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First: Understand the accounts you need to use

Before you can actually use hardware for accepting credit card payments, that is, the card reading machine, there are a few things that need to be in place first. When you are trying to figure out how to set your business up to use a retail credit card terminal and accept credit and debit card payments, there are a few terms you’ll see a lot: merchant account, payment gateway, and payment processor.


•             Merchant Account

Your merchant account is the actual bank account that money from your customers’ credit card transactions is deposited into. It is somewhat like a loan, because it is underwritten. The bank will assess the potential risks it takes on by sponsoring an account for a specific merchant. These risks may include customer charge backs, and potential fraudulent activities by the merchant.


•             Payment Processor

The actual transfer of funds from the cardholder’s bank or credit card company to your merchant account is done by the payment processor. The payment processor is the entity that ensures that the funds end up in the right place. This usually takes a couple of days or more, which is too long to draw out a simple retail transaction or dinner payment, hence the need for the payment gateway in the interim.


•             Payment Gateway

A payment gateway is a server that your cash register, credit card terminal, or website will connect to. One the other end, it also connects with the processing network(s) you use. When a credit or debit card is used to make a purchase at your payment terminal, the payment gateway will tell your cash register or website whether or not the charge is approved by the customer’s bank. This way you know whether or not to give the customer the goods or services they are requesting. This usually only takes a few seconds, and happens either at the cash register or when the customer goes through the checkout process online. The payment gateway does not actually transfer the funds. It only checks to see if the funds are available and if the customer’s bank will release the funds to the merchant at the appropriate time. It then submits the charges to the processor for settlement. Even though the customer has walked away with products in hand or services received, you have not actually received their payment yet—only the approval for their payment.


Merchants have historically gotten gateway and processing services from different companies. Now, however, it is becoming more common for a single card servicing company to provide both the gateway or approval service, and the processing or funds transferring service. This is beneficial for merchants, because when there are problems, they don’t have to try to coordinate between two different companies.


Second: Choose your providers


You’ll need to choose providers for each of these accounts. There will most likely be fees associated with each of these services. They can be comprised of a certain percentage of credit card sales plus a flat fee per transaction. Rates vary broadly among different providers. You can ask to see an example of a typical monthly statement from a provider, which may help you to better understand the company’s fees and policies. Some providers require you to enter into a contract with them in order to receive their services. Be aware that should you need to terminate your contract early, termination fees can be extremely costly. Also, be aware that often low front-end transaction rates are compensated for by very high back-end fees.


Keep in mind that the companies with the lowest fees are not necessarily the best. Check track records for accuracy, dependability, speed of service, and customer service. Some merchants have tested potential providers’ customer service, before committing to any provider, by calling them on different days and times of day to see how long they stay on hold, or if their calls are forwarded to a message service.


Processing services sometimes offer free or low cost retail credit card terminal or terminals, or a virtual credit card terminal when you sign a service contract with them. If the POS terminal is from a reputable manufacturer, that is usually a good indication that it will be reliable. Factor the resulting amount of discount from the free or low cost of the best credit card terminal into the total costs and fees to get a more accurate projection of how much it will cost to go with that particular provider.


Third: Choose your business credit card terminal


Once you’ve found the companies you want to use for your accounts, it’s time to choose the credit card terminals you want. If you are operating a brick-and-mortar retail establishment, you’ll most likely want the best retail credit card terminal. With a retail terminal, customers can swipe or insert their cards to be read by the machine. This is quick and easy for both the customer and the merchant, and can cut down on chaos during rush hours and special events. If your establishment has an online retail outlet, you will also need a virtual terminal for customers to enter their card information and submit their payments online. With a retail credit card terminal there are usually several optional features, such as

•             Swipe or insert

•             Keypad for PIN

•             Signature pad

•             Text displays of various character capacities

•             Integration with existing POS/cash register/computer system

There are other credit card terminal options as well, such as mobile processing or a card-not-present business credit card terminal. Pick the best business credit card terminal that meets your business’s needs.


Fourth: Set up your credit card terminal and start taking credit card payments


Once you get your retail credit card terminal, you can set it up following the directions provided by the manufacturer and the gateway service you have contracted with. This will include connecting the card reader to your POS computer or cash register, and may include installing a driver for your card reader on your computer, as well as installing or changing options on your computer’s POS software. If your terminal is not a retail credit card terminal, follow the directions given by the terminal provider. Once everything is connected, do a couple of trial runs to see that things are working properly. Then start accepting credit card payments and enjoy the new experience!

payment gateway

Understanding the various accounts that you need to use.

Understanding The Basics Of Wireless Credit Card Processing


In a world where everything is wireless, it’s no wonder that credit card processing is now wireless as well. With the best credit card processing wireless systems, it is possible for the largest corporations or the smallest companies to do business wherever they go and whenever they want. This can really boost business and allow for a larger target market to be reached. Whether you run a small business or a large corporation, you may want to look into credit card processing wireless machines to see how they could benefit your business. The following information will help you to understand wireless processing a little bit more.


