Five Questions for Your Merchant Account Provider

Every merchant account provider has a unique set of services that require attention before signing up with them. Finding the right merchant account provider is an involved process that calls for both research and attention to detail. If you’re in the market for a new provider, here are a few questions you should be asking before you sign on the dotted line.

1. How is Your Customer Support?

You never know what kind of situation you might need help with. Make sure you payment processor offers the customer support you’re looking for. Your best bet is signing up with a company that provides 24/7 services with live support. Live support can come in the form of face-to-face, phone, and live chat. If you want to make sure you’re getting the service you’re looking for, make a test call to see how long it takes to talk to an actual person.

2. Are you PCI Compliant?

PCI compliance is enforced by the PCI Council. These standards ensure that merchants and merchant account providers are following best practices. Non-compliant companies can actually face substantial fines for neglecting their PCI compliance, and might affect how your company does business in the long run. If you find that your prospective merchant account provider’s services are in violation of PCI standard, do not do business with them.

3. What is Your Security Like?

Credit card processors are no stranger to the widespread threat of fraud. With recent changes to credit card liability laws, you’ll want to make sure that your account is protected against all forms of fraud.

4. Are Your Services Compatible With My Shopping Cart?

Your payment gateway, or the software that connects your shopping cart to your processor, is a vital part of your operation. Every merchant account provider’s software is different, which might mean that it isn’t compatible with your online shopping cart. According to experts, most processors work with Authorize.net, which provides software that is universally compliant.

5. What Kind of Fees Will I Be Charged?

Hidden fees can be both annoying and costly. Will you be facing monthly charges? Annual fees based on usage? Experts suggest that merchants should pay no more than $200 annually on additional fees. Online merchants can expect to pay a little more at $300 annually. Ask your potential merchant account providers about any additional fees that they might require, and find out what specific actions on your part might lead to additional charges.

Contact Vision Payments today at (877) 674-2286 to find out more about what you should be looking for in your merchant account provider. We’ll walk you through the process and help answer all of your questions so that you’re well-informed about your merchant account.

How to Make Sure You’re Getting the Most out of Merchant Processing

At Vision Payment Solutions, we offer a full spectrum of merchant processing products and services for business. We provide merchant accounts to allow acceptance of credit and debit cards, offer hardware and software terminals, develop integrated cash register systems, and fund thousands of dollars for your business.
If you’re new to merchant services or simply interested in starting a merchant account, it’s important to be well-informed before making a decision so you can get the best deal possible. As merchant account service provider with over 60 years of experience, VPS has some tips and words of advice you should keep in mind when choosing a merchant processing service.

Be prepared

As a business owner, you should become familiar with the credit card and credit card processing industries. Research fees and rates, as well as the differences between cards and start collecting quotes and comparing data. When you start the process with educated clarity, you will be able to sensibly select the right service for your business.

Get acquainted with common pricing models

The three standard pricing models in credit card processing are flat rate, tiered pricing, and interchange plus (cost-plus pricing.) Flat-rate pricing is used by processors like PayPal and typically works best for small monthly volumes. As the name suggests, tiered pricing has three levels: qualified tiers, mid-qualified tiers, and non-qualified tiers. Processors bundle the transaction rates to offer you these tiers.
Interchange plus is the best model for processing a monthly amount of over $2,000. Interchange uses the comprehensive cost that card brands charge to process your transaction, which means you get access to hundreds of wholesale costs and have a pre-negotiated rate as well.

Make sure to ask questions

When you are negotiating a merchant account, you need to consider various fees. Ask the following questions to ensure that you are fully aware of all possible fees:
-Is there an annual fee?
-Is there a monthly minimum penalty?
-Am I signing a contract term? What is the termination fee?
-What is the monthly service fee?
-What is the statement fee?
-Will the fees be debited monthly or daily?
-What kind of online reports will be available?

