When opening a merchant account it is important to understand the fees charged by credit card processors. It is also important to know the difference between a normal fee and a junk fee. Many credit card processing companies bury hidden fees and minimums in merchant agreements. We will teach you how to identify these fees and successfully obtain a low rate merchant account.
First, let's go over some normal acceptable fees...
When you total all fees charged on a standard merchant account you should be able to compute your effective annual credit card processing rate to less than 3%. If you total up all your merchant account fees over a one year period and you effectively are paying more than 3% you should look into other processors.
Now let's go over some popular junk fees...
Many unscrupulous credit card processors will attempt to add these fees buried deep into merchant agreements. Another tactic used by these companies is to have you sign a blank application with fees left blank. It is important to stay wary of all fees that your credit card processor is charging you.
If you need help understanding your merchant account agreement please contact us today and we may be able to help you understand and reduce your current credit card processing fees. We are industry experts with years of experience in the merchant account processing field. We offer award winning customer support and have helped thousands of business owners obtain a low cost merchant account.
In a recent study it was shown that most retailers in 2015 will be looking for a Point of Sale system that tracks all customer data, not just process payments. Retailers are looking for ways to use POS Systems in more unconventional ways such as e-commerce, social media marketing amongst many other things. Most POS systems are currently outdated and are not compliant with PCI, EMV or NFC applications. 2015 is poised to be a year of huge changes for retailers and POS suppliers, the game has changed and it will help business owners have a control and insight over their business that they never have had before.
How POS adoption trends are shifting:
“There are certainly some retail segments lagging in the adoption of POS solutions," said Janna Finch of Software Advice, a retail technology review firm. "For instance, about two-thirds of consignment retailers, use manual methods, or nothing at all to track data. However, as a group, 47 percent of small and mid-sized retailers are currently using POS software--and many want to upgrade to a new system with more advanced functionality. In 2014, retailers wanted POS systems to do a lot more than simply process transactions; they also want additional integrations with applications that automate more time-consuming tasks, like inventory tracking, and we expect this trend continue in 2015."
Implications from the rise of "Consumerization of Retail"
"The impact that the ‘consumerization of retail’ trend has had on SMBs is evident in this report. In 2013, customer-centric features like support for loyalty programs and multiple payment types (e.g., PayPal and digital currency) didn't crack the list of most-requested functionality. This year, a greater number of POS buyers are specifically looking for POS systems that support these, and also customer relationship management and e-commerce tasks. POS systems are transforming into customer data hubs with information retailers can leverage to personalize customer communications, track inventory in real-time, predict behavior and be where their customers are, whether in the store, online, or on mobile.
Q&A with Janna Finch of SoftwareAdvice.com:
Are there any particular sectors within the retail industry that seem slow to implement POS software?
“There are certainly some retail segments lagging in the adoption of POS solutions," said Janna Finch of Software Advice, a firm that reviews retail technology. "For instance, about two-thirds of consignment retailers, use manual methods, or nothing at all to track data."
Is this a common trend throughout all of small businesses?
"I wouldn't go that far. As a group, 47 percent of small and mid-sized retailers are currently using POS software--and many want to upgrade to a new system with more advanced functionality."
Was there an overall 2014 trend you saw in POS demand?
"In 2014, retailers wanted POS systems to do a lot more than simply process transactions; they also want additional integrations with applications that automate more time-consuming tasks, like inventory tracking, and we expect this trend continue in 2015."
Your report dives into the rise of "Consumerization of Retail." What are the implications of this?
"The impact that the ‘consumerization of retail’ trend has had on SMBs is quite evident. In 2013, customer-centric features like support for loyalty programs and multiple payment types (e.g., PayPal and digital currency) didn't crack the list of most-requested functionality. This year, a greater number of POS buyers are specifically looking for POS systems that support these, and also customer relationship management and e-commerce tasks. POS systems are seeming to transform into something like a customer data hub. This gives information to retailers that they can leverage in order to personalize customer communications, track inventory in real-time, predict behavior and be where their customers are, whether in the store, online, or on mobile."
For a full report created by www.SoftwareAdvice.com go to http://www.slideshare.net/SoftwareAdvice/point-of-sale-software-report-2014
Apple Pay is here and it's poised to be a big hit among consumers based on the initial buzz of the press release and the new iPhone 6 with built in Near Field Communication technology. Apple Pay is a mobile wallet that works by simply using short wave radio frequencies, this technology is called NFC (Near Field Communication). NFC works by allowing users of Apple Pay to upload their credit cards into the secure iPhone 6 app. which then allows the user to pay for a product by simply waving the iPhone in front of a NFC enabled terminal and accept the transaction with a thumb scan. This is much more secure than the traditional mag stripe swiped method and consumers are already showing major interest in Apple Pay. Consumers also like the fact that with Apply Pay they no longer need to carry credit cards with them.