How Wireless Credit Card Processing Works


Wireless credit card processing might seem like a very complicated process that takes a long time to work, but the truth is that it works just as simply and quickly as a cell phone or a wireless internet connection. The steps below will outline the way that it works. Reading through the steps will take longer than it actually takes to run a transaction, which only takes about 8-12 seconds.


•             Using a wireless credit card machine, the merchant will slide the credit or debit card. The amount of the purchase is entered. The wireless terminal will then connect to a radio tower to send the information on.

•             The merchant warehouse processor receives the information.

•             The merchant warehouse processor sends the information to the credit card issuing bank and the bank checks the validity and the availability of funds. It takes the funds out for the seller.

•             The bank sends a confirmation number back to the merchant warehouse processor. If the card didn’t have the right amount of funds, a decline message will be sent instead.

•             The wireless machine receives the information back and the transaction is complete.


The Benefits Of Wireless Processing


Aside from the fact that you can do business wherever you are, there are some other benefits of having the best credit card processing wireless terminals for your business. Some of those benefits include, but are not limited to:


•             You do not need to have a landline. Many businesses operate with cellular phones and wireless internet systems, so why not use wireless credit card processing as well?

•             No matter where you are at, you will have access to the terminal, including the magnetic stripe reader, display screen, etc.

•             It is safe and efficient to process credit and debit cards with a wireless processor.

•             The process is very quick.

•             It eliminates the need to have cash on hand.


Who Benefits From Wireless Credit Card Processing?


Anyone who runs a business and anyone who needs a service or product can benefit from a wireless processor. Any kind of merchant can use a wireless system. Small businesses can establish a greater market and start to really grow their company when they have a more versatile way to accept payments. Restaurants can speed up the payment process by having customers pay at the table, rather than up front or through their waiter. Any merchant who participates in a trade show or other large event can continue business right from their booth, which will increase sales and potentially add to their future clientele. Another way that businesses can benefit is that if they have delivery or sales people who do business at a person’s home, they can receive payment while they are there, and it doesn’t require the customer to have cash on hand.


Is It Safe?


When it comes to anything that is wireless, some people tend to get a little nervous. To some, wireless machines and systems do not sound safe or secure. The best credit card processing wireless machines adhere to very strict guidelines. This not only keeps the merchants safe, but the customer information will be kept safe as well, whether right in the middle of a transaction, or when the transaction is complete. Through the strict guidelines that are followed, businesses and their customers do not have to worry so much about fraud.


Setting Up With Credit Card Processing Companies


Now that you understand more about credit card processing wireless systems, you can set up a wireless merchant account. The steps below will help you to get started.


•             Check out your wireless network. Not every network will carry coverage for credit card processing wireless terminals and the ones that do can vary.

•             Allow yourself some time. Don’t plan to set up your account the day before you begin business. While it doesn’t typically take too long to set up the account (perhaps only one or two days), it is possible that sometimes you need a few weeks to work out the kinks. Be sure that you have given yourself enough time to do that so that you can start using the terminal when you are ready to.

•             Know your fees. When it comes to credit card wireless processing machines and systems, be sure you understand the fees. If you don’t understand something, feel free to take some time to ask. Fees are typically different for a wireless merchant account than for a traditional account, so you should be sure to understand the differences so that you don’t get too surprised when you get your first bill.

•             Be sure the sales person understands your business. Some people only use the wireless system during seasonal times of the year. You don’t want to run into problems if you are inactivating your account and reactivating it later in the year.


By taking the time to truly understand the basics of wireless credit card processing, you can be one step ahead of the competition. The world is turning wireless more and more and with the way technology continually progresses, there are greater things in store. Stay up to date with the latest and get your business a credit card wireless processing machine.  You will notice a boost in business, and an ease at reaching your target market when you upgrade to something that is so quick and so versatile. To learn more about wireless credit card processing, get online and search for more information.

credit card processing companies

Lean about the basics of wireless credit card processing.

Understanding Merchant Accounts For Small Businesses

If you are starting a new business, the number of decisions to make and problems to solve may seem overwhelming.  On the top of the to-do list should be sorting through the many providers of merchant accounts so that you can find the best merchant account for small business owners.  If you are new to these types of services, it is important that you understand what a merchant account for small business is, what services they can provide and why they are essential.


What Is A Merchant Account?


In simplest terms, a merchant account is a bank account that provides businesses with the capability to allow payment by credit or debit card.  When a merchant account for small business is opened, a contract is agreed upon that establishes terms between the business owner, the bank, and possibly other outside vendors.  Some of the other parties involved may include a credit card processing company, an ISO (independent sales organization, or a MSP (merchant service provider).  If an ISO or MSP is involved in the agreement, they must be sponsored by the bank.  This can provide small business owners with a greater degree of confidence in the outside companies that are involved due to the fact that to gain sponsorship the ISO and MSP must prove their financial stability and be registered with Visa and Mastercard.


What Services Can A Merchant Account Provide For A Small Business?


