February 2016

The Importance of PCI Compliance

The term “PCI Compliant” is thrown around a fair deal when it comes to merchant account processing. PCI compliance is highly recommended; however, few merchant account holders know the significance of PCI standards and their relevance to their individual account. We’re here to set the record straight.

What is PCI?

PCI stands for Payment Card Industry. The Payment Card Industry is made up of all major organizations in charge of storing, transmitting, or processing debit and credit card holder information. These organizations include MasterCard Worldwide, Visa International, American Express, and more.

What are PCI Standards?

PCI or (PCI-DSS) standards were created by the Payment Card Industry in 2006 in order to protect both merchants and consumers against fraud, data breaches, and identity theft. PCI standards have proven instrumental in guiding the evolution of the payment industry. PCI standards are meant to ensure that all credit card processors are operating according to the same standards, and that all individual transactions are trustworthy.

How does PCI Compliance Affect you, the merchant?

PCI compliance is essential to merchant account processing. PCI compliance assures that both you and your customers’ information is safe and secure at all times. If your business makes any sort of transaction using a credit card, PCI standards are playing a role in the transaction.

What if I’m not PCI Compliant?

Merchant processors are required to be PCI compliant, regardless of the type of business they process for. If your business has not been deemed PCI compliant, you could be denied a merchant account, and in some cases responsible for substantial fines. If your business experiences any type of breach of data while not PCI compliant you may be subject to even larger penalties.

Where Can I Read More About PCI Standards?

All current PCI Standards can be found on the PCI Security Standards Council Website.
As a merchant you should educate yourself on all current PCI standards before signing up for your merchant account to ensure that your business, as well as you’re processor are currently PCI compliant.
Trust the experts at Vision Payments to secure your business with a PCI compliant merchant account. Vision Payments subscribes to the highest standards of PCI-DSS compliance to ensure that our clients’ accounts are safeguarded against today’s most imminent threats.
To find out more about our merchant account services, contact us today at (877) 674-2286!

Is Your Company Ready for a Merchant Account?

Starting a business, whether you want to realize a small passion project or expand your brand into a national competitor, requires patience, planning, and the right financial tools. Luckily for business owners, acquiring the right financial tools is easier than it seems. Merchant accounts have made it easier than ever to process payments and expand their bottom line without subjecting their business to fraudulent payments and heinous fees.
If you’ve only started your business, you might be unsure about how to go about getting a merchant processor account. Here are some quick tips to help you know if you’re ready to take the leap…

Have a Business Plan in Place

While this might seem like a no-brainer, having a sound business plan can go a long way in setting a course for your company. For example, will your business be based primarily in trade shows and small marketplaces? Will your company exist online? How many employees do you plan to hire in order to maintain production? Do you plan to ship your goods internationally? What kind of payments will you accept?
All of these are important questions. Knowing the answers to these questions (and more) can ultimately help you decide at what stage you want to begin using a merchant account to process your payments, as well as what kind of account you wish to use.

Do Your Homework

This part goes hand in hand with your business plan. The more you know before applying for your merchant account, the more you’ll be aware of possible pitfalls, opportunities for growth, and more. Through thorough research, you can avoid hidden fees, potential downgrading, and rate inflation, which can end up costing your company bigtime. Familiarize yourself with your processor’s processing rate, benefits, and “discount rates” that might fluctuate in the future.
Things to know:

  • What kind of merchant account should you get? (Should you look into a managed risk account?)
  • Which merchant account provider offers the lowest, most reliable rates?
  • Who is your competition? How are they handling payment processing?
  • What kind of additional services does your merchant account provider provide? (Apps? 24/7 service?)
  • What is involved in the application process?
  • Ask yourself: Will my increase in sales cover the cost of obtaining a merchant account?

Pass Your Background Check
Every merchant account processor is different, and so are their application processes. Since account providers are at risk of losing money due to fraudulent transactions and failed business, most businesses go through an involved screening process to eliminate riskier businesses. Before you apply for a merchant account, make sure you have the following:

  • Business documents: business license, bank letter (for new businesses), form of identification, etc.
  • Financial statements: all financial records and anything else that helps prove your financial stability.
  • Processing Statements: While this is not entirely necessary, it can definitely help. Include your transaction volume, refund and chargeback information, etc.

