Business Tips & Advice

A quick glance at the Merchant Bill of Rights shows you have "the right to know" the many details — and often hidden costs — associated with processing credit and debit card transactions. You'll find information, tips and advice right here.

Consumer Fraud Scams - How To Protect Your Business

Employee training can be very important, especially when it comes to processing Credit Cards. Many business owners have dealt with Chargebacks due to fraudulent purchases. However, these can often be avoided by training all employees in proper procedures at the point of sale.

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A Common Sense Guide To Preventing Chargebacks

Any merchant who has been in business for a while has likely experienced a customer dispute, often known as a Chargeback. Make sure everyone at your establishment who handles credit card transactions is educated in Chargeback and Fraud Prevention. Click the link for more information.

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Manual Imprinter - Important Tool To Have

Do you have a Manual Card Imprinter at your business location? Well if you don't, you may end up a victim of fraud. Did you know that you are required to get an imprint of any Credit Card that is not swiped through your Terminal or Point of Sale system? Make sure that you imprint any card that has a damaged magnetic stripe.

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Be Wary Of Unsolicited Terminal Offers

Ever get faxes or letters from unknown solicitors advising you to upgrade your equipment or renew your lease? Click here for an example of this type of communication and what you can do to make sure you are dealing with the right people.

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Don't Fall Victim To the Phone Paper Scam

If you are a merchant that has ever fallen for the Phone Paper Scam, then you will appreciate this tip. For years there have been scammers that will call on a business and say things like “Hello, we’re calling to check on your terminal. Is everything running OK?” The next thing they tell you is that they have set aside some paper for you at a special price and you should buy now or lose out. Well guess what, some merchants have given them an outright NO and the paper is still shipped to the merchant and billed. These Paper Scammers charge over $100 for a box of 12 rolls and most of the time they ship the wrong paper/ribbon. What to do: Make sure your employees NEVER give out any information about your establishment that has to do with your credit card equipment. Don’t answer any questions if you don’t know the person calling. Your processor should know everything about your terminal and doesn’t need you to fill them in on the model. If you receive a shipment from an unknown supplier DON’T OPEN THE BOX. Call the shipper and tell them it is refused. If you have fallen victim already, contact your local Attorney General's Office with as much information on the scammer as you can find.

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What to do if Fraud Happens

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MasterCard Offers Security Must-do's and Can-do's For Merchants

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Check Cards Are Not As Costly As Standard Credit Cards

Check cards are not supposed to cost as much to process as standard credit cards. Not too long ago a suit brought about by several big-box retailers, including Wal-Mart, yielded a decision that established a lower interchange rate for Visa and MasterCard check cards. Therefore, the cost of processing those check cards - sometimes even without a PIN Pad - is significantly less than for a standard credit card. The bad news is that your processor may not be passing the difference between the lower interchange rate and the standard retail credit card transaction rate back to you, but is keeping the difference for itself. The courts did not mandate that the lower interchange rates established for check cards go back to the merchant, only to the processor. Your best bet is to ask your current processor about this, and find out how it handles the lower interchange costs of check cards. You might be eligible for a monthly rebate on these transaction types. If you are, start looking for a merchant acquirer who - from the start - agrees to pass rebates back to you.

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Why Your Rate is Sometimes Higher Than Quoted

Most initial rate quotes are based on what is called “qualified” transactions. When you sign the agreement, somewhere in the fine print, you agree to pay additional percentages and/or transaction fees and/or surcharges for transactions that are not "qualified." A “non-qualified” fee is a fee generated when a transaction does not qualify at the expected level because it does not meet the card company’s requirements. All merchant acquirers – companies that process credit/debit card transactions – have to pay more for non-qualified transactions. What is key to your business, though, is knowing if those increased fees are being passed on to you at the merchant acquirer’s direct cost or if they are being marked up to provide additional income to the provider.

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How Your Payment Process Works, Visa Explains

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Visa's USA Merchant Catalog Provides Wealth of Educational Tools and Materials

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Know What is Really Being Enhanced With Enhancements

Bill-backs are now being commonly referred to as “enhancements” and “enhanced bill-backs.” Bill-backs are the markups some merchant acquirers or their middlemen place on Visa/MasterCard’s set rates for different kinds of transactions and cards used. Bill-backs are often deceptively billed the month following the actual transaction – or debited directly from the merchant’s account without full disclosure – so they stay hidden from the merchant. Ironically, the only resulting “enhancement” is the merchant acquirer’s or its middlemen’s profit.

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Check the math on your merchant statement.

While some statements may state a rate, it is always best to check the math on your merchant statement to find out what the real bottom line costs are for your business.

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