While the basic function of merchant accounts is to allow credit and debit card payments, there are several additional services that they can provide that are equally beneficial to small businesses.  Some of the opportunities that opening a merchant account for small business afford include:


•             Accept credit and debit cards

•             Send online invoices and receive online payments

•             Conduct e-commerce business

•             Provide secure card processing equipment

•             Issue and process gift cards


For many small businesses these opportunities may be vital to the overall success of the business.  In today’s market, very few people carry around large amounts of cash.  In fact, a report by a market research firm, Javelin Strategy and Research, indicated that only approximately one-fourth of all purchases transacted in 2011 were made with cash.  This number is expected to drop as more and more people stop carrying cash and rely solely upon their debit and credit cards to make purchases.


Why Do Small Businesses Need Merchant Accounts?


A top merchant account for small business owners can be the driving force for the success of the business.  Not only are customers relying more upon their credit and debit cards as forms of payment, but many businesses are finding that plastic is preferable to cash.  Some of the benefits of accepting credit and debit cards for payment include checkout lines that move quicker and reduced operation costs for businesses.


Credit card purchases may also be significantly larger than purchases paid for by cash or check.  A study by Price Waterhouse Coopers reported that sales paid for by credit card tended to be three to four times larger than purchases by other forms of payments.  This may be due to the fact that people do not like to carry large amounts of cash and, instead, only make large purchases with their credit card.  This can have serious repercussions for small businesses.  If the business does not accept credit or debit card payments, customers may find somewhere else to take their business, particularly larger orders and sales.  In these situations, opening a merchant account for small business may actually increase sales.


Other types of small businesses, particularly businesses that provide services, may find that selecting the best merchant account for small business may provide even greater benefits.  By accepting credit card payments they may be able to get paid quicker and reduce their collection accounts.  Some service oriented businesses are reporting that the percentage of their accounts that are delinquent range from 24 to 75 percent.  This translates into a great deal of money that is not being received and greater costs for billing and collections.  When a company creates a policy of taking credit card numbers before services are provided and informing customers that their cards will be charged if the account is not paid in full within a set period of time, the number of delinquent accounts drops significantly.  Many customers appreciate the ease and customer service that this policy provides.


Moreover, some customers may be uncomfortable with doing business with businesses that only take cash or check payments.  Accepting credit and debit card payments makes a business feel more legitimate to many customers.  This is particularly valuable for home based business owners.  Customers need to understand that they are dealing with a real and legal business not just an entrepreneur with a hobby or an illegal enterprise.


Furthermore, many small businesses cannot rely upon in-person transactions to drive their sales.  More and more people are choosing to conduct business from the comfort of their own homes.   The internet has exploded as a way for consumers to find products and services without having to drive all over town or deal with crowds.   With a best top merchant account for small business, small businesses can open up their customer base to potential buyers all around the world.  This has the capability to increase cash flow due to the ease and efficiency of secure payment gateways that are created.


How Can Small Businesses Establish A Merchant Account?


There are three basic ways that business owners can find a top merchant account for small business.  They are:


•             Bank

•             Sales people

•             Internet


Most banks will provide merchant accounts to businesses. Many banks, though, have specific criteria for which businesses with which they will open accounts.  They may only allow businesses within a specific geographic area or may limit their accounts to larger businesses.  ISO’s, on the other hand, often send out sales people that recruit businesses to set up merchant accounts.  An increasingly popular option to find the best merchant account for small business is through the internet.  They allow for many small business owners to research and select merchant accounts quickly and easily.


What Can I Do If I Don’t Qualify


Some businesses may have a hard time qualifying for a loan. In addition, they may need more of a short-term loan rather than a large business loan. Merchant cash advance loans provide businesses with an upfront source of cash based on a variety of methods of paying back the loans. These loans generally don’t require assets to be put up as security, but are generally expensive in the long run compared to small business loans.


Obviously, regardless of how a business owner finds a merchant account for small business, it is important that they research closely options and fees.  There are a number of fees that are often associated with these types of accounts including monthly, statement, transaction, and authorization fees.   While some business owners may be hesitant to open a merchant account due to the associated costs, in today’s ever evolving marketplace, the cost not to have one could be even greater.

merchant cash adavance

Learn how merchant accounts can help your business.

Responsible Use Of Credit Cards

Credit cards can be very tempting to the average person.  Because of the way they work, they may seem like free money every month.  It is easy to purchase something on a credit card, thinking you will pay it off later, or next time you get paid.  But unfortunately, for most people, it doesn’t always work that way.  Even with the best of intentions, many people end up paying unwanted fees and interest charges because they don’t have the self-control or willpower to make sure to pay off their purchases when they have the money.  Although credit cards have many benefits, it is essential to have the knowledge of how to responsibly use one in order to avoid unwanted fees and charges.


Three Habits To Develop


Before you open a credit card account, develop a plan for how you are going to handle the account every month.  Consider developing the following habits in order to ensure that you don’t end up paying more than you should when you use a credit card.


First, pay your credit cards off every month.  If you opened your credit card for the rewards points or cash back option, this is an essential part of making sure you get what you wanted out of the card.  If you let a large balance slip on your credit card for even a month or two, you can quickly wipe out any extra money you would make from these benefits offered by many companies.  Paying off your balance in full also ensures that you only spend what you make and can afford to pay.  You can avoid crushing credit card debt by paying them off at the end of every month.  Many of the best merchant account Internet services also offer the ability to make online payments, so the process is fairly simple.


