Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of terminal rental do you offer? Are these up to date? Is it FREE?
We offer the most advanced and only PCI-DSS compliant EMV credit card terminal to our merchants. These machines often retailed from $395 to $900. We do offer standard vx520 for Free.
In addition, we also offer Software and Virtual Terminals, please contact us for details.
Am I paying too much?
The overall percentage is so called “effective rate”, the Total Fees divide by Gross Sales (exclude AMEX which often funded separately). Consider changing your provider if you can’t even figure out your billing statement, it is complicated for a reason… let you pay more without even knowing it!
Contact us if you are paying more than the following industry average:
Store front Retail or Restaurant: 2.75% overall (Avg ticket over $50)
E-Commerce website: 2.95% overall
Wholesale/Distributor or Key-enter: 2.90% overall
This is just a quick check on the rates. In fact, there are special rate programs that most sales ignored or don’t even know about. Here are some examples:
Large-ticket - $10,000 above per transaction
Small-ticket – under $20 average transaction
Home builder suppliers
B2B Suppliers/ Manufacture / Distributors/ Wholesale
Travel Agency with good processing history
Let us help you with a customized rate quote by sending us your current processing statement, Today!
What is Interchange? What is Downgrade?
Interchange is the system where transactions are submitted for payment from the acquirer or merchant processor to the card issuer or debit network. Every transaction is assigned an Interchange category based on card type (credit, debit, rewards, purchasing, etc.) industry type (retail, e-commerce, etc) and qualification elements (swiped card, key entered, etc). Interchange also represents the fees paid by the merchant acquirer to the card issuer.
Card issuer quotes the lowest rate for a transaction, assuming that a number of requirements (which vary according to the card type, the type of business accepting the card payment, and the transaction channel) are met. If one or more of these requirements are not met, the transaction is categorized at a more expensive interchange level. This is referred to as a “downgrade.” For example, it is significantly more expensive to process a manually-keyed transaction than a card-swiped transaction.
How Can I minimize my Interchange Cost? How do I better qualify in interchange?
You must make sure your payment operations are set up to help your transactions qualify at favorable rates.
- Swipe/Insert customer cards whenever possible
- Swiped cards clear at lower rates than manually-keyed transactions.
- Send settlements on time
- For transactions where the card is present, settling in two days versus one day can cost you money.
- Avoid authorization and settlement amount mismatches
- Variations between authorization and settlement amounts are another common cause of downgrades. There are specific industries where limited tolerance for variations between authorization and settlement amounts are permitted, such as businesses where tipping is commonplace or at hotels or car rental establishments when authorization occurs before the customer’s final invoice is paid
- Distinguish card-not-present (CNP) transactions from hand-keyed transactions where the card is present
- Card-Not-Present (CNP) transactions that appear to come from card present channels may be subject to interchange downgrades. Usually the best way to do this is to keep these payment operations separate and to use a specific account configuration for each one.
- Ensure your business phone number is available
- If your customer has easy access to your phone number on their bill, they may contact you directly rather than disputing a transaction, which may help you avoid costly chargeback fees.
- Capture additional security information
- To reduce card fraud in CNP transactions, the Card Associations encourage merchants to capture additional security information in order to qualify for the best interchange rates. To qualify for the lower interchange rate, you need to submit the cardholder’s billing address and zip code for CNP transactions. Capturing this information and passing it via the Address Verification Service (AVS) is an important way for you to control the cost of accepting payments over the phone or on the Internet.
What is PCI? What do I need to do?
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) is a worldwide information security standard mandated by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council. The council was formed as a collaborative effort between the five major card brands: Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, and JCB. By coming together, standards were created to help organizations that process card payments prevent credit card fraud through increased controls around data and its exposure to compromises.
As a merchant, you will be responsible to become PCI compliant by PCI regulations. You should become PCI compliant in order to make sure you are taking the proper care to ensure that cardholder data is protected. If a breach were to happen at your location, and if you are not PCI compliant at the time, the card associations may assess a fine against you and you will be liable for all the fraudulent transactions caused by the breach. However, if you are compliant, the fine may be reduced and you may not be responsible for the fraudulent transactions.