It's a sure fact that if you operate a small business you will encounter customers preferring to use NFC technology more and more as time goes on. Apple Pay is not the only mobile wallet on the market either. Google and other companies have created similar products but none have quite taken hold like Apple Pay is set to. We believe this is due to the loyalty iPhone users have to it's products and apps. Apple is also leading the way in data security standards which is another attractive reason consumers are choosing to embrace this newly released technology.
In order to accept Apple Pay and other Mobile Wallet applications as a form of payment at your place of business you most likely will need to upgrade your Point of Sale system to one that is NFC enabled. It may also help to make sure your new POS System can handle EMV chip cards as well. 2015 is projected to be one of the most pivotal years in the payments industry to date. Reason being is that so many new emerging technologies and disruptors like the popular SquareUp and now Apple Pay have come into the marketplace.
Additionally, there will be much more scrutiny by governmental agencies over the way businesses handle card holder data security and the liability of who is at fault when a data breach occurs. Bottom line is that as a business owner you need to protect yourself and make sure you offer your customers their preferred payment method or you're basically doomed to go out of business (or) lose a huge chunk of revenue due to a fraud loss. Look at Target, Neiman Marcus and Home Depot to name a few. Many smaller data breaches are happening every day we just don't hear about them in the news.
Many business owners are hesitant to adopt new technologies although time and regulation will eventually force all businesses to conform to these new standards.
Bravertek can make the transition to a new POS System easy. We will train you and your employees on the latest credit card acceptance technologies including Near Field Communication and EMV "Chip Card" acceptance. Contact us today for a no obligation consultation with one of our knowledgeable advisors.
By choosing Shopify to create an online store for your ecommerce website is a very good idea for beginners to advanced users. When you need turnkey ecommerce solutions on a budget Shopify comes in handy with hundreds of pre-made themes. Easily create a blog and organize products on your site by category. Shopify is great for any business looking to sell online!
Shopify sets itself apart from competitors by utilizing a much easier to use interface and website builder. It also has the capability to work with over 70 payment gateways as well as offering it's own credit card processing service through Stripe. Our online gateway of choice is Authorize.net which works seamlessly with Shopify. This level of flexibility allows us to help our customers create beautiful online stores for their business that are search engine friendly. Shopify themes are programmed with a desktop and mobile view to be seen clearly on any device.
Analytics and order management is made easy using Shopify with a mobile optimized online order fulfillment center. Easily monitor sales, issue refunds, create discount codes and send invoices to customers from any device at any time. Get up to date sales activity sent to you in real time.
In addition, Shopify offers a full scale retail POS system with barcode scanner, label printer, iPad stand, cash drawers, and credit card reader. If you already have an online store all the items will be transferred to your shopify POS system. No need to migrate data!
Shopify is offering a FREE 14 day trial to build your online store. We recommend that you give it a try today!
When looking for a credit card processing solution every small business owner is bombarded with a myriad of different offers. As soon as you register for a business license you should expect your mailbox to become overflowed with offers for free credit card processing equipment, business loans, smartphone apps and iPhone credit card reader point of sale solutions etc. This can become very confusing as so many solutions are available choosing "the right one" could prove to be overwhelmingly difficult. Unfortunately, many new business owners do not understand how a merchant account or credit card processing services work. The most common question that we are asked on initial consultations with new business owners is "what is your price." Our answer is "first let's determine what type of merchant classification you fall into. Once we classify your business and discuss your specific needs we can then identify a solution that works for your unique business model. After that, we can address credit card processing costs, account fees, POS equipment and e-commerce solutions if necessary. We will also discuss the difference between a pay-as-you-go shared merchant account pricing plan and a traditional merchant account pricing plan and which option may be right for your business. These options all carry different benefits and drawbacks and come with completely different pricing models. Let's go over all the options and see what's best for you." Remember, the goal is to provide your customers with the easiest and most seamless way to pay you. Your customers don't care at all how much you're merchant processing services cost, they don't even consider it. Although, if you don't offer easy credit card payment options you are most likely to get an earful from one of your customers about how you need to keep up with the times and why another business offers something that you don't and why they are now taking their business to them? Guess what, the money you lost on that customer is equal to what you saved on the low-budget credit card processing system you thought was going to save your small business a boatload. Go figure...
What is a shared merchant account?
Shared merchant accounts are by far the most popular credit card processing services offered today. Shared merchant account services were popularized by Silicon Valley tech startups like PayPal and the new major player in the game is the very popular San Francisco based SquareUp. A shared merchant account is classified by the card brands (VISA & MasterCard etc.) as an aggregator. The definition of aggregator is "a wholesale buyer or broker of a utility service, such as electricity, telephone or credit card processing services, who packs it and re-sells it to consumers. The last word in the definition of aggregator is "consumers." Shared merchant accounts are made for everyday consumers selling as an individual or small home based businesses. Hair stylists, personal trainers, tattoo artists, mobile food trucks, locksmiths, general small job handyman repairs, make up artists, plumbers and other small operations are who shared merchant accounts were made for. 90% of applicants for shared merchant accounts fall into this classification and have no problem with the services provided.