Second, develop techniques that will minimize your spending.  Just because a credit card is more convenient doesn’t mean necessarily that you should spend more money.  Because credit cards often allow you to spend without the emotional worry of running out of money or the need to balance an account, it can be very easy to overspend with a credit card.  Those who use credit cards responsibly will work to minimize the desire to overspend because of a credit card.  Keep up on your daily budget, keep your card in a place that is hard to access, or develop something that works better for your personality to minimize the desire to spend with your credit card.  You can also receive alerts from the best merchant account Internet services to allow to see how you are spending your money and how often.


Third, keep control over your accounts.  Monitor them regularly, and make sure you keep them all straight if you have multiple accounts.  The more you use your credit cards, the better you need to be at managing them.  Many people will open more accounts in order to maximize the rewards and points that are offered when the card is used.  But with more cards comes more responsibility.  Make sure you are able to keep up with managing your accounts regularly if you are looking to open multiple credit card accounts.  The benefits of credit cards can be numerous, but it is essential to stay on top of your spending habits in order to avoid credit card debts.


Benefits Of Credit Cards


Now that you better understand the necessary habits to responsible credit card use, you can consider some of the benefits of using credit cards.  When used responsibly, credit cards can simplify your spending and bill paying processes significantly.


First, credit cards are incredibly convenient.  With credit cards, you don’t have the requirements of counting out cash for each of your purchases.  You don’t have to come prepared with the right amount each time you make a purchase, and you don’t have to worry about not having enough cash.  Credit cards also offer the convenience of making purchases and payments online.  Many companies work to find the best merchant solutions in order to ensure that they are able to process your credit card payments safely and efficiently.


Second, consider the safety that comes from using credit cards.  If your wallet is stolen, and is holding a large amount of cash, you can essentially kiss that money goodbye.  With a credit card, you can act quickly after a robbery to cancel your cards and ensure that your money is protected.  If your credit cards are stolen and money is spent before you have a chance to cancel the cards, most credit card companies have fraud divisions in place to dispute the charges and handle the prosecution if the perpetrators are caught.  If you didn’t spend the money, you shouldn’t have to pay it back, and most credit card companies feel the same way.  You don’t have this benefit when you do all your money transactions with cash.


Third, with credit cards, you have the option to purchase items online and make payments for some services online.  In the current day, most companies will accept payments over the Internet.  This is required in order for them to keep up with the competition, and you can also purchase many things online.  In order to enjoy the benefits of online shopping and paying bills online, you must have a credit card.  Rather than borrowing a credit card every time you need to purchase something, having your own is a huge convenience.  You can avoid long lines in stores with credit cards.  You can avoid the annoyance of going to the store only to find that they are out of something.  And you can avoid the process of having to write checks to pay all of your bills when you use credit cards.


Responsible Credit Card Use


Credit cards are a great tool to make purchasing things more convenient.  And when used responsibly, they can increase your credit score and ensure that you are able to borrow money whenever you need to.  Once you have developed the three habits of successful credit card users, and are aware of how to use credit cards responsibly, you can begin to enjoy all the benefits that credit cards have to offer.


merchant solutions

Benefits of using credit cards, and how to effectively use them.

Setting Up An Effective Point of Sale Display

The point of sale display is one of the most powerful marketing tools used by retailers. Studies show that most consumers make 70% of their shopping decisions only after they have entered the shopping center. Once the consumer has stepped into the retail center, he or she begins to receive marketing messages and will be influenced by the way the store is set up, the lighting of the store and the way that goods are displayed.


Powerful Advertising


Businesses, both large and small, have recognized the effectiveness of point of sale displays. Some industries have fought against bans on point of sales displays because they recognized the power of the display. Almost all manufacturers and retailers find that displays at the point of sale are essential to boosting sales, advertising special promotions, and moving out products that have begun to stockpile.


The Best Place for the POS Display


Of course, the best place for a POS display will be at the checkout lane. Other places include near the entrances and near the front of the aisles, or on the end caps. The main objective in determining where to put the display is to find a high traffic area near where the final sale will be made. This high traffic area is the perfect place for the customer to be presented with impulse-prompting products. When situated close enough to the point of sale, then the sale can be made before the customer has a chance to change their mind about the purchase.


Creating an Effective Display


In order for the retail point of sale displays to be the most effective, there are some important circumstances that must be met.


1-            A Call to Action


Every point of sale display must have some message for the consumer that leads them to action – specifically to make a purchase. This written information should be at the eye level of the targeted consumer. Colors should be bold and inviting. Attracting the customers’ attention and then prompting them to make a quick decision in order to not miss out on a great deal is the goal of the display.


2-            Easy to Read and Understand


This display only has moments to be effective. Therefore, the display, the pictures, and the title of the display must quickly convey a great deal of information to the consumer. Within the first few seconds of viewing, the customer should recognize and understand the product and gain a desire to have the product for themselves.


