Frequently Asked Questions

Credit card processing companies provide merchants with the ability to accept debit cards, credit cards, and e-checks using payment gateways, online shopping carts and mobile payment devices. Check out the FAQ below for more information about credit card processing.

Do I need to accept online payments?

What is a Payment Gateway?

Can I export data to my accounting software?

Is my information secure?

What is a mobile card reader?

What are e-checks?

What is the average waiting period for monetary deposits?

What is a merchant account?

What is the average period to process my application?

Will my employees receive training for new terminals?

Do I need a Virtual Terminal?

Will my physical terminal equipment be provided for free?

Whom do I contact if I need assistance?

What do I need to know about PCI DSS?

How do I go about being PCI compliant?

What does an approved scanning vendor do?

What if I decide not to certify myself as PCI compliant?

How will my customers know I am PCI compliant?

What types of terminals are there?

How do I know if I should buy or lease equipment?

Will accepting credit cards really boost my sales?

How long will it take for me to get my payment?

What are my portable options for merchant services?

What do I need to use my mobile device for credit card payments?

Will all mobile phones work with all merchant service apps?

If I use my mobile device, where will my records be kept?

Will I be able to take checks if I use my mobile device?

Is my customer information secure if I use a movile device?

What is a POS System?

What benefits does a POS system offer?

Can a POS system help with cash flow?

How is information entered in a POS system?

Which sales tracking options can a POS compute?

What is the value of POS reports?

Is a POS system an expensive outlay for a business?

How do I know if I need a website shopping cart?

What does MOTO mean?

What are Value Added Services?

Which VAS should I look out for?

Can merchant services help with getting my business started with ecommerce?

What are cash advances?

What are the pros and cons of cash advances?

What is an EMV terminal?

What are the benefits of EMV?

Do I have to have an EMV terminal?

Can I switch Credit Card Providers once set up?

What are my contactless options for taking payments?

What is the benefits of Contactless?

What extra fees should I expect?

Which kind of support should I expect from my provider?

Do I need to accept online payments?

Accepting online payments gives customers the chance to choose different payment options and it also increases a business’s cash flow. Waiting for days or weeks for physical checks to clear can become tiresome. It can also lead to delayed payments causing standstills within a business. Online payments are quick, easy and money is usually available immediately. Clients get the product or services they require, and merchants receive the money owed to them.

What is a Payment Gateway?

Payment Gateways provide merchants with the ability to process payments and accept credit cards securely. Payment gateways are setup with a simple process and used by the company that provides merchant accounts. These gateways also authorize transactions and monitor specific card usage that can prohibit the use of false or stolen credit card information.

Can I export data to my accounting software?

Many credit card processing companies provide software that integrates with most accounting software. Certain payment processor companies state on their website if the payment data can be exported to popular accounting software such as QuickBooks. Merchants should inquire of the payment processing software’s capability to export data prior to applying for a merchant account.

Is my information secure?

All credit card processing companies should secure customer and payment information. No matter which company the merchant chooses, the payment processor should provide a high level of security for transactions. Security often includes features such as CVV, CVV2, SSL, and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard Certification (PCI DSS). The chosen payment processor should provide their merchants with all the necessary information regarding their security measures.

What is a mobile card reader?

A mobile card reader is a small, physical device that attaches to a smartphone through the headphone jack. This mobile card reader is used in conjunction with a mobile application. After the card is swiped, funds will be deducted from the customer’s credit or debit card, and deposited into the merchant’s bank account.

What are e-checks?

E-checks or Electronic Checks is the method of using the account number and the routing number at the bottom of a real paper check to deduct funds electronically. Funds are transferred from the customer’s account and to the merchant’s bank account via the use of an Automatic Clearing House (ACH). There is no need to take a paper check to the bank. With e-checks, transaction information is conducted online and is deposited to the merchant’s account within days.

What is the average waiting period for monetary deposits?

For most monetary deposits, funds take one to three days to deposit to the merchant’s dedicated bank account. The average deposit is often two days from the time the transaction occurred. Merchants should check with the credit card processor to verify the correct waiting period for monetary deposits.

What is a merchant account?

Merchant accounts are special agreements made with certain banks that provide merchants with the ability to process credit and debit cards. Merchant accounts are essential for online payment processing and mobile payment acceptance. Specific documentation and revenue information is required when applying for a new merchant account.

What is the average period to process my application?

Some applications for a merchant account with a credit card processer are instant, while others take two days or more. Depending on the information that is sent to the underwriter, the actual waiting period to process an application can be shorter or longer. Once all documentation is received, merchants can expect their application to be approved within two business days.

Will my employees receive training for new terminals?