Purchase updated technology

It’s essential to have current credit-card terminal technology if that is how you’re receiving transactions. Sometimes there are free equipment options in exchange for reasonable contract terms. Make sure to never lease the equipment, as this always costs extra. If you choose to use a virtual terminal or payment gateway, ensure that it serves all necessary functions. Virtual terminals can save you a significant amount of time, as you simply bill customers on an automatic monthly cycle instead of requiring someone to manually charge the card.

Vision Payment Solutions wants to keep your business up-to-date in a constantly shifting industry Through our flexible hardware, software, and e-commerce solutions we’ll help your payment system evolve along with your business, rather than fighting against it. To learn more about our services at Vision Payment Solutions, visit visionpayments.com

Merchant Processing Terms and Definitions

Vision Payments is dedicated to making merchant processing as simple and hassle-free as possible for all of our clients. If you’re new to the payment processing game, you might wonder what exactly you’re getting into. To make things easier, we’ve created an A-Z beginner’s guide of merchant processing terms to keep you in the know:

Authorization: The approval given from a participating customer’s bank in order to approve a transaction. Upon authorization, a code is generated for that specific transaction for tracking purposes.

Chargeback: A chargeback occurs once a credit card holder disputes a credit card transaction with their credit card issuer. Once a dispute has been filed, the disputed amount is withdrawn from the merchant’s bank account, giving them ten days to fight the chargeback with proof of the transaction (signed receipt, proof of delivery, proof of purchase, etc.) Merchants might also be subject to a chargeback fee should the original dispute prove valid.

Credit Card (or Third Party) Processors: Credit card processors handle the details of processing credit card transactions. The transaction must pass from a merchant, to an issuing bank, to the merchant account provider in order for an individual transaction to be completed.

Issuer: An issuer is the institution that has issued a credit card to a business or an individual. They are one of the key players in completing a transaction as they help to approve the credit card payment to the merchant.

Merchant: This one is pretty self-explanatory. A merchant is the business selling goods or services bought by a consumer.

Payment Gateway: A gateway acts as a middleman between a merchant’s payment software or website and the payment processor itself. In some cases, the gateway acts as the payment processor.

PCI Compliance: PCI standards were created by major issuing banks in order to protect consumers from identity theft and ensure greater security during transactions. Processors now charge what is commonly known as a PCI compliance fee to insure against data breaches and hackings. Never sign up with a Merchant Processor that is not PCI compliant.

Point of Interaction (POI): The actual instance in which a credit card’s information is read by a merchant’s payment processing software. Most POIs fall under the category of integrated circuit (chip) and/or magnetic strip-based payment transactions.

The more you know before signing up for a merchant processing account, the better prepared you’ll be to choose the payment processor that works for you. If you have any questions about signing up for a merchant account or wish to sign up for one, feel free to contact VPS today at (877) 674-2286.

Payment Gateways for Beginners

If you’re a merchant looking to step sell and promote our products on-line, one of your first steps is to learn about the ever-important payment gateway. Payment gateways have made significant strides over the past few years, and are quickly becoming a popular solution for a wide range of E-commerce merchants
Here are a few basic facts about Payment Gateways:

What exactly is a Payment Gateway?

A payment gateway is an e-commerce application that authorizes all credit card payments between a consumer and a merchant. Payment gateways can be used by e-business, online retailers, and brick and mortar businesses to customize their credit card payments.

How Does a Payment Gateway Work?

The transaction process might look complicated at first glance, but a payment gateway’s role is relatively simple. Once a consumer places their order, their credit card information is recorded by the payment gateway and encrypted before being sent to the merchant’s web server. The information is then sent to the acquiring bank’s server, then transmitted to the Card issuer (MasterCard, Visa, etc.). The card issuer either approves or denies the transaction, then sends the response to the gateway. Once the transaction is approved, it is considered complete!

How do Payment Gateways Protect against Fraud?

There are several methods used by payment gateways to protect both consumers and merchant services from fraud, including: 3D secure, address verification services, IP address-based, and other types of identity verification.

What Payment Gateway Should I Use?

