts now accepts credit card payments via iPhone. If you can buy ‘Thin Mints’ with your credit card every business should accept credit card payments.

Dispelling the Myth That Credit Card Processing Is Expensive

Contrary to popular belief, small business credit card processing is not expensive. You don’t have to spend a fortune on credit card processing. There are a few good merchant account services that charge low rates.  Depending on the credit card processing provider you choose, there is usually a low set-up fee and you can even get a free credit card terminal. Make sure you conduct a little research and compare fees so you can get the best deal possible.

When you think about the enormous population of consumers that use credit cards online and offline, you can see it’s a worthwhile investment. According to financial experts, there are approximately 609.8 million credit cards held by consumers in the United States.

It is important to realize that your consumers want to make their lives as simple as possible. Using a credit card to make a purchase automatically makes their shopping experience a breeze.   

I Have PayPal & Google Checkout Do I Still Need Credit Card Processing?

If you own an eCommerce business or you own a service based business, you should strongly consider getting credit card processing in addition to PayPal or Google Checkout. Although these online merchant services offer great payment options, not every customer you come in contact with will have (or want) to use these payment gateways. This is why having a credit card terminal or credit card processing machine is essential to the success of your business.

By the way: My favorite deli now accepts credit card payments. However, an order must be well over $10 for them to swipe your card.  They’re getting there – slowly but surely!

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My Background in Credit Card Processing

I used to sell credit card processing to businesses so I know the industry pretty well.  With that being said, I can’t say I’m happy with this statement as merchant service companies can be misleading and I don’t want to associate myself with that reputation.  I started this blog to help you find legitimate credit card processing companies as I am no longer in the business and I know what to look for.  Read and learn before you buy…

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The Best Merchant Account

I've spent years researching and writing about different merchant services companies. Did you know that the best credit card processing company for a retail store, may not be the best merchant account for an online ecommerce store? This is why it is important to know everything so you can make an informed decision!
Do you want to know who I think the best merchant services company is for your business? Fill out the form below: