Merchant Services : Reviews and Expectations
The primary costs to a merchant of merchant accounts are discount rate and transactions fees. The merchant account provider has a lot of latitude in the pricing structure.
Three tier pricing of Merchant Services is one of the most common pricing schemes. Using 3 tiers pricing, the merchant account provider groups the transactions into 3 groups (tiers) and assigns a rate to each tier. The three tiers are qualified, mid-qualified and non-qualified rates.
A qualified rate is the lowest tier. It is what a merchant is charged when processing a consumer credit card in a way that has been defined as standard by the merchant account provider. The qualified rates is what is usually quoted by merchant account salespeople. A mid-qualified rate is what the merchant is charged if processing a transaction outside of standard parameters. A mid-qualified rate may apply to rewards or corporate cards, which can comprise up to 40% of the cards used for purchases. The Merchant Services, of course, has no control over what card a consumer uses.
Replica means the exact duplicate of the original using the same materials and manufacturing techniques to produce the original product. E-commerce merchants in the replica industry that sell merchandise such as handbags, wallets, watches, shoes are often categorized as high risk merchants.Although the replica business presents lower risk than pharmacy, gaming and the adult industries, replica merchant accounts are classified as high risk due to the possibility of fraud or high charge back rates. Merchant Acquiring Banks are often reluctant to set up replica merchant accounts but fortunately there are reputable payment solutions readily available.
An offshore merchant account serves as the ideal merchant solution for a replica merchant. This type of merchant account can facilitate high credit card processing volumes unlike the constraints of a domestic merchant account. Choosing to process through an offshore processing bank will afford no restrictions on monthly or yearly volume limits while providing very liberal processing requirements. Several of the largest and most respected businesses in the world utilize offshore processors to accept their credit card transactions.
A reputable offshore merchant account will usually feature:
Personalized merchant IDs
No pre-set volume limits
Sophisticated payment gateways
A virtual online for manual entries
24/7 real-time reporting
An offshore corporation may also own the offshore merchant account to benefit from optimal asset protection and tax incentives A replica merchant should always consider an offshore merchant account that extends state-of-the-art fraud technology. A well designed system will have the ability to identify subtle patterns in buying habits and characteristics of online fraud perpetrators. It is mandatory to integrate a robust and comprehensive fraud system to maximize business profits while minimizing risk. Replica Merchants should also consider offering multi-currency payment processing options, SSL encrypted servers and 3D Secure to increase global presence and maximize sales.
Merchant Services : Reviews and What to look for in a Merchant Account ?
Accepting Credit Cards
As a small business or a small-small business (under 10 employees) it is important that you consider accepting credit cards if you don't do so already. People expect to be able to pay with plastic. They can pay with credit cards at fast food restaurants, gas stations, coffee shops and more. It is just expected, fairly or not, that a business be able to accept credit cards.
The first thing you need to do is evaluate Merchant Acounts. You may naturally assume that it is just easier to use your bank to set up your account. Well, that is convenient, but is it really in your best interest.
Many small businesses fall into the trap of latching onto their first merchant account and staying with them because of the convenience. They do this to their detrement. Over the past few years rates have lowered, while these small companies, out of loyalty or convenience, have been stuck paying the same rate they had when they first started.
Online merchant accounts are another consideration. You will need virtual versions of the credit card processors described above:
- Secure Gateway: This translates the information entered onto your website into data that can be read by an electronic card processing system.
- Virtual Terminal: This eleminates the need for a physical point-of-sale card processing system.
- Online Shopping Cart
- Virtual check processor
- Wireless terminals
Go into acquiring a Merchant Account with your eyes open. It is a service that you will need if you plan on being competitive, so make sure you do it right.
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