Training availability varies and depends on the payment processor the merchant has selected. Most payment processors will provide free training for merchants and their employees. They may also provide additional support whenever you or your employees have questions regarding your payment processor terminal.

Do I need a Virtual Terminal?

Extremely cost effective and inexpensive, virtual terminals assist the merchant with processing payment transactions such as e-checks, or credit and debit cards. Virtual terminals reside on the merchant’s website and provide easy access for customers to make their payments. The merchant or the payment processor can set up these terminals. Virtual terminals are essential for many online stores and individual merchants selling their online services.

Will my physical terminal equipment be provided for free?

Some payment processors offer their physical card swipers for free. This depends on the payment processor and merchant account status. Some companies that do not provide free equipment can sometimes provide it to their merchants at a low price. Alternatively, merchants can also lease credit card equipment from payment processors.

Whom do I contact if I need assistance?

Most credit card processing companies offer support and easy contact methods to their merchants. Support is provided to merchants 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Options to contact support provided by credit card processing companies include email, phone and live chat. Merchants should review the customer support options for each company prior to applying for a merchant account.

What do I need to know about PCI DSS?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards allows for consistent data security measures around the world. This means that you can manage global transactions securely and your customer data is always safe. All merchants are required to be PCI DSS compliant.

How do I go about being PCI compliant?

No matter how small or large your business is, as soon as you handle cardholder data, all merchants are required to be PCI compliant. The minimum requirement involves you filling out a self-assesment questionnaire every year. If your business stores any cardholder data electronically, or your systems connect to the internet, you will also need to allow for an approved scanning vendor to scan your business once a quarter.

What does an approved scanning vendor do?

An approved scanning vendor will perfrom system scans on any internet-facing systems which a merchant employs. Focused on adherence to Data Security Standards, they ensure that there are no vulnerabilities which could lead to security breaches.

What if I decide not to certify myself as PCI compliant?

We wouldn't recommend it! The self-assesment questionnaire is designed to help you to ensure you are dealing with data safety and sensitively. Ignoring the questionnaire only harms you and your customers in the long run. Remember that if you choose not to certify yourself and your business is compromised, fines per brand can be as heavy as $500,000.

How will my customers know I am PCI compliant?

You will recieve a certificate of compliance when you have completed the certification, and you can also request a logo to display on your website. This proves you are compliant, and can be a confidence boost and a sign of business legitimacy for customers when they are browsing your site

What types of terminals are there?

The three main types of terminals are Dial-up, IP Terminals and Wireless. While Dial-up manages payments directly via a telephone line, IP terminals use the internet to transmit the data to the processor. Wireless is great for merchant services which move around and allow them to transmit data compleely wirelessly.

How do I know if I should buy or lease equipment?

it's really up to you. The pros of leasing equipment is that you are not responsible for repairs if anything goes wrong. However, bear in mind that due to maintainance costs that the company is taking on, your payments might be slightly higher with leasing than purchasing your own equipment.

Will accepting credit cards really boost my sales?

According to a 2014 survey, 80% of Americans carry less than $50 in their pockets! Most customers want the flexibility to pay by plastic, even in person. And that's not to mention the sales you're missing out on if your customers can't buy online.

How long will it take for me to get my payment?

Merchant services offer extremely quick turnaround from payment by your customer to money in your pocket. Once the credit card payment has been authorized, you should have the money in your account within 2-4 business days.

What are my portable options for merchant services?

Many small or even large businesses don't have a physical storefront any more, and merchant services have adapted to the changing trends. You can now manage all your credit card payments from anywhere, simply by using your mobile phone.

What do I need to use my mobile device for credit card payments?

Without any technical knowledge whatsoever, many merchant services offer easy to use apps which you can download from the app store. You can also buy credit card swiping devices which attach via USB.

Will all mobile phones work with all merchant service apps?

No. Take a look at the requirements that your company needs. It might be that you need to be on a particular operating system to download the right app, or your device is not compatible with the service. If taking payments via mobile is very important to you, make sure to do your research before you sign up.

If I use my mobile device, where will my records be kept?

This is another element that your merchant service account will cover. They keep track of all transactions and you can access your account from a laptop or desktop to print your records if necessary.

Will I be able to take checks if I use my mobile device?

Yes! Simply go into the app, and you will be prompted to take a photo of the check itself. The phone acts as a scanner, and the check can be processed by your merchant service immediately. Simple.

Is my customer information secure if I use a movile device?

Completely. smartphone or tablet apps never store any information on the device itself, and the card reader is fully encrypted so that credit and debit card numbers are entirely safeguarded.

What is a POS System?

A Point of Sale system is a computerized network linked to several checkout terminals. It records every sale at the moment it happens so your inventory records are up to date.

What benefits does a POS system offer?

