Merchant account credit card services articles archive

Archive of merchant account information to help business owners learn about merchant account services to grow their businesses.

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 Merchant accounts

Marijuana businesses find card processing still elusive -- Some avenues exist for legal pot-based businesses that want to accept credit cards, but details are sketchy and insiders say some are full of risks ... (See Legal pot)

Credit card surcharge laws in limbo in California -- Law prohibiting surcharges is unenforceable for now, but that's under appeal. Other options might be better for nonprofit medical clinic ... (See Surcharges)

Card updater services keep customers' auto-payments flowing -- Services offered by card networks for merchants could help prevent customer attrition ... (See Autopay)

When buying gasoline for business, watch discounts, surcharges -- Depending on your state, gas stations may try to offset merchant processing costs by putting a surcharge on credit card sales, or offering a cash discount ... (See Gas)

Making sense of confusing credit card statements -- Spotting fraud is hard when so many businesses put unfamiliar, but legitimate, names on your billing statement ... (See Confusing card statements)

EMV rules for vending machine owners -- Vending machine owners face a small liability risk if their card-accepting machines are not EMV compatible ... (See EMV and vending machines)

Autopay clients leave you open to more fraud, not EMV liability -- When customers use automatic payments, it's considered a card-not-present transaction. Those sales are not covered by the EMV liability shift rules instituted in October ... (See Autopay and EMV)

7 merchant tips to understanding EMV fraud liability shift -- It's now October, which means merchants who can't process chip card payments may shoulder consumer fraud costs if an incident occurs and they're not "EMV-ready." Here's what you should know about the EMV fraud liability shift: ... (See EMV )

Accepting international payments with Square -- For small business owners who use Square to accept credit cards, selling to overseas customers is allowed. But there are a few things you should know to make it easier on your customers and yourself ... (See International Square)

EMV terminal recommendations for small business -- With the EMV liability shift looming, merchants are looking to upgrade their credit card readers. These recommendations and tips can help you choose the right one ... (See EMV terminals)

Accepting credit cards won't affect nonprofit's tax status -- Getting a credit card reader to accept donations won't impact the personal finances of the person who opened the organization's business account ... (See Nonprofit)

Get authorization for customer's card before delivering goods -- If you don't take time to get a customer's credit card purchase authorized before you deliver their purchase, you may have little recourse ... (See Authorization)

Video: Small-merchant guide to EMV credit cards -- Small businesses have been slow to upgrade to terminals that can read EMV chip cards. Here's what they need to know about making the switch ... (See EMV merchant)

EMV holdouts: Why merchants are slow to make chip-card switch -- With the EMV liability switch coming in October, many merchants are still in the dark on what is required of them ... (See EMV holdouts)

Is it time to negotiate a new merchant account? -- Some business owners stick with a merchant services account they secured as a startup, but that now costs them more than they should be paying ... (See Merchant account)

Lowering merchant fees on large sales -- If your business sells big-ticket items, merchant fees on credit card transactions can add up. That doesn't necessarily mean you should limit your card acceptance, though ... (See Merchant fees)

8 steps to fighting chargeback fraud -- Credit card chargeback fraud is an ongoing problem for small businesses, which can have dire consequences. Though it's hard to detect, there are ways to fight back ... (See Chargeback fraud)

7 tips for using online alternative business lenders -- When banks turn them down for loans, small businesses are increasingly turning to online "alternative" lenders. The loans they provide can be a lifeline, but higher interest rates mean you should proceed with caution ... (See Online alternative business loans)

Card acceptance fees too high? Shop for a new merchant processor -- Franchisees paying high credit card acceptance fees may lower them by shopping for a new merchant processor or promoting customers to pay by other means ... (See Merchant fees)

Merchants can usually add credit card fees -- Merchants in most states are allowed to tack on a surcharge or convenience fee when you use a credit card. But some states still ban surcharges and it's not always good business practice ... (See Surcharges, convenience fees)

Disputing an auto repair chargeback is possible but time-consuming -- A warranty, labor costs and 500 miles of distance all complicate a chargeback that a car repair shop says is not legit. But there are ways to dispute the complex complaint ... (See Chargeback)

