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Merchant Accounts
Services and Fees

In today's competitive business environment, a merchant account is an essential ingredient to expanding the customer base.  Many consumers will look for the credit card acceptance marks on the door or near the cash register to be assured that they will be able to make the purchase. 

Merchant accounts can provide a full array of accepting payment electronically, and the costs and fees can vary greatly.  Read your service contract carefully and ask many questions for signing.  

  • Credit cards can be accepted via:

  • Manual Hand Swipe Machines

  • Point-of-Sale Terminals

  • Cash Register Systems

  • Touch Tone Phones

  • Virtual Terminals using Personal Computer

  • Wireless Hand-Held

  • Online Shopping Cart

  • Recurring Payments Manager for Subscriptions and Routine Payments

Check Services

Some merchant account providers also provide electronic check services which is the process of converting a paper check into an electronic funds transfer. This gives the merchant a faster turn-around on payment fulfillment, typically 2-3 days.  And since it's accomplished electronically, merchants do not have to make daily trips to the bank.   Collection of insufficient funds can also be accomplished electronically providing greater convenience. 

Cost and Fees

Read the fine print.   The discount rate is the percentage of each credit card transaction that goes to the merchant account provider on average 1.75% for a swiped transaction.  Internet and phone transactions are higher risk and will incur a higher discount rate.  Since a low discount rate looks good in marketing, some providers may lower the discount rate, but charge higher fees in other areas.  Also beware of teaser rates which expire, or low advertised rates with high volume requirements.   There will also be a per-item charge between .10 and .40 cents on average.  Other fees may include set-up fees, early termination fees, Customer Support Fees, Chargeback Fees, Retrieval Fees, Gateway Fees (Internet Sales)
Gateway Per Item Fees, Over Limit Fees, Voice Authorization Fees and Statement Fees.

Electronic Check Conversion fees are on a per item basis from .20 -.40 cents per transaction on average.

Ask the sales rep for complete list of fees, since many of these hidden charges maybe written into a long laborious contract.

 

 

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