Frequently Asked Questions
1.Should I process credit cards?
- Nearly 1 in every 3 consumer purchases in the United States is made with a payment card including credit, debit, and prepaid products.
- Of every $100 spent by consumers, nearly $40 is in a form other than cash or check.
- Consumers carry more than 1 billion Visa cards worldwide more than 450 million of those cards are in the United States.
U.S. Visa cardholders conduct more than $1 trillion in annual volume. The average ticket for Visa purchases is consistently more than cash. (Source: www.visa.com/ )
2.What is interchange?
Interchange is established to incent banks to issue payment cards and merchants to accept those cards. It is a small fee paid by a merchant’s bank (also know as the acquiring bank) to the cardholder’s bank (the issuing bank) and serves to compensate the issuing bank for a portion of the risks and costs it incurs to maintain cardholder accounts. These costs include finance costs for the interest-free period between the time a consumer makes a purchase and pays his/her bill, credit losses, fraud protection and processing costs. (Source: www.mastercard.com/)
3.What is a discount fee?
The merchant discount fee is generally a small percentage of the price of the goods or services the merchant pays its bank when a payment card is used. The merchant discount fee is negotiated between the merchant and its bank. Visa / MasterCard are not a party to this contract nor do they have a role in negotiation between the merchant and its bank. (Source: www.mastercard.co
4.How much will it cost me to accept payment cards?
Depending on the type of business, volume, and number of transactions submitted on a monthly basis, the costs associated with a merchant account can vary significantly. In order to determine the best solution and pricing, please contact a merchant account representative by clicking here or call 1-800-718-0446 for immediate assistance.
5.What is transaction authorization and how does it differ from processing and settlement?
Authorization involves communication between the card issuing bank and the merchant’s bank verifying that the cardholder has available credit or funds to cover the transaction. The card-issuing bank puts those funds on hold and assigns an authorization code to the transaction. Processing refers to the transaction workflow and how each party involved receives the data. Settlement refers to the final accounting stage in which the transaction posts to the appropriate accounts at the card issuer and the acquiring bank.
6.How will I get paid for credit card transactions?
Funds are automatically transferred to your business checking account via an electronic ACH transfer. Funding occurs after a transaction has been captured and settled for payment. PCI Pros offers merchants 12-hour funding which means if you batch your terminal by 7pm, the funds will be available in your checking account by 7am the following morning.
7.I already have a retail merchant account. Do I need another merchant account to conduct Internet and/or Mail Order/Telephone Order transactions?
Financial Institutions and the Visa and Master Card Associations have different criteria for evaluating the potential risk involved in credit card transactions where the card is not physically present at the time of the transaction. This type of business is typically referred to as “card not present” or “MO/TO” (mail order/telephone order). Due to the risk, an additional separate Merchant account may be required, please contact a merchant account representative by clicking here or call 1-800-718-0446 for immediate assistance.
8.Why should I extend my business to the Internet?
The number one reason to extend your business to the internet is very simple; YOU WILL REACH A LARGER AUDIENCE. Over 100 million people worldwide are now connected to the Internet, and online stores have a nearly unlimited potential customer base. Electronic Commerce (or Ecommerce) is relatively new, but all indications show that it will be a major commercial influence within only a few years. Even the most conservative estimates indicate that Ecommerce growth in the next few years will be enormous. Total e-commerce sales for 2008 were estimated at $133.6 billion, an increase of 4.6 percent from 2007 while total retail sales in 2008 decreased 0.6 percent from 2007.
9.What kind of security do you have for online transactions?
PCI Pros provides the highest levels of security available. Transactions are encrypted (secured) from the customer to the gateway. Credit card data is not stored by the merchant, and only the last five digits of the credit card are viewable by the merchant from PCI. Each credit card transaction that is stored on PCI’s servers is individually encrypted using patent pending technology.
10.What is a payment gateway and what is the benefit of having one?
A payment gateway is a service that gives merchants the ability to perform real-time credit card authorizations from a website over the Internet. The following are some benefits of having a payment gateway: Security: Gateways keep customers’ credit card data behind firewalls so that the merchant doesn’t have to worry about someone ‘hacking’ into their system. Encryption: Gateways use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) channel encryption to prevent message tampering while the credit card information is being transmitted over the Internet. Back-up redundancy: Gateways have a backup system in place to ensure that merchants can continue processing in the event of an emergency. Up-to-date technology: Gateways are services that are constantly upgraded with the latest technology, and because the gateways are not on merchants’ computers, there is no need for the merchants to upgrade their hardware. Price: Gateways save the cost of an additional phone line that would be needed in a dial-up application. Certified standards: Gateways all must comply with standard certification policies prior to being deemed an acceptable processing solution.
11.Do I need equipment or a separate phone line to access and use my payment gateway?
No, all you need is a web browser and internet access.
12.Can I process any type of credit card through the payment gateway?
You can process Visa, Master Card, American Express, Diners Club, Discover, and JCB cards if your merchant account is authorized to accept them.
13.Can merchants require a minimum purchase amount that they accept credit card payment for?
Visa and Master Card require each merchant to perform AVS (Address Verification Service) on all transactions where the card is not present. However, this is just one form of fraud prevention, and there is no guarantee that the transaction is not fraudulent. The merchant is responsible for all transactions accepted, even if AVS is approved. If you feel a transaction is possibly fraudulent, you can contact the cardholder, as well as the Financial Institution that the card is affiliated with, to verify authenticity.
14.How does a credit card work from merchant to issuer?
A merchant swipes the customer’s card through a terminal which verifies and authorizes the transaction. The transaction is then processed or acquired by the merchant’s bank which submits the transaction to a network for settlement. During the processing or settlement, the transaction is then routed to the card issuing bank for payment. The diagram below identifies how the payment system works.