01 July 2009

How to Look for a Good Retail Merchant Account

In looking for a good retail merchant account for your business, you should look at factors such as account contracts, rates and fees, customer service and support, and account services.

Many retail businesses nowadays are accepting credit or debit card because 80% of retail customers pay with their credit or debit cards and only 20% of them pay in cash. It would be very difficult for business to thrive without these as modes of payment.  It would be a great loss for retailers when they do not accept credit or debit cards because their customers may want to find other stores that accept such payments.

Looking for a good retail merchant account would not be so difficult if you just know which merchant account provider will provide you with excellent services.  Finding the most reputable retail merchant account provider that is suitable for your budget and business’ interest assures you that your business’ financial transactions are in good hands.  But before you consider applying for a retail merchant account you must first consider these 3 factors:

1. Account contracts and fees

Sometimes, rates cause applicants to misjudge or get a wrong idea about a merchant account.It is with utmost importance that every retail merchant applicant should acknowledge that it is their right to know and to fully understand all the fees and charges accompanied with having a merchant account. It is the account provider’s responsibility to explain all of these to the applicant.

Interchange and assessment fees make up the price for each transaction made into the merchant account. They are fees as to what type of card your retail merchant account will be accepting, whether its Visa or MasterCard, and to what category each cards’ transaction fall into. There is no standard rate for each credit and debit cards as what account providers will tell you.  The fees vary because there are approximate 150 interchange categories that a merchant account may be charged into. It greatly depends on the type of credit or debit card the customer used and the information it gathered.

Also be aware that account providers  who declares low discount rates from other account providers may only be a scheme to get more people to sign up for them. It is a way for them to divert the applicants from possible hidden charges, increasing rates or extended contracts.

If you are signing for a long-term merchant account, it is likely that you will have bigger termination fees.  Some providers may only provide you with low-level customer services for long-term contracts with expensive termination fees.

There are also other fees that applicants should be aware of like processing fees, start up fees, statement fees, monthly minimum fees or annual fees.  If you don’t understand what these fees are for, better ask the agent assisting you with your application.

2. Retail merchant account services

Look for merchant account providers that will let you accept different types of credit or debit cards like Visa or MasterCard, and will provide you with different services for credit card processing. You may be needing a retail merchant account that needs a physically-present credit or debit card for transaction but in any case that you want to expand your business and venture into new levels, you can also ask for an online merchant account or mail-order/telephone order merchant account for online web stores.  Account providers will help you decide and provide you with necessary equipments and software, terminals or payment gateways for credit card processing but they usually let you pay for these services.

3. Customer service and support

Customer service is very important in any merchant account in case any financial problems arise. Look for account providers who have a great line of customer service who will cater your needs 24 hours a day with a team that will help you in account services, sales and technical support.

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