Every business is different; therefore, every business has different needs as far as their payment gateway is concerned. Vision Payments works with over 35 different payment gateway solutions, allowing you the freedom to choose the gateway that works with your company. We recommend the following solutions:

  • Authorize.net
  • NMI
  • USAepay

For more information about payment gateways and what you should be looking for, contact Vision Payments today. Our customer service representatives can walk you through your payment processing account and help you decide which gateway best suits your needs. Call us today at 877-674-2286!

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.

Merchant Accounts vs. Managed Risk Accounts

As a growing business, it is critical to establish and maintain a merchant account as a means for accepting credit card and debit card payments. Most businesses have stopped accepting checks, and the circulation of cash is decreasing in the face of rising credit card popularity.
However, there is a distinct difference between a standard merchant account, and an account with what is referred to as managed risk.

Merchant Accounts

Basically, a bank provides an account for a merchant to accept payments, normally for credit or debit cards. The payments can be accepted using a physical terminal, like a standard credit card machine, or an e-commerce payment gateway. There is usually a contractual agreement between the merchant and the payment processer, which outlines the fees, rates, and any terms of initiation or cancellation. Merchant accounts will not always open accounts with merchants who work in higher-risk industries.

Managed Risk Accounts

A managed risk merchant can be defined using the following:

  • Collectibles or antiques
  • Businesses that sell adult items
  • Telemarketing services
  • SEO companies
  • Apparel
  • Nutracuticals
  • Supplements
  • Cosmetics
  • E-cigarettes & Vape
  • Coaching
  • MLM
  • Tech Support
  • Travel
  • Time Share
  • Resort

Essentially, any merchant that does business in an industry where failure or minimal profits are more likely. Managed risk accounts must be opened with a merchant account provider who specializes in overseeing managed risk merchant accounts. However, not many account providers are willing to do business with managed risk merchants.

It is important to shop through merchant account providers. Because many banks aren’t armed to open managed risk merchant accounts, it may feel difficult to find a good provider, and it can be easy to accept the first provider you find. It is essential to avoid jumping on the first account provider you can find. Due to the nature of managed risk businesses, many managed risk account providers may charge egregious fees, fines, or rates. Experts advise merchants to research their options thoroughly to find a provider who is more apt to offer shorter-term contracts, an absence of cancellation fees, and flexibility with your business preferences.

What Merchant Processing Services are Right for Your Small Business?

Once you’ve decided on obtaining a merchant account for your small business, the question then becomes what kind of services are right for your business. Every business has different needs, especially when it comes to small vendors, which makes research a must when searching for your account provider.

For Vendors on the Go

Modern technology has made credit card transactions on the go simpler than ever. Many merchant processors offer convenient apps for vendors traveling to trade shows and markets. These apps require little to no additional hardware other than your smart phone, and offer all the conveniences of a merchant account. Vision Payments’ Mobile App requires no payment terminal or phone line, only your customer’s credit card information!

For Extra Security

One of the most important features of any merchant account should guaranteed PCI compliance. PA-DSS guidelines are the gold standard when it comes to transaction security—anything less might spell trouble for you and your customers in the future. For additional security, look for merchant accounts and merchant account software that offer SSL encryption, password protection, customer verification, and fraud protection.

For Easy Money Management

If you’re looking for simplicity, look for a merchant account with consistent, hassle-free management and reporting. Discuss your merchant account’s reporting system with your agent to ensure that you’re always informed of your company’s transactions. Vision Payments offers easy online reporting for vendors that want around-the-clock access to their transaction information, which makes it easier to track your business’ process, manage your profits, and make plans regarding your business’ future.

For a Little Extra Guidance

Look for companies willing to put their customers first. Some merchant account providers rely on one-size-fits-all solutions that unfortunately don’t work for everyone. Look for a provider that’s willing to work with your business to give you exactly the tools you need to get your job done. And make sure that you’re comfortable with your provider’s policies and practices. A good relationship with your provider can go a long way in providing you with peace of mind as you try to help your business grow.
Contact Vision Payments at (877) 674 – 2286 to find out if our services are right for you. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and give you the information you need to decide which of our merchant account solutions are right for you.