September 22, 2014

What To Look For In An Online Credit Card Processor

The Internet has made doing business much more convenient for you and for your customers.  Offering your customers the ability to pay for services and products online is quickly becoming a necessity in the current day in order to have a successful business.  But if you offer this service, chances are good that you don’t have the ability to process the card payments yourself, so you will need to hire credit card processors online.  These companies will handle all the details necessary for you to be able to accept these payments in exchange for a fee.  When you are searching for the best credit card processors online, look for a few of the following things.


Remember that the Internet is still a fairly new concept, and the idea of purchasing products online is even more new.  Most companies may not have more than ten or fifteen years of experience, so don’t expect much more than that.


Approval Rating


When you are searching for the best top credit card processors online, research the approval rating of the company.  You should expect at least ninety percent approval rating, and many companies offer closer to one hundred percent.  These ratings are calculated using information from the companies serviced by the processor, so you can feel like you are getting accurate information.  When you pay for this service, expect perfection.  You may encounter a few mistakes along the way, but you are dealing with information that is sensitive to your customers.  It is vital to them and to your business that their credit card information is handled appropriately and confidentially, and that you hire the best credit card processors online to process your transactions.


Past And Current Customers


Ask for a list of current customers, or do your research to see who the processor provides services to.  Processors may provide online credit card payments processes to big companies that you will recognize.  This may make you feel more secure in your decision.  Consider contacting the smaller companies and asking questions about the service they receive from the processing company.  Remember that more established companies are more likely to deal with larger clients, and that this can be an advantage and a disadvantage.  Hotels and companies who sell products online are examples of customers who will deal in large volumes with the processor, and may be the best ones to contact.


Expect Good Customer Service


You should always expect the best customer service from any company you do business with.  If you are not getting good service, chances are that your customers are not either.  If you have a concern about the service you are receiving, take your issue to a manager or supervisor. If you feel the problem has not been resolved after some time, consider moving your business to another company.  If your customers are given bad service when dealing with their money, they will be less likely to purchase from you or use your company in the future.  It is absolutely essential that you and your customers receive the most professional and friendly customer service.


Security And Stability


It cannot be stressed enough how important it is that the financial information your customers use to purchase your goods or services is kept secure.  Compromising that information can lead to identity theft or credit card fraud for your customers, and can leave them angry and disappointed in your company.  Ask the company up front if they have had any problems with security issues.  After you get their answer, do a little investigating of your own to determine how they handle security issues with their employees.  The company you hire should not put your customers at risk.


Stability is another factor that is important in a credit card processing company.  If the system is constantly offline or not working correctly, this can seriously affect your business.  You should expect high percentages of accuracy and efficiency from the company you choose.  These things are necessary to keep your business running smoothly and to keep your customers coming back for your products.




Established Companies Versus Lower Costs


There are benefits to choosing companies that are established and have been around for a while.  They are more likely to have their kinks worked out, and can offer you a large selection of references to consult before making a decision.  They may also have more efficient customer service, and have proven that they can stay relevant in a changing market.  But there are also benefits to choosing a smaller company.  They may be more eager to please, and you will get more personal service.  Credit card processing fees may also be lower on a service that is just getting established or hasn’t been around as long.  Weigh the benefits of lower costs versus the benefits of an established company when you make your decision.


When your customers are purchasing your items, they will expect a quick transaction that runs smoothly.  Waiting for a transaction to process can leave the customer confused about whether or not the payment went through.  A good credit card processing company will offer a speedy transaction to your customers so they can pay for their goods and get on with their day quickly.  Most people go to the Internet to avoid the long lines and the hassle of shopping in a store, so the Internet should offer them speed and convenience when they are shopping.


How Easy Is The Service To Use?


This is a two-part equation.  Is the service easy for you to set up and use, and it is an easy process for your customers to use?  Are problems quickly handled and easily fixed by your employees, or do you have to wait several days for a service call?  An online credit card processor should have a fairly simple system for you to set up and use, and for your customers to use to purchase your products.


Offer Your Customers The Best


Credit card processors create a unique situation in that they communicate directly with your customers in your place.  Because of this, you should expect perfection, and make sure that it is offered to your customers when they purchase your goods or services.


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Things to look for in an online credit card processor.

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Payment Processing And Virtual Counseling Services

According to 2010 United States Census Data, over 90% of the land in the United States is considered rural.  However, just over 15% of the United States population continues to live in rural areas.  This has created a shortage of qualified professionals to adequately address the needs of millions of Americans who live far away from any major metropolitan area.  Furthermore, in a small town everyone seems to know what everyone is up to.


Fortunately, the ever-evolving world of e commerce has a solution for almost all problems as long as both parties have high-speed internet.  Whereas e commerce used to only largely involve the placement of orders for goods, now e commerce transcends services ranging from tutoring to psychics to counseling.  One thing always remains the same:  online service providers need to be paid for their services, usually via credit card.  And, the best credit card processing e commerce has to offer is the easiest and most effective.


•             What are virtual counseling services?


Counseling services are in high demand in rural areas given the dearth of licensed counselors, counseling psychologists, and licensed counseling social workers (although they have different degrees, most of them have similar job descriptions).  The field of counseling centers on addressing more run-of-the mill hardships rather than severe mental illness.  Some examples of problems that counselors might commonly address are grief, marital issues, and mild depression or anxiety.  Problems associated with a dearth of readily available counseling services are two-fold.  A licensed counselor might have a hard time building a large enough client base in a small town, and it might still remain difficult for clients somewhat nearby to drive the necessary distance to see the counselor.  Although therapeutic services have been offered via phone for decades, there was something awkward about telling all of one’s concerns to a faceless telephone.  One proposed solution has been for services to be provided via a videoconferencing program online.


•             How can a licensed professional start providing services virtually?


