Swiped vs. Keyed
There are many things to consider when choosing the right merchant account for your business. The first is whether you should be set up as a swiped account or a keyed account. A swiped account is generally for a business that has more than 70% card-present and swiped transactions. if you’re processing cards by manually entering the card numbers into a terminal or gateway, then you need to be set up as a card not present or keyed account. An account that was set up as swiped and is instead used mostly as a keyed account will incur costly downgrade fees, can result in funds being held and runs the risk of being canceled altogether. The underwriting process is different for each type of account. Keyed accounts are considered to be a higher risk so undergo much heavier scrutiny. If your provider isn’t knowledgeable you may find yourself unable to process credit cards.
If you own a business that is mobile you have several options that will allow you to swipe credit cards and qualify for a lower discount rate, and in some cases accept pin-based debit saving you even more money. You can choose to purchase or lease a mobile terminal, and this will allow you to accept not only credit cards, but pin debit as well. These terminals use the latest in technology and will work in any area that has a cellular phone reception. If you have a smart phone you can turn it into a mobile credit card terminal as well. By downloading a payment application to your iPhone, Android, BlackBerry or Widows based phone and adding a card reader and receipt printer you can offer the convenience of accepting credit cards to your customers without paying to much. However you should consider how busy your phone is with regular phone calls. If you make and receive many calls or do many credit card transactions you should consider a separate machine for your credit card processing.
If you run an e-commerce business you will need to be set up for a card not present account that is specific to Internet transactions. You will also require a payment gateway and shopping cart. This will allow your customers to pay for their transactions in a secure environment. Once you have the gateway and cart in place it’s as simple as adding the HTML code to your page. This will generate the payment buttons that allow your customers to click and pay. You also have the option of adding ACH payment processing as well, giving your customers even more option to pay your business. There are many Internet payment gateways to choose from. A good merchant service provider should be able to offer you the right gateway based on several factors including which one is compatible with the shopping cart that you use and whether or not you require recurring billing or the ability to upload to QuickBooks.
Level 2 or Level 3 Processing
If your company does mostly business to business transactions you could qualify for Level 2 or Level 3 processing. By submitting the proper data and having the proper equipment you can qualify for a lower processing rate. You must be using a payment application that is certified to collect the data and the right processor will train you properly on what information needs to be collected.