Merchant Account Services

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New Merchants Part I: Check Your Statements

When establishing a new merchant account, especially if it is your first merchant account, it is important to verify that your account is established properly. Although mistakes and errors are rare they do occur. A small mistake such as an extra 1¢ per transaction can add up to thousands of dollars over time.

What To Look For

  1. Your Rates Are As Quoted During the Sales Process

    Dishonesty amongst sales agents are an unfortunate problem in the merchant services industry. Rates are often quoted in such a fashion as to mislead merchants as to what their rates will truly be when they accept credit card payments. Errors are also possible as applications are manually entered by human beings (and we are flawed creatures, are we not)? A simple typo can change your transaction fee from 20¢ to $20! Your rates should be displayed prominently on your processing statements and should match what was on your contract. If not, this is a good time to question your new merchant account provider.

  2. Hidden Fees/Undisclosed Fees

    Before you go looking for every little fee you see on your statement that does not make sense, keep in mind that there are a lot of potential fees associated with accepting credit cards. Your sales agent will not be able to, nor should they really have to, tell you about all of them. But, they should tell you about all of the fees the expect you to possibly see based on the information you told them during the discovery phase of the sales process. If they did a good job of learning about your business they should have covered all of the common and most of the not-so-common fees you will see on your statement. But if you are seeing large fees being applied to your sales, either you were not properly informed of that fee, or you need to be trained better in using your merchant account.

One thing to keep in mind when reviewing your statement is that if there is an error you must deal with it right away. Most processors will only allow a merchant to correct errors during the 30-day period following the billing period. If you wait until your next statement arrives to confirm the problem it might only be too late. The processor will take your silence as an acceptance of the error and will not refund any fees that you are owed.

Always be sure to read your statement when it arrives and contact your processor immediately if you have any questions or believe there is an error.

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