3-            The Display Needs to Fit Within Brand Guidelines and Advertising


Everything about the pos system display ought to be consistent with other advertising that has been associated with the brand. The display should also fit within standard advertising guidelines. From the printing format used on the display to the scalloping around the edge of the display, all aspects of the display should be carefully thought out so that the customer finds it visually appealing. It should present an enticing option that the consumer will find hard to resist


4-            Retailers Can Set Up the Display Quickly


Whether the display is created by the manufacturer of a product or by the retail staff of the store, the display should be intuitively designed. The person in charge of setting up the display should be able to quickly recognize where the display would be most effective. Wherever the display is intended to stand, it will need to be sturdy and to resist the wear and tear that it will, hopefully, be receiving.


5-            Retail Staff Understand the Offer


Even after the customer has taken an item off of the display, the sale isn’t fully complete until after the transaction has happened and possibly until after the product has been satisfactorily used. Because of this, every member of the retail staff needs to understand all aspects of the offer being presented on the point of sale display. The best point of sale displays will be well understood by both the customer and the entire staff of the store.


6-            The Promotion or Sale Comes With A Staff Incentive to Sell


Even effective displays positioned carefully at the point of sale with attractive headings and clearly understood messages can be improved when the retail staff is prepared to encourage customers to make a purchase. Sometimes a small suggestion is all that it takes to push a customer past the point of browsing and to the action of making the purchase.


7-            The Display Remains Current


A display that has a planned presence in a store from December through the end of January can’t just focus on the holidays of December. If the promotion is going to last from one season to another, then the display, wording, images and styling of the display should continue to be reflective of each progressive season.


8-            The Display Is Cost Effective


If the idea behind the display is to increase sales and boost profits, then it should be clear that the display itself needs to be affordable. The cost of the display should not prohibit the use of several displays in all of the stores or establishments that carry the products of the company. Beyond that, the cost of transporting the display must also be factored in.


9-            The Display Is Easy to Keep Maintained


If the display is effective, then there will be many people taking products off or out and there will be a need for continual restocking. This will present a lot of handling, knocking about, and wear on the display. The easier it is for the retail staff to notice that the display needs to be restocked and to actually replace the products, the better the display will repair. The costs of replacing the entire display can be reduced.


10-          The Display Can Be Recycled


The point of recycling the point of sale display goes beyond environmental responsibility. Displays that retain their effectiveness or which can be used with interchangeable parts for different holidays, seasons, and promotions, will remain cost effective.


An Effective Sales Technique for Any Size Retailer


Whether the point of sale display consists of a single basket placed on the checkout counter or entails an entire shelf filled with many varieties of a product, the use of these displays is an effective tool for retailers. The size and shape of the display can make a difference, but the existence of the display is the most important indication of its effectiveness.

pos system

How to set up an effective pos system.


Getting Ahead in a Tough Situation

All successful businesses at some point in their lifetime have some sort of financial problem that falls on their lap. Whether it is a result of the industry they are in, the locality of the business, or an issue the business couldn’t possibly account for, there are a lot of problems that can put unfair stress on a business. Luckily there are a lot of ways to get out of a tough situation by using third-party resources and some business creativity.


Reviewing Your Finances


The first thing to do if you’re finding yourself in a tough financial situation is to review your entire financial situation. Take a look at all of your incomes, your bills, your debts, and your assets. It is very important to have a good understanding of every aspect of your business in terms of finances and assets before making the next move. Many businesses are in a situation where they have unused assets that they do not have any plans to use. Selling unused and unwanted assets can be a new cash source for the business during times that are tumultuous. Reducing unwanted or unneeded bills by quitting services you don’t need can be a good start as well.


Reviewing Your Pricing Scheme


If the industry as a whole is having a hard time adapting, it may be a clear sign that the current price for products or services needs to be reevaluated. If the product or service is now requiring a large financial investment to produce it is time to consider increasing your charges. While no business wants to upset their customers, it is important to charge a rate that both the clients are willing to pay and you’re able to survive off of. Considering looking for new ways to you can assist your clients in ways you previously hadn’t thought of.


Cheaper Sources of Advertising


Most companies don’t realize there are actually a lot of different ways to advertise their business without having to spend a lot of money. In many cases some of the advertising costs the business can incur actually go towards charitable causes and therefore might even incur a tax deduction as a result. In many smaller communities there are local events and charities that will agree to put the name of a company somewhere within the event as a result of a donation. Consider donating some time and promoting the event at your place of business to help encourage a local interest in not only your business but in local events.


Many businesses benefit from getting involved in events as a cheap way to get their name out to those within the community.


Merchant Cash Advance


In addition to the above, online cash advance loans are another way the businesses can get some help. If the business simply cannot survive without an influx of cash, a merchant cash advance loan can be a temporary solution to the problem. Many businesses that utilize equipment or other specialized tools may find themselves in a situation where disrepair or over use of a particular piece of equipment has left them without the ability to continue serving their customers. A merchant cash advance can be a quick solution to the problem.

online cash advance loans

How to pull your business out of tough situations.