There are several crucial steps to take before you decide to provide virtual counseling services:

1.            Check with your state licensure board to see if there is anything extra you need to take into account or do.  It is possible that you might have to market your services as a life coach or something similar but could disclose your specific qualifications in your home state on your website.  Also ask about you state’s policy regarding counseling out-of-state clients.  Granted that insurance companies tend not to cover life coaches, it might be unrealistic to charge a normal market rate.  However, you can save time and money by not worrying about insurance claims or renting more expensive office space.


2.            Create a website with videoconferencing capabilities and all necessary disclaimers dictated by your state licensure board.  Make sure you keep original copies of all necessary documentation sent via snail mail and signed by the client.  Make photocopies to send back or scan any pertinent documents back to clients.


3.            Create systems for client acquisition and payment.  These encompass everything from choosing a standard intake interview to finding the best credit card processing e commerce services.  It is not uncommon for clients in therapeutic relationships to get the line between friend/confidant and professional counselor blurred, thus resulting in difficulties acquiring the agreed upon payment.  The best credit card processing companies would probably involve finding an online credit card processing service that holds the client’s credit card number.  Instead of the client having to find his or her credit card after every counseling session and pay later, he or she could simply click on one button that authorizes the payment.  That way, the counseling service provider is much less likely to have to play the role of a debt collector.


•             What clients are best suited for virtual counseling services?

Granted that some clients have geographic barriers to accessing counseling services, there are a number of clients exceptionally well suited to benefit from virtual counseling.  They tend to have the following traits:

             They are comfortable with computers and do not view virtual counseling as strange or unnerving.

             They are not undergoing more severe issues that could make them a possible threat to themselves or others.

             They do not have a history of violence towards themselves or others.

             They have a specific presenting problem and are seeking counseling services willingly (i.e. they have not been court ordered to attend counseling).

             They are an adult and the counseling plan does not involve a legal guardian.

             Virtual counseling is not perpetuating an existing problem, such as a propensity to spend a detrimental amount of time online coupled with agoraphobia (a fear of leaving home).

Some things for virtual counselors to remember are:

             Always have a client’s information and file immediately in front of you in case of an emergency.  Also periodically make sure that the client’s contact information is up-to-date along with an emergency contact.

             Although you may work virtually, you will still need another professional to cover for you in the event you are unable to work for a few days due to illness or you are otherwise unavailable.

             Virtual counseling sessions should be as close to in person counseling sessions as possible.  For example, clients should have to schedule appointments and be timely.  It should go unsaid that rules regarding confidentiality, payment, and disclaimers still apply.


•             In summary


Not too long ago, the idea of having a conversation where you could see the other person’s face was something that was common on science fiction shows.  Now, e commerce has expanded to not only make that a reality but a business that can offer services to those who might not otherwise be able to access them.  The field of virtual counseling can be of major benefit to people who have physical or geographic barriers to attending traditional counseling sessions.  Not only do all prospective virtual counselors need to do some research before launching a website and offering services regarding licensure and other regulations that vary by state, but virtual counseling is not right for all clients.  However, the more advanced communication technology and e commerce becomes, the better able qualified personnel are able to serve populations in need of services but lack the resources by which to access them.

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payment processing and virtual counseling services explained.

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Merchant Processing Basics For Small Business

Whether or not you should take credit cards in your small business shouldn’t even be the question anymore. If you want to stay competitive in any market, you’ve got to have the best merchant processing payments avenue. 80% of households have a credit or debit card they use for their everyday purchases. These are your customers. The decision not to accept credit cards could cost you sales and lifetime customers. Besides, with the rise of credit/debit card usage over the years, the average point of sale transaction amount has also risen. In effect, consumers are spending more when it’s on their card.


Even with the major advantages to your bottom line, when you start accepting credit cards there are a few other considerations you’ll have to make. There are fees, regulations, requirements, equipment, and lots of decisions to make about the best retail merchant processing.


Educating yourself on industry lingo, vocabulary, and overall system of merchant processing will help you in the long run. You’ll have a good idea of what you want and what you need. This will help set the expectations and the whole process can be smooth sailing.


Word Games


Like a lot of specialty industries, the world of retail merchant processing has a lot of its own words and phrases you’ll want to get familiar with.


Authorization Fee- Typically charged when the card holder and card aren’t actually present with you. Maybe this is for an order for a student who’s Mom in the neighboring state is calling in with credit card info. Whatever the reason, all the best merchant processing companies charge a flat rate for this service, but it often times gets bundled in with your other fees.


Chargebacks- Even if you don’t accept credit cards already, you’re probably familiar with this infamous term. Customers that pay with a credit card typically have 60 days to dispute a charge on their card. You’ll be notified by the issuing bank and will be given a certain amount of time to “answer’ the dispute and provide the requested data. If you do not, or cannot do so, the bank will issue a refund and you’ll not only lose the sale, but your transaction and interchange fees for that original sale as well.


Interchange Fees- This is the collection of fees that the major card associations will charge per transaction. Depending on the actual account you have, how the transaction is sent, and the type of credit card actually being used, these fees may vary. It’s usually a flat amount per transaction, plus a small percentage of the overall sale amount.  Again, this fee is often bundled into the total rate.


Rates- This is usually referring to the entire bundle of rates that you will be charged. There is usually a per transaction fee and a small percentage of the total sale (just like the interchange fee). This rate has usually taken into consideration all the other communication and processing fees. Because the major card associations control the interchange fee, it’s pretty much considered non-negotiable. However, your overall rate can often be negotiated because your local merchant processor will have direct control over this.


The actual rate charged for each transaction will vary on how the transaction is processed. Cards that actually get swiped with the customer standing in front of you will qualify for the lowest rate because this presents the lowest risk to those doing the actual merchant processing. It’s assumed that you are verifying the card holder’s identity. To ensure you get the lowest rates, process your cards at the qualifying rate if possible.


