largest credit card processors

If you are looking at credit card processing fees and think that they are confusing, that is not the least bit true. The fee model is made pretty straight forward for all kinds of businessmen to understand such models and choose the one that suits them the most. Credit card processing fees have a lot of different components to them. One needs to understand how credit card merchant services charge the different costs and how one can control such costs. When you understand the ground rules you will be able to get the lowest credit card processing fee and save costs for your business.

Online Comparative Sites

There are online reviews and comparison sites that allow customers to compare the different features of the different credit card merchant services. One does not need to check simply the credit card processing fees aspect but also other criteria when deciding which credit card service to adopt. There are websites where it is possible to seek out free quotes from such merchants. One will find credit card processing cost analysis as well as a breakdown of the different fees and costs. It is important that one understands what every fee is and where it comes from. The work of calculating costs of one’s business is easily done by the software provided by the comparison websites.

Base Cost Characteristics

There are many websites where you will not only gain an understanding of the different costs associated with a credit card service but also how the different components are arrived at. It is important to know that a credit card transaction fee is usually a combination of base costs as well as markups that are called merchant discounts. The merchant discounts are akin to the retail price of a credit card processing. The base costs are defined as raw material expenses while the markup is known as production costs.

Characteristics Of Base Costs:

* These account for the largest portion of expense and then comes on the markup costs

* A lot of businesses are fleeced by their credit card merchant services as they charge base costs as well as markup costs which are equal in amount

* The base fees are usually made of interchange costs and assessment costs

* These are usually the same for all processors

* The base cost is usually fixed and one cannot expect a lower rate or a better deal on the base costs

Interchange Costs

Next comes the interchange costs. These account for the largest portion of the processing expense of credit cards. These expenses are paid to the banks that issue the cards. The interchange costs are mandatory and the processor or the card brands do not gain from the interchange fees. With such knowledge one can look up the fees of credit card merchant services like Visa, MasterCard to understand their fee structures better.
Launching a brand new business can be overwhelming and stressful, especially if it is your very first foray into self-employment. One of the most pressing issues is choosing who processes your credit card payments. You will have to gather quite a few things which require you to set up your merchant account. Below is a comprehensive list most banks require to open a merchant account.

1) Checking account – You can use a personal checking account if you are a sole proprietor but incorporated entities need a business account.

2) Business license, reseller license, or articles of incorporation – Merchant Service providers need to make sure you are a legal entity and are allowed to conduct business in your area.

3) Pictures of your offices/store front – With the large amount of fraud and the simplicity of getting incorporated, merchant service providers need to verify you are conducting business in the location specified. Many will actually visit your place of business.

4) Website – Mandatory if you are conducting online business but not necessary if you are a physical store that does not take orders online.

5) Return – Merchant Service providers require a written return policy printed on your receipts.

6) Tax Returns/Financial Statements – Your past 2 years tax returns as well as profit/loss statement are required to receive the very best rates.

After you become qualified for a merchant services account, the next step is to decide your methods of receiving credit card payments.

Point of Sale (POS) Terminal

In our experience helping past clients’ setup their ecommerce websites to compliment their physical store, we found that setting up the physical POS terminal is where they were taken advantage of the most. From our research and experience, BUY the credit card terminal instead of leasing it. Virtually all of the merchant providers partner with a leasing company to lease terminals to customers. The sales people earn more from leasing you’re a terminal than they do opening up an account. A simple swipe terminal might cost $400 but we found the merchant providers charging $50-90 per month for a terminal with a 3-5 year contract. If you do the math you’ll be paying thousands for an item that cost $400. Just do a Google search of credit card terminals and you’ll find they cost around $400 for the models you see at most mom and pop stores. (Btw, the sales person makes approx $500-800 from the sale of a leased terminal from our research. If you don’ t believe us, go on Hotjobs or Monster and pretend to want a job. They’ll explain the commission schedules to you!) We also recommend avoiding free terminals. If you read the terms carefully the “free” terminal costs thousands more over time due to the higher transaction rates.

Additionally, if your customers pay by debit transaction (i.e. entering their pin) on a physical terminal, you have to pay a swipe fee but no transaction rate. We’ve seen some merchant providers charge a percentage rate on debit transactions. Those merchant providers are being dishonest and should be avoided.