Merchant guesses card expiration date to renew subscription -- No laws specifically prohibit subscription-based businesses from guessing a customer's card expiration date to auto-renew their payments, but the practice is iffy ... (See Card expiration)

6 steps to protect a very small business from ID theft -- Attention to security issues is often lacking among the self-employed and micro-business owners. But protecting your company's and your clients' financial data is critical to avoiding a disaster that could tank your business dreams ... (See Business data security)

Judge: Merchants can steer you to lower-cost card -- Merchants should be allowed to offer consumers discounts or perks to use a lower-cost credit card, a federal court ruled ... (See American Express anitrust ruling)

Beware shady merchant processing contracts -- A lawsuit by an out-of-state company that supplies credit card machines deserves the plaintiff's attention -- but scams exist in the industry so read your contract carefully and talk with a lawyer if in doubt ... (See Merchant contracts)

Receipt requirements: Law differs from card network rules -- You don't legally have to print your business's full address on customer receipts, but MasterCard and other card networks have more stringent requirements ... (See Receipts)

What merchants should do if customer presents unsigned card -- Merchants handed a card with no signature or "See ID" should make the customer sign -- or risk having to eat fraud-related losses ... (See Signature)

What merchants should do when they suspect card fraud -- No merchant wants to offend honest customers by turning the shopping experience into what feels like a prosecution. At the same time, you can't afford to turn a blind eye to fraud ... (See Merchants and card fraud)

Minimize costs of card acceptance without surcharges -- Interchange fees can add up for small businesses that accept credit cards. But adding a surcharge for card-paying customers is not the answer – especially in states where surcharges are banned. There are other ways to mitigate card acceptance costs ... (See Merchant fees)

8 tips for merchants to avoid credit card chargebacks -- Chargebacks are a costly and unfortunate fact of life for many small businesses that accept credit cards. However, there are ways you can protect yourself against unfair chargebacks ... (See Chargebacks)

Understanding 'consent' to charge a card -- A merchant needs consumer consent before charging their debit or credit card for a purchase. But there are some gray areas where misunderstanding of the law can cause disputes ... (See Consent)

A business may spurn debit cards, but why? -- Small businesses running subscription-type services may find debit and prepaid cards a hassle. But think carefully before refusing to accept them ... (See Refuse debit)

How startups can quickly begin accepting credit cards -- An entrepreneur wants to temporarily share a card processing machine with an established business while he gets his company up and running. Bad idea. But there are other ways to quickly begin accepting credit cards from customers ... (See Quick acceptance)

Small businesses slow in converting to EMV card readers -- With a year to go before retailers hit a major deadline for upgrading their credit card machines, experts warn that many are unlikely to complete the switch in time. As a result, they may find themselves suddenly liable for card-related fraud ... (See EMV)

How to cut your business' foreign wire transfer fee costs -- When selling overseas, you can't make foreign wire transfer costs vanish, but you can negotiate their size, bundle your bills or bake them into your prices ... (See Wire transfers)

Should your small business accept bitcoin? -- Five years into its existence, the virtual currency bitcoin is gaining legitimacy with major U.S. retailers. Small-business owners may find new opportunities in joining them, but should carefully weigh the risks before jumping in ... (See Bitcoin)

8 FAQs about EMV credit cards -- The way you use a credit card is about to change significantly as the U.S. catches up with the rest of the world and moves to cards. Here, in Q&A format, is what you need to know about the transition ... (See EMV FAQ)

How can I protect my point-of-sale system against security breaches? -- Lax POS security can cost your small business steep fines from credit card issuers if your system is breached. Safe password practices are one of your best defenses ... (See POS security)

Fight payment processing fees in medical payments -- Insurance companies and government agencies are increasingly using plastic and virtual credit cards to pay doctors. But practices can request other payment methods that carry lower fees ... (See Medical payments)

Is it OK for merchants to accept credit cards from minors? -- If a parent has formally authorized a minor to use a credit card, accepting it isn't a problem. But getting some reassurances in writing is best practice ... (See Cards and minors)