Qualified rate is the rate you will pay when the customer is standing in front of you, or in your storefront. Because you have the ability to verify the customer’s identity, it is technically a lower risk to the merchant processor, so they will offer the lowest rate for these transactions. When you see low advertised rates, this is usually the rate they are talking about, as well.


Mid-Qualified rate is the rate your business could pay if the physical card is not present at the time of transaction. This could be for a number of different reasons, of course, even if the magnetic strip isn’t working correctly on the card and you have to manually enter the credit card number. The difference to you as a small business owner, probably will not be significant.


Non-Qualified rate is the rate you’ll pay for any other transaction that doesn’t fit into the two other categories. These are usually high risk transactions, like the card isn’t present and there wasn’t an address verification performed, or the transaction wasn’t settled within 48 hours.


Downgrades are basically what happen when a transaction is a higher risk than the qualified rate allows for. As in the definitions above, if your transaction isn’t at the “qualified rate”, you’ll get downgrading to the “mid-qualified rate” and so on.


Now that you have a basic understanding of some of the new terms in this whole merchant processing arena, let’s talk about the major players and what what’s all involved with processing a credit card. Below is the cast of characters in the best retail merchant processing, by order of appearance.


The Merchant Service Provider


This is the team of people that have probably called you a zillion times since you first opened your business. The merchant accounts provider is responsible for setting up your new account with all the equipment, data lines, and programs necessary to begin transacting. They also act as the middleman, managing data communication between the merchant and the card associations, processors, and merchant bank.


Payment Gateways


An absolutely critical and required component for most merchant processors, a payment gateway acts as the portal between the merchant and the issuing bank.


Authorization Processors


A processor transmits the data that actually receives the authorization on the front end of the transaction. There are also back-end processors that manage the batching and tip modifications. Yes, there are fees, usually per transaction, but they’re typically bundled into your rate.


The Issuing Bank


This is the bank that actually extends a line of credit to the consumer. Their brand is usually on the card somewhere.


Card Association


The card association is that whole group, or network of issuing and merchant banks that process credit cards of a specific brand.


Acquiring Bank


Also known as the merchant bank, this is the bank that actually provides you, as the merchant, the account to accept credit card transactions. They handle the payment authorizations and get a little piece of the pie for every transaction made.


Now that it’s clear that your small business should be taking credit cards and you have the vocabulary in your arsenal, you’ll be able to track down companies that offer the best retail merchant processing.

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The basics of merchant processing for small business.

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Ecommerce Merchant Accounts: What You Need To Know

Using technology has always changed the way businesses work. In times past, the invention of the assembly line drastically changed the way products were made and how quickly one could turn a profit. For today’s business owners, the Internet has produced some of the biggest changes many companies have encountered in recent years. With a population that is increasingly connected and increasingly tech-savvy, it’s important not to ignore the benefits that an online store can provide you with. Whether you are starting out online or adding a virtual branch to your bricks and mortar operation, having the best ecommerce merchant account can make processing customer transactions that much easier. Here are some answers to questions commonly asked about ecommerce merchant account services.


What is a merchant account and why do I need one?


A merchant account is what allows online stores to process credit card payments and usually requires both a payment gateway and a processor. Through the payment gateway, online stores can collect and encrypt payment information input by consumers. Through the processor, online stores can send transaction information to card issuers for approval. Once a transaction is approved, the processor then facilitates the transfer of funds from the client’s account to the seller’s. In essence, without some kind of merchant account or other payment option, online stores would likely be unable to function because an exchange of funds would not take place.


What is the difference between having your own merchant account and using other payment options?


Some online merchants opt to use payment services provided by other online companies that allow users to create an account and then pay through that account on a different site when checking out of your store. By doing so, online merchants can bypass the ecommerce merchant account requirement. However, this practice may be costing some businesses customers. Why? Using payment options like the one described requires the customer to navigate away from your site and enter payment information on another. Such a practice may be confusing and off-putting for some consumers because it can cause them to feel unsure if they are actually paying for what they want to buy, so they abandon the transaction. Think of it as if you were running a bricks and mortar store. Most shoppers would feel suspicious if they were allowed to browse and fill their carts in your store but then required to leave the cart behind, exit the building, and enter another business to pay for their intended purchase. Having your own merchant account lets customers complete the entire transaction  through your site. Keeping shoppers on just one site helps build trust and increases the chances that instead of thinking about making a purchase, customers will actually do so, allowing you to move more inventory and increase profits.


What are the costs of having a merchant account?


Depending on the type of business that you do, ecommerce merchant account companies have various rates and accounts available for online merchants. Typically you can expect to see the following types of charges on your bill.


•             Discount rate: This is a percentage of your monthly profits that you pay for your merchant account services. Rates are usually determined by a variety of factors, including a company’s credit score and the risk the business poses to the merchant service company.


•             Transaction fee: For each transaction that is processed through your merchant account, you will pay what is called a transaction fee to the merchant account provider. In some cases this may be a flat rate. In others it may be a set percentage of each transaction.


•             Statement costs: Some ecommerce merchant account services will charge you a fee each time a statement is prepared for your business. Be sure to ask potential service providers if they do this before you sign a contract.


•             Application costs: Because a merchant account is, at its core, a financial agreement between a business and the account provider, companies must usually apply and wait for approval before they will be granted an account. Depending on a company’s specific application process, there may be an application fee to cover the cost of processing paperwork.


•             Set-up fees: When you first set up your merchant account, you may be required to pay a one-time fee.


•             Continued support charges: The best ecommerce merchant account services come with continuing support so that you can call or contact the merchant provider should you have a problem with the account. However, you may be charged a monthly fee for such a service. Other companies may not require you to pay monthly but instead allow you to pay for each service call that you make.


Should my payment gateway and my processor be supported by the same company?


Don’t forget that in order to process credit card payments online, you will need both a payment gateway and a processor. However, it isn’t uncommon for merchant account providers to stick strictly to processing. A good merchant account company will allow you the option of getting your payment gateway and processor from the same company, which can streamline installation and support. Getting both from the same provider also ensures that they are compatible so you don’t waste money on processors and gateways that are incapable of working together.


