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Evaluating Credit Card Processing Companies

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					Title:
Evaluating Credit Card Processing Companies

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635

Summary:
There are numerous credit card processing companies to choose from, each
offering different features and fees. Choosing a company to process your
customer's credit card payments can be a daunting task, and sometimes
you'll experience difficulties both looking for a merchant account
provider and then afterwards- if you make the wrong selection!

Many banks will deny small business applications for merchant accounts
because they don't want to take the risk. Most small busin...


Keywords:
credit, credit cards, credit card statment, credit card charges


Article Body:
There are numerous credit card processing companies to choose from, each
offering different features and fees. Choosing a company to process your
customer's credit card payments can be a daunting task, and sometimes
you'll experience difficulties both looking for a merchant account
provider and then afterwards- if you make the wrong selection!

Many banks will deny small business applications for merchant accounts
because they don't want to take the risk. Most small businesses end up
going through third party providers who actually get the merchant account
on your behalf; then apply their own rate structure to your transactions.

If you operate an online business, you'll need a shopping cart program of
some kind- which must work with the system you use to process credit
cards online. Unfortunately, if you go with a third party shopping cart
rather than a custom written one it may not work with all credit card
processing gateways. You really need to be sure that whatever shopping
cart program you use on your web site works with the merchant account you
ultimately end up using to process customer payments.

Accepting credit cards is not free! You pay the third party merchant
account provider (or the bank if you are able to secure your own account
directly with a bank that provides it) will charge you fees in exchange
for the ability to accept credit card payments. The fees and rates you
pay will vary depending on many factors, including how long you've been
in business, the type of business you operate, your credit score, how
much of your sales are processed by phone versus online, and the amount
of credit card sales you process each month.

Some providers charge an annual fee in addition to a fee per transaction,
while other providers only charge a percentage of each transaction
processed. Typical rates for small businesses accepting phone and mail
order payments are $0.10 to $0.30 plus 2 to 3% of the transaction amount.
If the merchant account providers you are looking at want to charge over
this percentage, be sure to check out a few others to see if you can get
a lower rate before signing up. Sometimes, your credit rating will
result in your having to pay higher fees- but it's worth shopping around
a little to see if you can get a lower percentage rate per transaction.

When you're shopping companies looking for the best merchant account
provider, make sure to compare all of the fees to see how much you're
going to end up spending per each sale. You should also take into
consideration what the application fee is (if any), how much you pay
annually, how much you must spend on equipment needed to set up your
account, and whether or not you must maintain a monthly minimum of sales
volume.

Also compare how each merchant account provider allows you to withdraw
your money- can you do it whenever you want or do you have to do it at
specific times of the month or year? How long will it take to receive
your funds once you've requested a withdrawal or transfer of the money?
How does the provider handle charge backs?

Always read all of the forms and contracts associated with merchant
accounts before you sign anything. Understand the terms for cancellation
and what conditions the provider can cancel your account, as well.

The process for applying for a merchant account varies depending on the
company, but you may be asked to provide a photo of your office (even if
it's in your home) to verify you are in the location you say that you
are. Some companies will want to send a representative to photograph
your place of business. Occasionally, you'll be asked to provide a DBA
or business license, your tax returns and profit and loss statements.

				
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