6 Things To Consider Before Signing A Merchant Account Agreement

Processing credit and debit cards may seem like a pretty ordinary thing for most businesses to do, but finding a merchant account provider can be tricky.  In fact, many small business owners think that the most logical place to turn to in order to obtain a merchant account is their bank.  Unfortunately for these small business owners many banks do not offer merchant accounts, and those that offer them don’t allow just anyone to have one.  They can be pretty stringent with their qualifications and it can limit many companies because the bank may view them as being too much of a risk.

Merchant accounts may also be limited for individuals that operate home-based businesses simply because the bank is fearful that such a business wouldn’t have the capital available to cover charges that are being disputed.  There are also those small business owners who may operate under the guise of a phony business front.  All of these items are considered by merchant account companies before they extend an account to a business.

Obtaining a Merchant Account Outside a Banking Environment

The Electronic Transaction Association reported that while banks were historically the place for small businesses to go get a merchant account set up, now more than 85% of credit and debit card transactions are managed though companies that only provide credit card processing services.  Unlike a bank, these companies do not offer mortgages or other loans, nor do they have a banking clientele to work with.  They specialize specifically in credit and debit card transactions.  But before you go ahead and sign a merchant agreement with a credit card processor, consider a few things first.

1.            Fees vary from company to company.  Even the best credit card processing service company charges monthly fees.  After all, they are in business to make money just as you are.  In order to make sure that you are getting the best deal possible, shop around and ask to see a fee schedule.  It’s common for a credit card processing company to charge fees based on usage.  Transactions that remain under the 15,000 per month threshold, for example, will probably cost less than those that exceed it.  You may also want to ask if the fees include a monthly statement.  Many credit card processing companies will charge a fee for a monthly statement to be prepared, even if you opt to have it sent electronically.


2.            Be sure to find out the origins of the credit card processing company.  A lot can be said about companies that have been in business for a long time.  They may have a proven track record that can help you feel confident that they are not a fly by night operation.  Believe it or not there are some credit card companies that are looking for victims to scam.  Because e-commerce has become such a popular way for people to do business, there are some who would take advantage of unsuspecting small business owners that may be so eager to start accepting credit and debit cards that they do not investigate exactly who they are doing business with.  Once they find out it can be too late.


3.            Startup costs.  Credit card processing service providers can give you all the details that would help you have an idea as to how much it might cost to start accepting credit and debit cards.  The items that you would be paying for in order to start up might include:


•             A merchant account application fee

•             POS equipment

•             Peripheral accessories

•             Software

•             Communication equipment


4.            The application and the application fee.  In order to be considered for a merchant account you would have to complete an application.  Some merchant account providers may identify your business as being too risky and they may reject your application.  It doesn’t always happen, but sometimes it does so just be aware that it might take a few attempts in order to get a merchant account arranged.  Many companies that provide merchant accounts also charge application fees, but not all do.  The best credit card processing service providers waive the application fee in order to remain competitive and to gain your patronage.


5.            Support from customer service.  Equipment will eventually wear out and fail to operate correctly.  When this occurs, do you want to have a customer service department that transfers your phone call from one department to another and places you on hold for long periods of time?  It’s unlikely.  Retail shops that operate under a physical storefront location would be in a world of hurt if the credit card machine stopped working.  Quick service restaurants in particular come to mind as having real trouble if they were to have a malfunctioning credit card terminal.  Many of these shops have only one machine and when it stops working the entire business can be shut down.


The best credit card processing service companies would have a support team at your disposal 24/7, so even if you have a long line of hungry customers during a busy lunch rush you would have someone on the other end of the phone to troubleshoot your issue, and help you resolve it quickly.  Some credit card processing service companies even offer a backup system that can be delivered to your store the next day.  It’s commonly referred to as “a spare in the air.”


6.            Requirements to maintain a merchant account.  Some credit card processing service providers have a list of requirements that you would have to abide by in order to keep your account active.  Consider asking about policies that might include the following:


•             Maintaining a specified balance in your merchant account.

•             Any banking restrictions when it comes to payment processing.

•             The minimum number of transactions that have to be processed in a month in order to maintain an account.

•             Account accessibility—find out if you would have the ability to access your account online.

•             The swipe rate—find out what the standard swipe rate is, and what cards the rate applies to.


Credit Card Processing Companies and Your Options


There are many options available when it comes to finding a good credit card processing company.  Be sure to take the time to research before hastily signing a merchant account agreement of any sort.  See what the fees are, how long the company has been in business, what the startup costs might be, how the application process works, how responsive customer service is, and what policies might be in place.  Finding out all the details ahead of time can give you the advantage of making an informed decision and can help you remain confident that you are working with a good partner for your business.

Credit Card Processing

6 things to consider when finding the right merchant account

Four Things To Consider When Choosing A Merchant Account Service

In today’s business environment, it is increasingly difficult to get ahead if your company doesn’t accept credit card payments. If you plan to have an online presence, then accepting cards is necessary in order to sell products through your website. In addition, a growing number of customers no longer carry cash to pay for day to day in person transactions, so being able to accept card payments in your store is also important to helping grow your business.