How soon should retailers switch to EMV? -- The heat is on for merchants to adopt terminals that will read smart-chip cards. But with many small firms facing rising costs from all sides, it may pay to wait to upgrade ... (See EMV)

Can my business add a surcharge for card-paying customers? -- Swipe fees can weigh on a business's bottom line. But examine your business contracts and state law before passing them on to customers who pay with debit or credit cards ... (See Surcharges)

Choosing a credit card processor for a medical practice -- If your doctor's office or medical practice is in the market for a merchant account provider, you may be able to get a deal through a professional organization. But there are other considerations besides price in choosing the right one ... (See Medical)

Should I offer e-receipts to customers? -- Electronic receipts are becoming more common in brick-and-mortar stores. Besides saving paper, they're a fairly simple marketing tool ... (See E-receipts)

Curses! Foiled again! FBI warns of tinfoil 'feed horn' scheme -- Federal officials are warning merchants -- and credit card customers whose cards have been stolen -- of a new, decidedly low-tech scam called the "Feed Horn Scheme" ... (See Feed horn scam)

3 ways to minimize holiday returns without losing customers -- A spate of post-holiday returns can make a real dent in your profits. There are ways for even small businesses to minimize returns without offending customers used to generous policies from retail giants ... (See Holiday returns)

New business financing sources to try when the bank says no -- With bank loans still eluding many small businesses years after the global financial crisis, new online services are sniffing out opportunity to fill the gap in the credit marketplace ... (See Financing sources)

Can you ditch your merchant account for a better deal? -- If you have signed a legal contract with a card processing company, you are most likely on the hook to follow the terms of the agreement, even if another company offers you a better deal ... (See Merchant accounts)

Savvy ways to finance holiday inventory -- Retailers need to avoid financing inventory they are not sure they can sell — which can leave them stuck paying interest on goods they'll have to mark down in January. That's especially true for those who rely on costly credit card financing ... (See Inventory)

Can a doctor's office charge a credit card surcharge? -- Like other merchants, doctors' offices are allowed to charge a fee for accepting credit cards, but at the risk of aliening patients ... (See Credit card surcharge)

Internet tax law could create challenges for small businesses -- If the Marketplace Fairness Act passes, running a small Internet store could get more complicated. Business owners would potentially have to collect sales tax for every state they ship into ... (See Internet tax)

Should we charge our customers to use credit cards? -- Credit card surcharges are now legal, along with minimum purchase requirements for customers who want to use credit cards. But for some convenience store owners, is the money worth the business they'll lose from irritated customers? ... (See Surcharges)

When does it pay for consultants to accept credit cards? -- If you have a consulting business, customers may want to pay with credit cards. Providing that convenience isn't free, but it could be worthwhile ... (See Consultants accepting cards)

Hackers up the ante for small-business data security -- It’s getting trickier for small-business owners to keep customers’ credit card information safe. Still, there are steps you can take. They're not free, but can save you money in the long run ... (See Avoid breaches)

What merchant information is required on receipts? -- Small business owners don't have to print their contact details on receipts, but it's good practice from a tax and marketing standpoint ... (See Receipts)

Is it worthwhile for gas stations to accept credit cards? -- A small-business owner wonders if it's worth accepting plastic at his new gas station. The answer depends in large part on the local market ... (See Accepting gas cards)

Which credit cards should your small business accept? -- Generally speaking, the more payment options you offer, the easier it will be to make sales. But you have to consider costs. ... (See Acceptance strategies)

1099-Ks: Small businesses face new penalties, paperwork for tax reporting -- Credit card issuers and third-party settlement organizations like PayPal are now required withhold 28 percent of gross receipts from merchants who have not given them the company’s correct information ... (See New 1099-K form)

Settlement lets retailers surcharge for credit card use; will they? -- Multibillion 'swipe fee' case tilts balance of power from card issuers to merchants, but whether consumers will benefit is unclear ... (See Credit card surcharges OK'd)

Mom-and-pop merchants' debit card costs rising -- Merchants that accept debit cards for purchases under $15 are learning of one fallout from the new federal cap on debit card swipe fees: Their costs will rise because the card networks have dropped the small-ticket-item discount ... (See Debit card swipe fees)