For more information on how to get your merchant account up and running, or to begin applying for your own account, call Vision Payments at (877) 674 – 2286. Or sign up today with our easy online form here.

What Kind of Business Should Invest in Merchant Processing?

There’s no limit to what kind of success your business can achieve if you have the right tools. Whether you’re looking to expand your business, increase your revenue, or simply solidify your current business model, you’ll want today’s most advanced financial solutions on your side.
If you’re interested in investing in a merchant processing account, take a look below to see if your business can benefit from the services provided by a merchant account provider…

Are You Looking to Expand Your Business?

Accepting credit cards is one of the easiest, most universal ways to help your business expand. A merchant account can help you manage and track your payments for simpler transactions without the hassle of an unreliable payment gateway. Vision Payments also offers our clients up to $500,000 in merchant capital funding, with high approval rates, no fixed payment amount, and no personal collateral needed. With working capital in your pocket, you’ll be able to upgrade your equipment, purchase advertising space, and open new locations.

Are You a Small Business?

Small businesses occupy a very special corner of the market. If you want your small business to become a viable competitor within your market, then it’s time to let a merchant account take care of your payment processing so you can focus on other areas of your business’ growth. A low-credit credit card processing rate can help you manage costs while giving your business the security that comes with a dependable method of payment.

Are You a Traveling Vendor?

If your business is rooted in selling at tradeshows and markets, you’ll want an easy-to-manage payment processor that goes wherever you go. Today’s merchant accounts come with a wide range of solutions (even apps) that help vendors get a customizable view of their account whenever and wherever they need it.
Are You a Business Looking for Additional Convenience/Security?
You could limit yourself to only accepting cash or checks, or using payment gateways that are known for their unpredictability and stringent terms of use, but odds are they will only lead to future financial struggles for your company. Your best bet is a merchant account with reliable customer service and flexibles solutions that work with your company, not against it. If you want your company to thrive in our increasingly technologically-driven world, you’ll also want an account with additional mobile support.

Do You Own Any Kind of Business?

If you own a business, whether it’s a small passion project or a rapidly expanding business venture, a merchant account is well worth the investment. Business owners know that all too well that running a business requires juggling more than one ball at a time. With a dependable payment processor in your corner, you can focus your energies on making your company more efficient and, ultimately, more successful.
To find out more about Vision Payments’ merchant accounts, virtual terminals, equipment leasing, or merchant capital funding, call VPS at (877) 674-2286.

Merchant Account Alternatives (And Why You Want to Avoid Them)

If you’re not yet convinced that your business should be using a merchant account, it might be time to look at your alternatives. Today’s market is filled with so-called “handy” apps an tools that help merchants keep track of their transactions and receive the funding necessary to keep their business moving forward.
Take a look below at some of today’s most popular merchant account alternatives and why they just don’t measure up.
Square – Square is one of the most popular payment options used by merchants today. While the app and corresponding payment gateway are relatively easy to use, the latest customer reviews aren’t happy about how Square has been running their business. The majority of reviews state that the company has a serious lack of customer service, and that solutions to customer complaints are in short supply. There have also been many reports of Square withholding funds and shutting down customer accounts without cause. Not cool, Square.

Checks and Cash

Checks and cash are relatively simple solutions when it comes to getting paid. They don’t require any kind of payment gateway and offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to customizing your payment. However, more and more studies suggest that checks and cash are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Economists report that a mere 8% of the world’s currency is physical, while the rest exists in the form of digitized funds. Not only are you limiting your business to the use of antiquated payment methods, you’re also subjecting your business to an antiquated payment tracking method.

Third Party Providers or Payers

Third party providers such as PayPal are a popular choice for small businesses with a low transaction volume; however, more and more businesses are finding that third party payment options aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. One of the most common customer complaints involving third party payment providers is hidden fees. While companies like Paypal claim to help small business, they actually keep a sizeable chunk of your revenue for themselves. They also force strict rules regarding the number of transactions your business is allowed to handle, and leave sellers vulnerable to fraud and security threats.
Vision Payments works tirelessly to provide our clients with a merchant account that suits all of their needs. If you’re a merchant or small business looking for a reliable, efficient way to process your payments, let us take care of you. Contact Vision Payments today to find out how we can help you and your business succeed.