Moving Your Business Forward


The ability to process credit card payments opens up your options, allowing you to sell more merchandise in bigger markets. That’s why an ecommerce merchant account can be so crucial to the success of an online business. As you examine the payment options for your online store, use the above information to make an informed decision. Merchant accounts allow online stores to process card payments and get paid. Requiring customers to pay for your goods or services off-site may result in higher transaction abandonment rates. Various fees may apply to your merchant account, so ask providers for specific details. When possible, choose gateway and processor services from the same company. It may also be important to find other services you may need to offer your customers with payment options that best work for them. Some examples include check processing and over-the-phone payment processing options. Whatever you decide, make sure to shop around to find the best services for the right price—the best ecommerce merchant account companies can go a long way in helping your business become what you’ve always wanted it to be.



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What you need to know about eCommerce merchant accounts.

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Why And How To Accept Credit Cards Online

If you are interested in learning a quick and easy way that you can earn some extra money, it is time for you to start learning how you can accept credit card payments on your website. You don’t need to be a major business owner to accept online payments. In fact, all you really need is a website and something that is worth some kind of value. By adding one of the best credit cards online accept payments methods to your website, you are giving your clients a convenient way to help grow your bank account.


The Ever Growing Popularity Of Convenience


In the fast paced world of today, customers are starting to absolutely demand convenience. People are no longer interested in waiting in long lines at the local store, and they most certainly don’t want to have to worry about carrying around a wallet full of actual money. And why should you have to?


To combat these concerns, many physical store locations have already turned to an almost entirely virtual store front, where everything can be purchased on the internet. It seems that if you want to stay up-to-date on modern trends and satisfying the demands of your customers, you need to be willing to jump on board the train of convenience. In short, credit cards online accept services are one of those things that you simply must be willing to learn about.


In an effort to help you get started with one of the best credit cards online accept payment solutions, this article will go over some of the things you need to know.


How To Set Up An Account With A Credit Card Processing Company


In order for you to be able to accept credit card payments on your website, you must first learn how to set up a merchant account. To be brief, a merchant account is simply an account that exists between you and some type of credit cards online accept service provider. There are many different types of online credit card processing companies out there, so you have many options to choose from.


Luckily, setting up a merchant account with one of these providers is fairly simple. Just follow these 5 basic steps:


1 – Choose A Reliable Credit Card Processing Company


The first thing you will want to do is to pick out a great credit card processing company. With so many different choices out there, it can be difficult to know which one is the best credit cards online accept service provider. Nevertheless, this can be a very important decision so make sure to choose carefully. Your credit card processing company will be the one to process each credit card transaction and make sure the money ends up in your bank account. In short, you want to set up an account with someone you can trust.


To find the best service provider for your website, make sure that you compare a variety of customer reviews so you have some first-hand accounts of personal experiences with various types of providers. You may also want to seek professional advice.


2 – Negotiate A Good Price


In order for you to be able to accept credit card payments on your website, you will need to be willing to pay a price. Online credit card processing companies charge a variety of different fees, so you will want to make sure you are adequately informed before you set up your account with any given provider. Many charges are negotiable, so don’t be afraid to attempt to negotiate a better price for your credit cards online accept payments account.


Although each provider is different, here are some common types of fees that you may want to ask about:


*Monthly minimums – If you do not meet a certain amount in a given month, you may be required to pay a fee.


*Charge per transaction – Most credit card processing providers have a fixed charge for each transaction made. If your website is offering several items or services that are very inexpensively priced, high transaction charges may greatly reduce your profits.


*Standard monthly fees – Each month, you will likely have a standard number of fees. Statement fees, usage fees, and any overage fees may be included in your bill each month.


*Discount rate – The discount rate is the fixed percentage that you will be required to pay with each credit card transaction made on your website. An internet discount rate usually amounts to approximately 2% or 3% of the transaction amount.


*Cost of initial setup – You may be required to pay a base amount for the initial set up of your account.


When you consider all of the fees that you might be required to pay to set up an account with a credit cards online accept payment service provider, you might start to feel overwhelmed and ultimately unmotivated to do so. However, though the list may seem long, most people find that the cost associated with setting up an account is very small when compared to the profits and benefits.


3 – Start Accepting Credit Card Payments On Your Website


As soon as you have set up an account with a good credit cards online accept payments service provider, it is time for you to start accepting credit card payments on your website. In other words, this is the time for you to start using your account to make you some extra money.


If you really want to be able to use your website to make a profit, you will need to make sure you know how to run it like a business. Here are a few basic things to remember         :


*Make sure your website appears professional and well organized. If it doesn’t look like a business website, people aren’t going to trust you as a reliable merchant.


*Be sure to include an “about” page and a detailed “privacy policy” in a place that is easily seen. These are almost always found on business sites.


*Keep detailed records to simplify taxes and to help you monitor your profits and expenses. This is for your benefit, and for the benefit of anyone who might need to see records of previous transactions.


Now that you have learned a few simple tips about accepting credit card payments, you are one step closer to building a profitable website.

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How to accept credit cards online and the importance of it.

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A Guide To Applying For Merchant Account Services

This holiday season, ecommerce sales are estimated to be at an all-time high.  Many people are planning on paying for their holidays with credit and debit cards.  Whether they need to make monthly payments for all of their holiday expenses, or they simply enjoy the rewards that come from paying with your debit and credit cards, people are certainly paying with plastic.  In fact, over half of Americans have at least 2 credit cards, and many people use them as their main form of payment.


For business owners, this means being prepared with the essential tools that allows them to accept electronic forms of payment from their customers.  Although there is a small fee charged per transaction, the business you will receive from accepting the best merchant account visa credit cards is far more beneficial.  Businesses simply can’t afford to miss out on all of the electronic purchasing that is going on.