Before your business can begin to accept card payments, you will need to decide on a merchant account bank to handle your credit card transactions. Merchant account banks partner specifically with businesses to handle their unique banking challenges and process the large amount of transactions they may perform in a given day.


One of the primary merchant account bank services businesses ought to consider is the way the merchant account handles credit card transactions. Whether you decide to set up your merchant account directly with a bank or go through an account mediator such as Paypal, the following are some important things to keep in mind when making your final merchant account selection to make sure your transactions run smoothly and proceed securely.


1 – Fee Disclosure


It is inevitable that there will be a number of fees you have to pay for the use of a merchant account bank. A small transaction fee (generally less than a dollar) will be added by the merchant account bank every time a customer uses a credit card to pay. In addition, you will probably have to pay an additional monthly fee for the maintenance of the account, a monthly “statement fee” which covers the cost of processing, and a onetime application fee when you first sign up for the merchant account. Finally, most merchant accounts set a minimum amount that your business must take in each month in order to keep the account. These minimums are fairly low, but if your business does not meet them during a given month, you must pay the difference out of pocket.


Make sure you take the time to learn about each fee associated with your account so that you will not encounter any surprises down the line. Ask your merchant account questions, and ensure that they give you straight answers on such topics as early account termination, and mid- or non-qualified rates. Additionally, there is some variation between fee amounts from bank to bank. Try comparing several different merchant account issuers to find the one that offers the best deal for your business.


2 – Complete product line


Make sure the merchant services you decide to do business with has the right line of products and services for you. For example, if you are looking for an account that will allow you to accept payments online, be sure that they offer both a virtual terminal and a payment gateway. The virtual terminal is the screen that appears during the online checkout process and allows the customer to input payment data, and the payment gateway is an account service that verifies card information and checks the payment card for authenticity. Both of these are necessary for conducting safe and secure transactions online.


Some other options you may want to consider when choosing a merchant account bank is whether or not they offer a virtual shopping cart which will allow customers to save an item for purchase and then continue shopping, eCheck option which will allow customers to pay by virtual check, and recurring payment options for customers who will be subscribing to a monthly service. You may not need all of these additional services, but having them available through your merchant account will provide important flexibility and convenience.


3 – Good reputation


Try to find a merchant account bank that has a good track record for reliability and customer service. Ideally, the account issuer will already work with other businesses in your industry and understand their needs. You can begin your search by asking for recommendations from other business owners you may know. If that isn’t an option for you, then an online search can be a good jumping off point for your research. There are several sites dedicated to comparing merchant account banks where you can find information about services, fees, reputation, and customer service.


After you have narrowed your search down to a handful of options, search again for product review sites where account holders are talking about their experiences with each service. Weigh the positive comments against the negative carefully before you make your final decision. However, remember that people are not as likely to post their reviews of a service unless they are extremely satisfied or extremely dissatisfied, so take what is said with a grain of salt. Taking the time to thoroughly research a merchant account service before you subscribe can save you a lot of time and trouble down the road.


4 – Customer service


A technical problem with your merchant account can lead to lost businesses and a lot of frustration. While occasional issues may be unavoidable, it is essential to make sure you are dealing with a merchant account bank service that will help your solve any problems you may encounter in a timely, efficient manner.


Look for a merchant account provider that offers 24/7 customer service. You never know when any issues will occur, but when one does it’s unlikely that you will want to wait for the start of the business day to resolve it.  Additionally, be sure that your account offers several options for contacting customer support. A toll free phone number and an email address are the most common ways of contacting merchant account bank solutions customer service, but some services offer an online chat option that will allow you to talk live with a representative in one window while you make any necessary adjustments on your computer in another.




Though choosing a merchant account for your business can seem like a lot of work at first, remember that access to the right merchant account bank solutions can make starting a new business run more smoothly and ease the establishment of an online presence for an existing business. Just remember to keep the unique needs of your company in mind and establish your account with an honest, reputable, customer service oriented bank.

Merchant Services

What to look for in finding the right merchant account provider.

Making A Safe Decision With Open Source Point Of Sale Software

point of sale systems

The pros and cons of using an open source point of sale system software.

If you are looking for a way to save money while advancing your business, you may want to consider getting started with an opensource point of sale software program. Opensource point of sale services are not only generally less expensive, but they can also be very useful for a variety of different businesses.


In order for your business to really benefit from an opensource point of sale service, you will need to learn a few simple facts. Here are some important truths to help you find the best opensource point of sale software for your business:


Benefits And Services Are Often More Important Than Cost


When you start looking at open source software, you will most likely notice that there are some services that are free and others that are not. In general, free options are probably going to sound a lot more appealing, especially when you are short on funds. However, when it comes to downloading software for your business, it is wise to consider the overall benefits before limiting yourself to the lowest cost.


There are several different opensource point of sale systems, so make sure that you take the time to consider each before you make your selection. Some of the services are free to download, but as soon as you start looking for additional features, the price tag starts going up dramatically.