We offer in house PCI assistance to guide you and your business in achieving PCI compliance. Merchants are often advised to complete compliance by going online at Trustwave.com or by requesting a Self Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ). Through these outlets, our dedicated staff will provide guidance and advice to questions you have regarding PCI compliance.
If you have further questions concerning PCI and its requirements, please visit the PCI Council at http://www.pcisecuritystandards.org
How do I prevent Chargeback?
Chargebacks are a costly part of accepting credit cards. However, merchants can minimize chargebacks at the time of sale by working to achieve maximum customer satisfaction and transaction accuracy. The most common reasons for chargeback are results of returned merchandise, terminated services, disputes, errors or fraud. Here are some useful tips to minimizing the potential of chargeback:
For All Sales Transactions:
- Process a Settlement at least once a day, every day when you have a transaction
- Obtain a manual imprint of the credit card especially if the card cannot be read by the magnetic reader on the credit card machine
- Promptly process refunds
- Keep a record of shipping history; POD (proof of delivery)
- Keep a list of bad customers to identify high risk orders
- Visibly post return or refund policies at your business. For e-Commerce merchants, during check out, make sure to have a check box or button for the customers to agree specific policies to be enforced such as cancellation or refund/return. Such policies must be stated clearly and placed with the check box or button as a stand-alone action during check-out.
For All Sales Receipts:
- Obtain customer’s signatures (except for MO/TO or Online)
- Keep copies of all Sales Receipts for at least 24 months
- Sales Receipts should be filed by date order
- Clearly print return or refund policies for your business on the sales receipts
- Your customer service number should be printed on every single sales receipt
- Sales receipts must all be legible; routinely change ink cartridges or use premium receipt paper
- Sales receipts should reflect your business name exactly as it appears on your signage
- Immediately ship products and if you offer delayed delivery then indicate it on the sales receipt
- If offering installment payments or prepayments, then make sure the terms are clearly expressed in writing and include the shipping and tax charges, if any.
How could merchant handle a non-verifiable AVS (Address Verification Service) response?
When the AVS was not verifiable through the Card Issuing Bank from the transaction terminal, merchants may ask the customer for a different card or different form of payment to reduce the risk exposure, however most non-US issuing banks do not support AVS. If you do a lot of business outside the US, merchants may need to make adjustments to allow for this increased financial risk.
How long does a Card Issuing Bank have to bring up a chargeback?
A retrieval or chargeback can be requested by the Card Issuing Bank for up to 18 months after the transaction date. Therefore, it is crucial that you keep your transaction records accessible and legible for this time frame.
What is retrieval request?
If card holders have questions about the credit card transaction, they can file dispute to the issuing bank. Merchant must respond to a Retrieval Request with a legible copy of the sales slip or terms agreement within the time frame specified. If you fail to provide a legible copy of the transaction receipt, you might receive a chargeback.
What is “Code 10 Service”?
Merchants should make a Code 10 call to Merchant Support Call Center whenever you are suspicious about a card, cardholder, or a transaction. A representative at your Merchant Processor may first ask you for transaction details. Your call will then be transferred to the Card Issuing Bank’s special operator who will assist you further on the verification with simple “yes” or “no” questions.
Why do I need to complete a W9 form? Do I need to report my sales to IRS?
As a result of the new tax regulations imposed by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, the IRS is enforcing that proper reporting practices are in place to account for electronic payment transactions, including:
- Merchant acquirers are subject to begin reporting the transaction amounts via 1099 to the IRS by January 2012.
Therefore, all merchants will:
- Receive a copy of the form just as they receive other tax documentation for their business.
- Be required to match their TAX ID information on their processing account with what the IRS has on file.
Merchants are required to complete the first page of the W9 form to reflect the correct Tax Filing Name, SSN or Tax Identification Number, and Tax filing address on file with the IRS. A complete W9 packet can be found at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website at www.irs.gov. Make sure you sign the form and keep a copy for your reference.