In order to open a merchant account visa, you must qualify with a financial institute.  High risk businesses, such as telemarketers, travel and cruise merchants, and internet auction businesses, may have challenges when applying for a merchant account.  Financial institutions look at key details when considering an application.  The length of time that you’ve been in business, a favorable credit history, and past merchant account ratings are all taken into consideration when applying for a merchant account.


Step 1: Check Your Credit Rating


A good credit rating is an indicator of how reliable you are in regards to your credit obligations.  Paying creditors back in a timely manner, and avoiding liens or bankruptcies will boost your credit rating.  If you do have bankruptcies, liens, or late payments on your credit history, it is important to have them removed before applying for a merchant account.  Obtain a copy of your credit report, and review it carefully.  You can contact the credit reporting bureau and ask the procedure for removing bankruptcies and liens from your credit report.  Although you may have to pay higher fees because of your credit history, it is well worth the opportunity to accept credit and debit cards from your customers.  Many of the best merchant account visa cards providers will consider all details on your credit report before moving on with the application process.


Step 2:  Research Possible Companies


There are many institutions that offer merchant account services.  While every business has different needs, it is important to find a company that will provide the services that you need.  Researching potential companies is a crucial step in the process.  Be sure to research all opportunities before you begin submitting applications.  Here are some details to consider when looking at various companies:


•             Monthly Fees:  monthly fees are charged to pay for the services of the company.  This pays for your monthly statements, your credit and debit card service, and any other services you have added on to your policy.


•             Equipment & Installation:  Whether you are renting your equipment or purchasing it, you will need to pay the company for the software, hardware, programming, and the actual setup of the program.  These fees may vary depending on what type of hardware you need, as well as the types of services you want to provide for your customers.  When setting up ecommerce online payments, you can often avoid the hardware equipment charge altogether.


•             Discount Rate:  In order to process and settle transactions, the financial institution will charge a percentage of credit or debit card sales amounts.   When determining your discount rate, banks will take into consideration your average sale amount.  If you have larger order sizes on average, the bank will charge you a lower discount rate.


•             Transaction Fees:  The merchant will pay a transaction fee for every transaction that is run through their merchant account.  For businesses with large order sales amounts, the fee is often minimal; however, those businesses that sale a lot of low-cost products needs to find the lowest transaction fee possible.


•             Reserve Costs:  Some banks will hold money in an account to cover contested charges, or chargeback fees.  When a cardholder disputes a charge, the money is put back on their card, and the merchant is out the money.  Make sure you understand the bank’s policy on chargebacks fully, before signing.


•             Shopping Cart Capabilities:  Many merchant processing services will offer a free shopping cart to their clients.  Make sure that the shopping cart is compliant with your current software to avoid processing delays.


•             Accepted Cards:  You may want to consider the types of credit and debit cards that you want to accept.  The best merchant account visa processor will allow you to accept all cards from your customers; however, they may charge various fees depending on the card being used.


Step 3:  Begin Application Process


By applying to several different banks online, you will be able to see the various plans that are available to you.  You may be able to save a lot of money if one bank offers a lower discount rate.  Many banks will offer individualized plans after taking into account your credit rating, merchant account history, and business evaluation.  Here are some of the potential questions you may be asked on a merchant account application:


•             The type of services and products you provide

•             Average sale amount per transaction

•             EIN number

•             Credit information

•             Information from past merchant accounts, if any

•             Business owner’s information

•             Length of time business has been operating

•             References

•             Business’s banking information


It is not uncommon for a representative from the financial institution come to perform an onsite evaluation of your business.  They may inquire about anti-theft policies that you have in place to minimize the occurrence of chargebacks.


Step 4:  Choose your options


Most financial institutions will either email, or snail mail a response to your application.  Now you can gather your offers, and look at the options that are available to you.  After choosing the best option for your business, you can accept the offer.  The bank will then give you instructions on how to set up your merchant services.


Businesses take pride in taking care of their customer.  By doing so, they reap the benefits of being profitable and are ensured a long business career far into the future.


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A guide to merchant processing.

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The Basics Of Point Of Sale Equipment And Systems

Many businesses use point of sale systems to manage the sale of goods and services.  A point of sale system refers to the hardware, or actual machinery, and the software that is associated with a checkout stand.  Most people would think of the cash register when they think of a POS system, but it can actually be much more complicated than that.  POS systems are available in very simple systems for small businesses, or large and complex systems for those businesses with more complicated needs.


When you finish your shopping at a retail store and visit the checkout stand to pay for your purchases, the POS system will be used to check you out and process your payment.  Many retailers and stores have systems designed specifically for their needs, such as clothing boutiques or grocery stores.  Using a point of sale system makes the payment process much simpler and offers customers more options to pay for their goods.  This makes the work environment more pleasant and can also increase the efficiency of the checkout process.  Your business can offer your customers shorter lines and faster checkout services with the right POS system.


The Basics


The most basic part of the system is the cash register.  Cash registers have been around for a long time, but have been integrated with new technologies over the last few decades.  Many registers offer touch screens and faster processing of credit card payments.  The best point of sale touch screen systems will greatly simplify the process of scanning and ringing up goods for customers.  Some registers that are more detailed offer the ability to run complex reports and can also offer memory functions that allow the merchant to look up past reports and transactions.  Some cash registers are even able to complete detailed monthly and yearly reports for sales.


Complex Systems


For larger businesses, or those who have multiple sites for their stores, a more complex POS system is necessary.  Many complex systems offer some or all of the following:


•             Inventory management

•             Generate purchase orders

•             Time clocks

•             Credit card verification

•             Personnel records


Your POS system can truly become a one-stop place for all your business needs.  Many systems will also offer password-protected areas for those places where you don’t want all your employees to be.