Todd Ossenfort: Merchants shouldn't add processing fee, surcharge for accepting credit cards -- A business can't charge you more for a product or service if you pay with plastic, but they can offer a discount to those who pay with cash or check ... (See Credit card fees)

Jeremy M. Simon: Business card debt may hurt credit, even after the company is sold -- A former business owner wonders whether his old company's unpaid debt could show up on his personal credit report ... (See Business credit cards)

Interchange fee changes coming, and what that means for consumers -- Cash payers had been subsidizing card users at stores, but that system's under fire; if it changes, so could rewards and prices ... (See Interchange fees and consumers)

Will reducing merchant card fees help or hurt consumers? -- Legislation could limit the costs retailers incur when letting customers pay by credit or debit card. But whether consumers will see the benefits is unclear ... (See Interchange fees)

Credit card charge-backs can land consumers on blacklist -- A customer database servicing retailers is blacklisting consumers seeking charge-backs for credit card purchases. ... (See Blacklist)

Visa tackles deceptive online 'data pass' marketing -- In an effort to tone down aggressive sales tactics used by some Internet-based businesses, Visa announced it will require its merchants to more actively warn their customers of external offers made during online transactions ... (See Data pass tactics)

Consumers shying away from credit cards when shopping online -- The poor economy and consumers' growing aversion to carrying large credit card balances may be why more alternative forms of payment are being used for online purchases. ... (See Shop online)

Credit card reform arrives in the form of the Credit CARD Act -- The most sweeping credit card changes ever are being imposed on credit card issuers, which in the course of complying, are making dramatic changes in consumers' credit card accounts -- not all of them welcome ... (See Credit card reform law goes in effect)

Mobile payments predicted to skyrocket -- Mobile payment transactions are expected to catapult to nearly 4.5 billion in 2012 -- a 429 percent increase from an estimated 850 million in 2009, consulting firm Gartner Inc. predicted in a May 28 report by CardLine Global (subscription required). ... (See Mobile)

Ad campaign fights credit card interchange fees -- American households pay hundreds of dollars a year in hidden credit card fees called interchange fees each year, a practice that a business coalition has vowed to fight to eliminate. ... (See Interchange fee ads)

Heartland data breach damages still mounting -- More than two months after the announcement of the Heartland Payment Systems security breach, the processor has continued to draw fire from merchants and issuers. ... (See Breach)

'Tokenization' touted as a new way to increase credit card data security -- Rather than spend more making credit card data hackproof, a new concept would prevent ID theft by never having merchants store the data in the first place. ... (See ID theft)

Trial version of iPhone credit card processing app available -- iPhone users’ wait for ProcessAway, an application that can turn their mobile device into a handheld credit card terminal, just got a little shorter. ... (See Mobile charges)

How credit card transactions work -- This interactive graphic shows what happens when you swipe a credit card, from the merchant to the processing network to the issuing and acquiring banks. ... (See Process)

Government workers sometimes abuse credit cards, p-cards -- A host of examples of credit card abuse by public employees shows that proper policies and regular scrutiny are needed to avoid draining public coffers and ruining public confidence. ... (See P-cards)

Should you write 'See ID,' not sign, back of credit cards? -- If your strategy for protecting yourself against card fraud is to not sign your cards and write "See ID" instead, your game plan is both ineffective and outdated ... (See See ID)

5 steps to avoid identity theft at the register -- Here are some steps you can take to make sure that you aren't victimized by credit card fraud when using your card in person at a retailer. ... (See Data protection)

More gas stations offer discounts to customers who pay with cash -- Many gas station owners, struggling under the weight of rising credit card fees, are offering discounts to customers who pay by cash. ... (See Pumps)

Even credit card purchases at home may now trigger 'international' fee -- Credit card purchases may be 'international,' even if you aren't. ... (See Not so foreign)

What consumers can do when 'minimum purchase' and other credit card rules are bent -- Ever wonder whether it's really OK for merchants to post signs saying 'Minimum credit card purchase $5'? Find out what the rules are and what consumers can do when the rules are violated ... (See Merchant credit card violations)