Unlike a traditional merchant account a shared merchant account is operated by an organization with a master merchant account and gives sub-users the ability to use it as opposed to opening unique accounts for every user, thus increasing their cost. This is why every shared merchant account has a daily cutoff time for funding. All the sales are settled at the same time for the entire system and every user on it. At night the funds are electronically distributed to each users bank account. Shared merchant accounts are ideal for users who demand an affordable and simple solution to process credit card payments on the go. Shared merchant accounts are not designed for high dollar sales over $1,000 or retail businesses processing more than $5,000 in monthly credit card sales. Also, many legal industries that have been classified as high risk may also not be good candidates for a shared merchant account. A shared merchant account provider will pre-approve you based solely on an identity check. Once you start using the service by processing payments is when they will make their final decision on whether to keep you as a user. Read it, it's all in the fine print of the agreement! By using a shared merchant account you run a huge risk if you're processing high dollar payments or are selling items or services that could be considered high risk by that processor, the list of restricted and prohibited business types is buried deep within the fine print of the "click here I agree" contract. Literally, thousands of reviews are on the internet in regards to users complaining about funding holds caused by shared merchant account providers and the lack of customer support or a customer service phone number provided by these companies. The bulk of complaints are in regards to SquareUp and the fact that they provide no telephone customer service, only email and twitter support. The advice we give our clients is to proceed with caution when using these services.
What is a traditional merchant account?
Traditional merchant accounts are primarily for established businesses with more than one employee and a retail location. A traditional merchant account is also a good idea for any business who makes sales of more than $1,000 in any single transaction. Most e-commerce businesses would also benefit from the added functionality of a traditional merchant account or online gateway. Unfortunately, the pricing for these type of accounts is not clear at all and this is why traditional merchant accounts have received so much negative press lately. With a traditional merchant account you are paying for each part of the service individually. The cost is broken up into transaction cost and processor markups, equipment costs and additional account fees. Although, when added up most businesses processing over $5,000 per month will see a substantial savings with this plan as opposed to the latter more simple to understand pay-as-you-go shared merchant account setup. The down side to this unclear pricing model is that unscrupulous sales associates after a quick up-front commission will use a business owners lack of intelligence to misinform them into making a bad decision and signing a very unfavorable merchant agreement for credit card processing services and equipment. These unscrupulous sales people target business owners shopping on "price only" and not services as they are only briefly in the credit card processing industry themselves and really have no knowledge of the inner workings of payment processing. They simply quote a price and sell their personality and reassure the client that they will be taken care of. By the time the client receives the bill the sales associate has most likely vanished or does not take calls and the business owner is stuck dealing with years of high rate processing fees or a solution that does not meet their businesses needs.
The benefits of a traditional merchant account are number one you are going to be receiving a very high level of customer support if you sign up with a reputable provider. Additionally, you will have an FDIC insured merchant identifier that guarantees you will get your money up to a certain limit as long as no fraud activity has been detected. Business owners who require the assurance of receiving funds in a timely manner will always opt for a traditional merchant account. Applying for a traditional merchant account requires a more lengthy application process and verification of business financials and business practices. This process is very costly for payment processor to vet each business individually. This is why we commonly see account fees and minimums associated with traditional merchant accounts. The processor wants to ensure that they will get return on the investment of vetting the business even if the business does not use the service. Additionally, software with more functionality may be added and this making the the cost of services go even higher for inactivity. The bottom line is that if you establish a traditional merchant account, you had better use it or be prepared to pay, there are fees for inactivity. If you are in a seasonal industry in which your business is closed for a set number of month per year you can have your account set up to only be active during these months. In the off season you will not be charged inactivity fees although you may still be responsible for equipment lease or rental payments or any other non-processing fees associated with your merchant account set-up.
Which option is best for me?
After reading this post you should have a good idea about the differences between a shared and a traditional merchant account. You need to weigh the options as a business owner and take into account what your specific priorities are. Seek out a reputable payments consultant like Bravertek to help you make this very serious decision.
Bravertek specializes in both shared merchant account and traditional merchant account set-ups. We will go over each option with you and together we will make an educated decision on which option is best for your growing business.
Got Chargebacks? Why a Chargeback can hurt your business. What to do about Chargebacks and Friendly Fraud and how to avoid it.