The hardware involved in point of sale systems is specific to the purpose of the machine.  Most systems will include a display screen for the clerk, which may also include the best point of sale touch screen displays, depending on the system you purchase.  Hardware also includes a customer display, a cash drawer, a system for swiping credit cards, a bar code scanner, a printer, and a computer that includes the software needed to run the system.




The best point of sale touch screen equipment will offer the ability to customize to fit the needs of the specific business.  Systems that are not flexible will not be popular, as they will only fit one specific business.  It is necessary with a POS system that you are able to customize individual prices, menus and items in order to make the system work well for your business.  An example of customizing for your business would involve a grocery store having a scale for weighing produce that is integrated into the system, or a restaurant POS system that prints tickets directly into the kitchen to inform the cooking staff an order has been placed.


Choosing The Right System


With a large amount of systems available on the market, you may have a hard time choosing the right one for your business.  A POS system is something you will want to feel confident about.  If you don’t like the system, it is not a simple process to replace it, and it can be expensive.  Do extensive research before you make your choice to ensure that you are getting the right system.


Determine Your Needs


The size of your business will make a difference in the type of system you choose.  Smaller businesses will be able to get by with simpler systems with fewer options.  Businesses that are larger or have more sites may need a more complex system.  Assessing the size and scope of your POS needs is necessary before you pick a system.


Past Experience


Is there a system that you have used in the past that seemed particularly user friendly and efficient?  Take into account your past experience, or the past experience of other managers and supervisors with your business.  All the research in the world can’t beat practical application.  If you have a system that you liked, chances are good there is an updated version available that is similar to the one you previously used.


Check Approval Ratings


Check websites that offer approval ratings for different point of sale systems.  Pay special attention to reliability and efficiency.  A POS system that is constantly offline or not working correctly can seriously affect your business.  Customers that regularly have problems paying for their goods may choose to go elsewhere, even if problems with the system aren’t your fault.  The system you use will reflect back on your business with your customers, and they will associate the negative experience with your business.


Also consider the quality of customer support you will receive from the company.  It is inevitable that you will have problems with your system or need technical support at some time or another.  When this happens, you will want to deal with friendly people who have the knowledge necessary to help you.  Check the customer service option on the approval rating, or consider contacting current merchants who use the system to determine how good the customer service you will receive is.


Take Advantage Of The Convenience Offered


The new technology involved in POS systems and touch screens has made the process of paying for purchases much more convenient and efficient.  In the digital age, your customers expect things to flow smoothly and the process to be fast.  Don’t waste your time or the time of your customers with a system that is slow and a headache to deal with. Invest in a new POS system to offer your customers the fastest and most efficient ways to pay.



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Learn the basics of pos systems.

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Tips On Choosing Your Point Of Sale Hardware

The well-known motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once declared “It’s not what you’ve got it’s what you use that makes a difference.”  While this can be true of the skills you, yourself possess, it is also a maxim that can apply to the tools you have, including your point of sale hardware.  While it can be assumed that by the time a customer reaches the point of purchase that a sale is secure, the type of point of sale system that you have plays a considerable role in customer service as well as your overall business management.


When it comes to selecting what type of equipment and processes you want to have in place it can help to do a point of sale hardware comparison.  When looking at the different types of hardware a supplier can provide, it can help to look beyond the basic function and to look at its full capabilities.


Determining Your POS Needs


The type of POS system you require to operate efficiently, accurately and cost-effectively can vary according the type of business you have.  Generally, if you are seeking point of sale hardware, you are going to be operating from a physical location, what is known as a ‘bricks and mortar’ location.  This means that there will be a space within your business where your customers will go to complete their purchase.  When determining what the best point of sale hardware is for you, consider what it is that you are selling and also what kind of experience your customers expect.  A basic set-up may include a checkout counter of some description with a computer and a monitor.  There will be a cash drawer and, most likely, a device for customers to make credit card and/or debit card transactions.  You may decide to keep track of your merchandise via barcodes.  In this case, there will need to be a scanning mechanism built into your system.  Your point of sale system should also be compatible with your security system.  The point of sale hardware with which your customers interface can vary.  This may require them to swipe their cards, include some way for you to capture a signature, or require them to manually enter their personal identification number.  A receipt printer is also a standard piece of equipment for a POS system.


Hospitality and entertainment industries may have different point of sale needs.  When it comes to finding the right hardware for your business and for your staff, look for a company that specializes in the type of operation that you have.  Reliability and functionality are two of the most important things that you can look for in terms of a POS system, but that does not mean you should not take aesthetics into account when selecting what hardware to have.  If you have worked hard to create a particular ambience in your place of business, it is justifiable to want the equipment to blend in or complement this.  Color and size are two things to consider, in addition to ease-of-use for both customers and POS staff members.


Two increasingly important aspects to consider is how mobile the hardware is and also how intuitive.  Touch screen monitors for both the seller and the customer are increasing and can make for a swifter process.  You may also want to consider mobile options, so that your business does not need to be conducted in one, unmoving spot.  Taking the point of sale to the customer, rather than making the customer come to the point of sale can have obvious benefits.




In addition to the hardware you choose being compatible with any security system you have in place, you should also take into consideration how the hardware will fit in with your other business systems.  With the right software, point of sale systems can be an essential tool in managing your inventory.  They can also integrate with your other technology systems to provide accurate accounting or to monitor staff performance.  You want these tools of your trade to be as useful as possible and to integrate into your broader business set-up.




If you choose to purchase your point of sale hardware, some things you may want to consider include the expected shelf-life of the equipment.  Is it durable and what sort of volume of use can it sustain?  Is it easy to keep clean and will it retain a professional appearance after a lot of usage?  When a customer is ready to make a purchase, the last thing you want is the mechanism at which they are paying to fail.  Some systems will offer built-in cooling , for example, others will boast that they are silent.  Once again, the type of business you operate will help you to decide what hardware is the most suitable and what features best suit your needs.