GAO report: Federal government pays massive credit card fees, too -- Just like gas station owners and other merchants, the federal government pays interchange fees for credit card and debit card transactions -- and its bill is huge, says a new GAO report. ... (See Interchange fees)

Students universities fees credit card processing costs -- With tuition costs rising and credit tightening, more students are opting to pull out the plastic to pay for their classes. Not all colleges like it. ... (See Tuition payments)

Card issuers' bad earnings reshape credit card offers -- The awful annual results reported by credit card issuers may not be felt only by shareholders. They have begun to cause pain to some credit cardholders, as well. ... (See Credit card offers)

Bankers, poker players oppose Feds' online gaming rules -- The legality of online gambling has long been debated by U.S. officials, but the latest regulation efforts have tried to shut down the money conduit -- payments systems that enable online bets. ... (more)

Regulation Z proposed changes for minimum payments -- Credit card companies and credit issuers would have to tell account holders how long it would take to repay loans if they make minimum payments. ... (more)

Credit card reform: The fine print of proposed changes to Regulation Z -- Regulation Z requires creditors to disclose all costs and terms before a new credit card's first use. However, according to the board, "Currently, there are few ... (more)

Regulation Z rules proposed for credit card fee disclosures -- Credit card companies would have to clearly disclose fees charged to credit cardholders. ... (more)

Regulation Z would require credit card APR disclosure rules -- Regulation Z would require credit card companies to clearly disclose APRs. ... (more)

Regulation amendments propose fixed rate credit cards -- Fixed credit card rates would actually be fixed under Regulation Z amendments. ... (more)

Reg Z proposes credit card notice of term changes to 45 days -- Changes in terms of credit card contracts would need 45 days' advance notice. ... (more)

Anatomy of a credit card -- Ever wonder what all those numbers mean, or what's on that black stripe? Find out here. ... (more)

Gas buyers fume at credit, debit card limits, 'blocks' -- High gas prices, industry practices leave consumers sputtering at the pump when they pay with plastic. ... (more)

Merchants encourage use of PINs for debit card payments -- Merchants encourage PIN numbers in debit card transactions due to lower fees. Read more at ... (more)

Identity Theft: Fraud targeting small businesses over the telephone -- Identity theft over the phone has merchants revealing shopper's credit card information. ... (more)

Small business credit card processing: setting up customer payment methods -- Business owners should look beyond their business credit card issuer when selecting a credit card processor, weighing such factors as fees, equipment, lag time, and extras. ... (more)

Credit cards fees: Understand merchant account fees -- When selecting a merchant service provider, look at the fees charged for accepting credit cards. ... (more)

Interchange fees debated at Senate hearing -- Interchange fees looked at by senate as a downfall for merchants. Read more at ... (more)

Business credit card for startup: Grow businesses with American Express -- American Express is a popular business credit card for startups, having low merchant costs. ... (more)

Merchant Account Services: Paynet Systems provides credit card processing -- Businesses can obtain credit card processing and other merchant account services from Paynet Systems. Learn more at ... (more)

Merchant services simplified -- Selecting as your merchant services provider can simplify managing your business. ... (more)

Why accept credit cards using merchant processing? -- Accepting credit cards using merchant processing can be a beneficial move for businesses. ... (more)

Credit Card Fees: Merchant interchange fees and their critics -- Critics have responded to merchant opposition to the credit card fees they have to pay. ... (more)

Credit cards' fees now limited for gas retailers -- MasterCard is introducing a limit on interchange fees paid by gas retailers and will publish all interchange rates that apply to U.S. merchants. ... (more)

Bank credit cards designed and targeted to banks' own customers -- Low-fee, high-rewards bank credit cards available only to a bank's customers gain popularity ... (more)

Credit card debt information (2006-2007) -- Listing of facts and statistics related to the credit card industry and personal debt. ... (more)

Credit card fees hurt merchants and consumers -- Should Congress take control and manage credit card fees charged on every transaction? Retailers say yes. ... (more)

Credit card acceptance is now common at fast food restaurants -- Fast food restaurants have become even faster now that you can pay with your credit card. ... (more)