Instead of looking for the lowest cost, try to find an open source software package that will provide you with the quality and specific services that you actually need. Look for things like constancy and a good reputation. In the end, the right software program will pay off no matter what the original cost might have been.


Open Source Software Comes With Risks


It is important to note that even the best opensource point of sale services come with a certain level of risk. Risks are inherent with nearly any software package that you purchase, but they are important to remember when purchasing open source software.


To avoid unnecessary problems, here are a few things to keep in mind:


*Open source software codes are open to the public, so it is important to look for ways to prevent attacks by hackers. If you are not personally prepared to respond to concerns, it might be wise to invest in additional support.


*With open source software, you are generally the one responsible for keeping up with updates and necessary fixes.


*If you do not apply necessary updates, your business might be placed at risk of cyber attacks.


You Can Safely And Confidently Use Open Source Point Of Sale Software


Once you understand the risks involved with open source point of sale software, you can learn how to use it with confidence while protecting your business from potential threats. Simply follow these simple steps:


1 – Invest In Training


It doesn’t matter what company you happen to work for – training should be an essential part of virtually every business. When people get comfortable with the way things are, they often start to slack off on regulations. With regular training, employees can stay alert and informed on important business protocols.


If you are looking into getting open source point of sale software, make sure that you and your employees are properly and regularly trained. Unfortunately, if you slack off on certain safety measures with opensource software, your business might be in trouble. With regular training, you and your employees can use your opensource point of sale system with confidence and security, knowing that everyone is abiding by the rules.


2 – Test Your System On Your Own, Then Ask Someone Else To Test It


When you are involved in any type of programming, testing is absolutely essential. By testing your opensource point of sale software, you can eliminate a lot of potential risks and problems. Test your software thoroughly, and then ask for another person to check your work. For some reason, it is often much easier to spot someone else’s mistakes than to notice your own. Find someone you trust, and let them look for security risks in your system. You will be glad you did when they are able to prevent a cyber attack.


3 – Don’t Allow Your System To Store Customer Information


To prevent private information from leaking out, your opensource point of sale software program should never store personal customer information. The information should be directly transferred to its destination, without being copied or unsafely stored in the system. Cyber criminals might be able to access this information if it is stored in the system.


There may be times when you need to store customer information. If this is necessary for your company, make sure the information is stored in a secure place where it will not be at risk.


4 – Supervise Your Point Of Sale System


One good way to prevent problems from happening is to keep your open source system closely monitored. If employees are given free rein to use your point of sale software whenever they choose, you might be putting your company at risk. It is unfortunate that internal employees can sometimes cause problems, but it has become a reality for many different businesses.


To avoid unnecessary risks, limit POS privileges to a certain number of employees, and make sure that each person who uses the software knows how to use it correctly. For maximum security, use a security camera to monitor any usage.


By following these simple security measures, you can eliminate much of the risk involved with using open source software. With a secure system, you can use your opensource point of sale software with confidence and safety.


The Right Open Source Point Of Sale System Is Ready And Waiting For You


There are many different opensource point of sale services that are ready and waiting for you to give them a try. By learning how to use open source software, and the things you can do to reduce your risks, you are on the way to becoming one of the many who has already started reaping the benefits of the best opensource point of sale software programs. And fortunately, there has never been a better time to start using open source software.

The Role of Merchant Cash Advance for Businesses

The role of a small business owner is one filled with constant challenges. Each day you face the struggles of meeting the needs of your clients, growing your company, and maintaining your flow of revenue. With how the economy has changed over the last few years it has become difficult for new business owners to obtain the financial assistance they require to expand and survive in a highly competitive landscape. With stricter guidelines being put into place by banking institutions many businesses will not qualify for loan assistance.

When a business doesn’t seem to meet the unfair requirements that are now put into place, the next best option lies within a little known service known as a merchant cash advance loan.

What is a Merchant Cash Advance Loan?

Merchant cash advance loans are loans provided by a third party which lends the amount based on the business’s history of credit card sales through their credit card processing company. In addition, rather than charging a monthly fee until the loan is paid off, the merchant cash advance company takes a set amount of future credit card sales. This means that the loan is paid off as the business takes in additional credit card sales.

Uses of a Merchant Cash Advance

There are a number of reasons a business would want to get a merchant cash advance for their business processes. The most common use is to pay for the repairs of a piece of equipment or facility that are essential to the life of the business. Other reasons include paying off debts or business taxes that are immediately due, purchasing inventory for the upcoming quarter, or even expanding their current operations into a new market.

Down Sides to Cash Advance Programs

If you’re considering a merchant cash advance loan it is vitally important to understand the down sides to any cash advance program. While small business loans have fees associated with them, merchant cash advance have much larger fees associated with the transaction. In many cases, the interest on the financial arrangement can range from 20% to 200% of the total amount of money being loaned.

It is important to take a hard look at your business’s financial situation prior to applying for a merchant cash advance loan. Many businesses have a lot of financial options available including selling off old assets that are no longer in use. Merchant cash advance loans can be a high cost long-term sacrifice for a short term gain. These types of loans should be absolutely essential to the survival of the business.

Cash Advance Loans

what merchant cash advance can do for your business.