Support Network


Whether you are buying or renting your point of sale hardware, finding a supplier that takes the time to get to know you and your business can be very beneficial.  Finding a supplier with specific experience with companies in the same industry that you are in and of a comparative size can provide you with valuable guidance into what system would work the best for you.   You may also want to consider what sort of post-purchase support is offered.  This can include training on your new equipment for you and your staff in addition to on-call 24-hour technical support.  If your system goes down, what can you do?


Finding the best point of sale hardware for your business can be a matter of shopping around.  Read customer testimonials and, again, seek out a supplier that has experience and specific knowledge of the sector you are working within.  Technology can be fast-moving so you may also want to decide if you want to commit to purchasing a system, or renting a system.  If you do purchase your hardware, investigating what re-selling options may come with your agreement could help you to save money on future upgrades.  Explore and anticipate what your customer’s preferences are at the point of sale as well so that you making the experience a pleasant and easy one for them.  Ensure that what you’ve got is good and that can use it to achieve the best results.

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Finding the right point of sale hardware for your company.

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What Every Merchant Should Know About Credit Card Processing

Almost all businesses, large and small, offer credit card processing services for their customers. Some businesses will no longer take other forms of payment such as personal checks because it is safer and easier to take credit cards for payment. If your small business is a little behind the game and is just now planning to purchase and set up merchant credit processing services for the convenience of your customers, be prepared to potentially increase the volume of your sales as a result. Most customers don’t carry around cash or checks anymore, so they will be more likely to buy from you once they are allowed to use their credit cards.


While setting up the best merchant credit processing is a good step for your business, it can also be intimidating to try and choose the right credit processing equipment to purchase and the right processing companies to work with. Before you go out and purchase the first merchant credit processing services you can find, here are a few things you should know in advance.


Pointers about Processing Equipment


When it comes time to purchase equipment for your credit processing needs, it is important that you keep the following pointers in mind:


•             Avoid purchasing proprietary equipment

•             Purchase your equipment from a trustworthy and reliable source

•             Use surge protectors

•             Avoid leasing equipment if possible


Avoid Purchasing Proprietary Equipment


There are some types of merchant credit processing services that will only work if you have a very specific credit card processor. This type of processing equipment is often called “proprietary equipment” and it can severely limit your options when it comes to merchant card processing. If any part of your credit processing machine breaks down, you will have to purchase very specific replacements, which can make it more difficult for you to find the parts that you need. Additionally, if you purchase proprietary equipment you will be stuck using the specific processor that is compatible with the system whether you like it or not. It is usually best to expand your options and choose equipment that is not proprietary.


Purchase Your Equipment from a Trustworthy and Reliable Source


Instead of trying to save money by purchasing random merchant processing equipment online, the best thing to do is to purchase your equipment from the best merchant credit processing companies that you choose to work with. Not only will they offer quality equipment that will work well, but they will also be able to suggest the best type of processing equipment for your specific company’s needs. Many merchant credit processing companies also offer package discounts if you purchase merchant credit processing equipment along with their services.


Many large and small businesses alike have experienced a big headache when they have tried to set up credit processing equipment that they have purchased online from places like EBay, primarily because the equipment may not be compatible with the processing services that are being offered. To avoid the headache and the need to return expensive equipment, you may want to stick with purchasing your equipment from the credit processing company that you choose to work with.


Use Surge Protectors


The best merchant services equipment is very sensitive to power surges and fluctuations, so it is very important that you use quality surge protectors to keep your credit processing equipment from getting fried. If the power fluctuates in the middle of a transaction and your equipment is not protected, you could end up losing the current batch and transaction information. To avoid this type of situation, make sure that you never plug your processing equipment directly into the wall. Instead, set up quality surge protectors and plug your credit processing equipment into those.


Avoid Leasing Equipment if Possible


The option of leasing merchant credit processing equipment has been around for many years and you may be tempted to take advantage of it. However, it is important for you to realize that the cost of leasing the equipment will almost always be much higher in the end than it would have been if you simply purchased the equipment outright. Also, most lease agreements are contractually bound for long periods of time (4 years or longer), so before you commit to a lengthy and expensive lease agreement make sure you consider all of your other options first.


Credit Card Machine Programming


Merchant credit processing machines and equipment may look similar to each other, but they can function quite differently depending on the type that you purchase. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when you are selecting equipment that will be compatible with the best merchant credit processing services:


•             Appearance

•             Programming

•             Platform compatibility




Just because two machines may look exactly the same on the outside, it doesn’t mean that they are equal on the inside. Think about that last time that you went shopping for a personal computer. The outer appearance of the computer probably meant very little to you, especially since most computers look very similar on the outside. What was most important to you when selecting a personal computer was most likely the speed, memory capacity, specific features, and functions. The same is true for credit processing equipment. Rather than judging it from its outer appearance, make sure you pay close attention to its special features and functions before deciding which type to purchase.




Before your credit processing equipment will work, it has to be set up and programmed correctly. Unfortunately, you can’t just purchase credit processing equipment off the shelf, plug it in, and expect it to properly read credit cards right away. Instead, you will need to program it so that it will work with your credit processing system. If you aren’t sure how to do this yourself or if you don’t have an IT department to help get your system programmed, you should hire outside help to get your credit processing equipment set up and programmed properly.


Platform Compatibility


Not all credit card processors are able to operate on the same platforms. Some large processors even have multiple platforms and you will need to find equipment that will work with those platforms. The best credit processing equipment and machines are compatible with many different processors and platforms, and they are typically built by well-known manufacturers. To make sure that your credit card processors will be able to run on the right platform, try to purchase them from major manufacturers.



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What every merchant should know about credit card processing.

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Cash Advance Payday Loans – Solution to your Financial Problem

What is cash advance?

It is not always predictable when we will encounter money problems in our day to day living. This can create confusion as to where to get the money from. To add to the urgency of the situation, the problem needs to be addressed right away and yet, your next payday is still a month away. So what can you do now? Why not choose to apply for a payday loan?