A POS System can help you keep track of your stock and inventory, analyze sales data, maintain a sales history for your business and adjust purchasing and re-order levels.

Can a POS system help with cash flow?

Yes, definitely. Most POS systems come with integrated accounting tools such as general ledger, accounts payable and purchasing, as well as inventory controls. In many ways a POS system can be a the best way to keep track of your businesses cash flow.

How is information entered in a POS system?

Most systems will allow for your inventory data to be entered simply via a barcode scanner. The systems will call up the price of the item, and provide a running total. You should also look for a POS system which allows you to enter your data manually, for when you only have a partial merchandise number, or a vendor to search with.

Which sales tracking options can a POS compute?

This varies greatly, which is a good thing as businesses vary greatly too! Do you want the ability to keep invoices open for a long term service? Do you need to provide installment purchases? Are you happy with only sales, or do you need rentals too? Make sure your system offers the right tools for your business needs.

What is the value of POS reports?

Sales data can help you determine what products are selling best and when they are flying off the shelves. If you have a bricks and mortar store, this can help with store design and promotions, and if you are working online, this can determine what times of day visitors are most likely and use this to your advantage.

Is a POS system an expensive outlay for a business?

Not anymore! While POS systems used to run into the tens of thousands, new tablet based solutions can be as little as $1000 annually, with the only investment being the tablet device itself.

How do I know if I need a website shopping cart?

A virtual terminal can eliminate the need for a shopping cart. For example if you process mail order or telephone transactions you will not need one. If however, you store a large number of products you may find it easier to incorporate a shopping cart.

What does MOTO mean?

MOTO stands for Mail Order/Telephone Order. This kind of business has different needs to one with a bricks and mortar storefront or services for example. One difference is that you will not need a shopping cart.

What are Value Added Services?

Many merchant services may offer VAS, or Value Added Services. These are extra tools and services which can help you save money, improve customer experience or streamline your business.

Which VAS should I look out for?

Some Value Added Services can make a real difference to your business and help streamline your payment processing. Some examples which companies offer are, check processing, business management reports and shipping refunds.

Can merchant services help with getting my business started with ecommerce?

if your customers can't shop online, you are currently missing out on the opportunity to make a lot more money. Yes,some merchant services offer ecommerce solutions, for example integration with website builders such as Shopify, which handles the whole ecommerce experience for you from inventory to shipping methods and tax.

What are cash advances?

A huge benefit of merchant accounts is the ability to take advantage of cash advances. You can choose between recieving a loan without tapping into your recievables account, or you can take money as a cash advance against your future credit card sales.

What are the pros and cons of cash advances?

Obviously, if you choose to use cash advances, your income will be less. However, it will enable you to have cash available to put into your business, and the repayment is automatic so you don't have to worry about running into debt.

What is an EMV terminal?

EMV stands for Europay, Mastercard and Visa, the three companies which created the standard for 'chip and pin'. A EMV payment system is one in which you use the microprocessor chip inside your card to pay with credit or debit cards.

What are the benefits of EMV?

EMV creates a far safer payment system, with less likelihood for fraudulent activity. using your card and it's unique pin number, the need for signing for payments is removed. This can also make it easier to take payments using a mobile device.

Do I have to have an EMV terminal?

No. You don't have to upgrade to an EMV terminal. However, new legislation from Oct 2015 suggests that you may be liable for some types of credit card fraud which originate from your venue if you do not have an EMV terminal.

Can I switch Credit Card Providers once set up?

The short answer is yes. But take some time to research what the new company offers. Will they come and take the old equipment away and set up the new? How long will you be 'offline' for or unable to take payments? Make sure the grass really is greener, as many companies offer good initial rates but in the longer term may not live up to expectations.

What are my contactless options for taking payments?

Contactless seems to be the buzz word of the moment. The two main options currently are credit or debit cards with a chip which is 'read' via an encrypted signal when the card is placed near a machine desgined to read it, and QR codes, usually provided to the vendor via a mobile device, which can be read directly from the screen.

What is the benefits of Contactless?

Mainly, speed and convenience. No pins to enter, nothing to sign, and with mobile devices you often don't even need to remember to take your wallet out with you. For businesses, contactless has a very shallow learning curve and offers enhanced security features such as unique codes for each individual transaction.

What extra fees should I expect?

Most CCPs offer free cancellation and some offer month to month contracts rather than commiting to long term costs. Signing up for a longer term contract may reduce costs however, so take some time to think about what you need.

Which kind of support should I expect from my provider?

Generally speaking, the more options you have for support, the better! Having said that, if you are working in a bricks and mortar store, open from 9-5, you may not need someone physically at the end of the phone at 3am. If you are working online, it is far more important that you have 24/7 access to experts.