At some point every business (even the most reputable businesses) will encounter some sort of friendly fraud or chargeback activity from a customer or client that chose to pay by credit card. You may be asking yourself why someone would initiate a chargeback for a good or service that never had any problems. The answer is very simple, banks advertise total security and fraud protection services. This gives any buyer the ability to dispute a settled credit card transaction that was processed through any of the major card networks. Many times clients are truly just confused about where the charge came from and/or maybe a spouse or family member controls the account and does not agree with the purchase and decides to initiate a chargeback with their bank. Businesses that process a high number of recurring payments experience high levels of chargeback activity due to the fact that customers may have changed their minds or forgot they supplied credit card info for a recurring payment or they simply don't have the financial means to keep up with the payment arrangents. As we can see here there are more than one good reason why a person may initiate a chargeback by mistake.
If you are looking for a way to reduce chargeback initiations by your customers you must educate them on your refund policies and why disputing a charge with their bank is never a good means of solving a problem or getting a refund. Instruct your customers to instead contact you first to try and settle the dispute and/or receive a refund. In a retail setting chargebacks are relatively low compared to e-commerce accounts although the problem still remains. Sometimes retailers make the mistake of placing the wrong name on their credit card descriptor. If a customer cannot match the name on their statement to your business they may not recognize it and dispute the transaction. In addition, retailers must always instruct employees to check the ID card of customers using credit card payment.
Bravertek works with industries and merchants who are prone to high levels of chargebacks. We can even get an account approved that has been previously canceled due to chargebacks. Contact us today or click below for a merchant account quote.
There are many credit card processors that work directly with non-profit organizations. Finding an appropriate credit card processor can be tricky due to the costs involved and the way you accept credit cards. Not all non-profits accept credit card payments the same way... Some organizations are in need of a mobile credit card processing option and some will need an e-commerce solution. Alternatively, you may need both options. Before we address price we must make sure that we find out what your organizations specific needs are and then move forward with merchant account pricing and processing equipment.
By speaking with a Bravertek account executive we will be able to determine what type of merchant account credit card processing program is right for your non-profit. Call today or click below for a merchant account quote.
Did you know that the EBT SNAP program has changed? In the past, you would have received free equipment from the state; this is no longer the case. By September 21st all EBT SNAP merchants must have all new equipment.
Bravertek has come up with an easy solution to this problem. Supply you with a new credit card processing EBT SNAP certified credit card terminal for FREE. Your machine will be able to process all major credit card types including EBT SNAP.
We are no longer requiring a copy of your EBT certification letter! All we need is your EBT FSN #. Call today or click below to get the process started today. The deadline in September 21st 2014!
Historically, in Canada the primary way to obtain a merchant account or credit card processing services would be to go to a local bank and get referred to whatever credit card processor the bank is referring businesses to. This is usually Moneris or TD Canada Trust which are by far the largest credit card processors in Canada right now. With the introduction of SquareUp and PayPal Canadian merchants have other alternatives but they do not address the real needs of Canadian business that need to accept Interac Chip Cards which is the preferred payment method in Canada. Just being able to accept standard credit cards does not truly meet the needs of the Canadian businesses.
We constantly get calls from Canadian business owners interested in our free equipment programs... Until now this was only available in the USA. In the past Canadian businesses would pay much more than US businesses for credit card processing services and equipment. In fact, the cost of equipment is exactly the same in Canada as the USA and the cost of interchange (the credit card processors actual cost to process the transaction) is lower in Canada than in the USA. So why do businesses in the USA pay so much less than their Canadian counterparts and in addition get provided with free credit card processing equipment?
The answer is simple... Canadian credit card processing companies (yes, Canadian companies) have been raking in the dough from businesses who continue to overpay for credit and debit card processing services and equipment. In addition, they have been known to increase fees every year and their contracts all carry heavy cancellation fees just for the merchant agreement (keep in mind I say merchant agreement not equipment lease). The Non Cancellable equipment lease you (most likely) signed is probably with an entirely different entity that they (the Canadian credit card processor) misguidedly signed you up with disguising it as part of their merchant agreement! I'm sure that many who are reading this article have been duped in just this way and are looking for a reliable honest company that does not overcharge for services and equipment.
Bravertek's solution for Canadian Businesses... We have partnered with Canadian banks and payment processors to combine your merchant agreement and equipment in an all inclusive credit card processing solution. We only charge 1.59% on all qualified transactions. If you don't like the equipment, send it back anytime, we will cancel your account with no penalties. Our contract terms are straightforward and honest. By opening a new merchant credit card processing account with Bravertek through one of our trusted A+ BBB accredited processors you will be provided with a FREE wireless or countertop credit card processing terminal that will be equipped to handle all payment card types including Interac. In addition, the credit card processor will be able to provide you 24/7 technical support and overnight shipping services on new equipment orders, upgrades and replacements. Free credit card processing equipment options before now were only available to businesses in the USA. Take advantage of this offer while supplies last! Click here for more info or request a quote below.