Cash advance payday loans are small cash loans which as the term implies, are short term small amount loans that is payable within a month. Since the amount that can be applied is only low, your next monthly salary is already enough to act as the collateral. The date of your next paycheck shall also be the date of your repayment. You may choose to give cash payment on that date, authorize the lending company to automatically debit the repayment amount from your account, or issue a post dated check.

Procedures involved in availing cash advance!

To apply for a cash advance payday loan, just fill up the application form that the lending company will provide you. You may opt to look for these lending companies online to make the processing easier and faster. You need to specify your name, the company you belong to, your length of stay with that company and the amount of your fixed salary. There are no more documents to be faxed, thus, making the processing hassle free. Verification of your information will just be checked through the databases of the company. You can receive the approval of your payday loan in a matter of hours.

Small cash loans are gaining popularity online. If you painstakingly check the different lending companies online, you may find that they offer varying rates. Though they differ with their requirements too, they still offer the same concept. That is, for you to be able to use at present your future paycheck. This facility gives you the opportunity to solve your financial burden in not much time and effort. Since the process can be done online, it will only take a few hours to complete the transaction.

The benefits of cash advance loan:

Managing the unforeseen financial crisis is just a big challenge and with the help of these cash advance loan, you could easily overwhelm it. Here are the many benefits that this type of loan can offer you:

 This type of loan doesn’t involve too many formal procedures and inquires to sanction the loan amount.
 The form could be filled online without taking time to visit the lending organization, and this becomes easier.
 Since being a short term loan, it is enough if you submit the basic proof to show that you are authentic
 You can get the cash immediately without waiting for long days or months.

All these factors make cash advance a wonderful solution to resolve your critical financial imbalance. Remember, the interest rate is quite high than other type of loans but you can get the amount very soon and instantly.

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Cash Advance Loan – An Overview

Quick Payday Loan, Fast Solution to Your Financial Worries

There are times that we experience getting short of cash due to unexpected bills to settle and there is no one who can help us at that moment. To add up, our next paycheck is still several weeks away. What can be the alternative and fast way to free you from this burden? Several lending companies offer payday cash advance loans with whom you can run to during these hard times.

If you are already of legal age, have a permanent job, and own an existing bank account, you already qualify to avail of the quick payday loan. It is just that simple. There will be no questions to be asked of you. No credit investigation on you will be done. There will just be a few verifications to be made by the lending company to confirm if the information you declared to them are true and correct. You will get your cash loan fast and easy.
Cash advance are loans which are payable in two to four weeks period of time. One month is the maximum repayment due. The exact date of your repayment shall be the exact date of your repayment of the quick payday loan. With some lending companies, there are various repayment options offered for you to choose from to suit best to your repayment capabilities. It may either be by paying cash on the due date or issuing a post dated check, or by giving authorization to the company to automatically debit your payment from your savings account. When some unexpected turn of events disables you to pay your due on time, there are also loan extension program being offered.

It is of good judgment to inquire several lending companies first before applying for a loan. If you have internet access, applying is very convenient. Once you have chosen the lending company which offers the best rate and mode of repayment, you just have to fill out their application form with some basic information about you. In a matter of hours, you will already be able to withdraw your cash loan fast and as conveniently as when you applied for the loan.

Do not avail cash advance unless it is too crucial or necessary:

Cash advance loan is typically a great deal to manage, because the interest rate and late fee it demands is just alluring. Some people even go prank upon hearing the rate of interest and the deductions it makes in case of reimbursement failure. Why avail this loan?

 Avail this loan only if you are in crucial financial need
 Never avail this loan if you have some other safe alternatives
 This type of loan could be a temporary solution but don’t make it as a regular practice
 You have to spend huge money as convenience charges.
 Some lending institutions will make hidden fees and so make sure about these facts
 It is quite costlier and this is not much recommended to people who live below the bottom line

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The Instant Cash Advance Option

Fast Solution to Your Emergency Financial Problems

In times of money emergencies at home, we think hard to find ways to come up with the money we need to cover for several expenses. We try to think very hard where we can avail of emergency cash loans. There are so many available cash advance payday loans which have gained popularity online. These loans are usually payable in just a short period of time because they are just merchant services credit card processing with which our next monthly salary can be enough to cover its repayment. These merchant processing services do not require collateral pledges because as I have mentioned earlier, the next monthly salary is already enough to cover the payment for these emergency cash loans.

Quick and easy loans:

These kinds of loans are available online and it is very easy to apply. All you need is to fill out the application form provided by the lending company with the required information. The information includes your full name, company where you work for, the amount of your next payday, your length of stay in that company. The lending company will just verify whether the information you declared are confirmed and true. After the verifications have been made, you may already receive your loan approvals in a matter of hours. You will be amazed how fast it is! It is also better if you can submit an active savings account where the lending company can deposit your loaned amount for your easy access to the approved loan.

If you will be diligent enough, you may even find the best offer available there is online. You just try to check several lending companies and compare their rates and modes of repayment so you may choose the best offer that you will find more convenient for you.

Whenever the need for fast money arises, one may choose to consider applying to avail of these cash advance payday loans which can be easily accessed online. These loans are indeed fast solutions to emergency financial problems at home. These loans will surely free us from stress due to some financial problems. Loan application is just a few clicks to do in the computer.

Some of the questions you need to clarify before availing cash advance:

1. Make sure whether you really need the merchant account services, since the interest rate is quite huge
2. Only apply for the loan amount if you can make real profit with the immediate cash lending option
3. Ensure that you are financially stable to reimburse the loan within the defined period of time.
4. Any mess-up in the financial flow and your failure to reimburse will bring awkward result and moreover you will be facing serious consequences.
5. Never make it as a habit to get the cash advance loan very often, because it would rip you off at times.

There are many people who get instant cash advance to resolve their financial needs temporarily but finally fall in trouble. To be safe, make sure that you are capable enough to repay it on time.

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