Do your homework as all of the established terminal manufacturers build devices that are compatible with all of the major banks. While there are thousands of merchant services providers out there, all of them have to have the backing of a bank such as Wells Fargo, HSBC, or Chase to conduct business with VISA, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express. Established terminal manufactures build devices that are fully compatible each of the banks processing software. If you buy a terminal that is only designed for a particular merchant service provider, you will have to buy another terminal if you ever switch providers!

Payment Gateway

If you plan to conduct business and receive payments online, you’ll have to setup a merchant account with a payment gateway. You also can setup a Google Checkout or PayPal account for online sales, but they limit you to customers who have those accounts. We suggest a combination of both to maximize your sales and revenue.

A payment gateway is the online equivalent of a physical Point of Sale Terminal. It provides secure transactions and protection of the customer’s credit card data. In most cases the payment gateway is a separate company than the merchant services provider. The largest payment gateway is Authorize.net, and you’ll find most merchant service providers out there will use authorize.net as their payment gateway. Large banks such as Chase have their own payment gateway so you should investigate which works out best for you.

Customers should be aware that online transactions have a higher transaction rate due to the higher risk factor. There really isn’t any way to get around these higher rates. Another fee you should be aware of is the monthly minimum for a payment gateway, which is often an extra $30 per month.

Negotiating Fees and Rates

Depending on your sales volume and banking relationships, you can haggle for a lower rate. What our clients should know is that the only rates that are set in stone are the one’s charged by VISA, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express. You’ll never receive those rates exactly because of the costs incurred by the banks and merchant providers and the fact that every business needs to make money, but you can negotiate rates and fees depending on your sales volume.

Conclusion

We hope this article has helped you on your path to choosing the right merchant services. A great resource you should go to is the Better Business Bureau when choosing a merchant services provider.

Before we let you go, I wanted to let our client know that Twenty Tigers does not take a percentage of any of your sales for ecommerce sites like some of our competitors, nor do we get a fee or commission from any merchant service or payment gateway. We can set up your site with PayPal, Google Checkout, and ANY merchant service or payment gateway you choose.

A credit card processing terminal is needed to handle business transactions. They are now in demand since in the trade business and commerce, it is important that you can provide fast and reliable service to your customer. It also helps a merchant in increasing its sales.

A suitable credit card processing terminal is an indispensable piece of equipment for a small business which involves credit cards transactions. However, you should not make a choice blindly when it comes to purchasing or leasing a card terminal. The models are different, with different sets of features and applications, which are meant to meet the requirements of different types of business. What is quite acceptable for a static business can be absolutely unsuitable for the “on the go” kind of sales. And the terminals which are highly beneficial for mobile business can be pretty useless for online payment operations. That is why you should learn the subject before making up your mind: a proper credit card processing terminal can turn out to be the best investment you have ever had in the course of running your business.

The important points you have to pay attention to include the following ones:

– It’s necessary to choose the type of credit card processing which is the most suitable for your needs. Usually they distinguish three main types of transaction conducting: online processing, point of sale processing and mobile one.

– Consider the options and rates a merchant account processing company offers you. Make sure it will be possible to change your merchant account in case you are dissatisfied with provided services.

– Explore the possibilities of a swiping option in a credit card processing terminal you are going to choose. Is it possible to only for a salesman to swipe the cards, or the customers can do that without handing a card to somebody else? Remember that user friendly devices are more popular among the clients.

– Pay attention to the encryption software. Is it possible to update it? This kind of software has to be updated regularly in order to protect your customers’ credit card information.

– Find out about additional features of your terminal. Some of them will help you to boost the sales in a way you never considered before. One of such features is a “store and forward” option in a mobile credit card processing terminal.

You can get a terminal as a main processing device for your company, or just for a back up when unpredictable circumstances prevent your main credit card machine from functioning. It is always nice to have wireless processing machine, as you will not be dependent on electricity and length of a cord. Moreover, with a device like this there is no need to rent an additional phone line and get into unnecessary expenses. All of us try to be as wireless as possible nowadays, and it is not without a reason. Mobility is a precious option not only regarding personal conveniences, but for business opportunities as well. With a mobile credit card processing terminal it is possible to arrange the sales in the most remote places if you feel it is potentially profitable for your company.

The opportunities are countless with a cost effective and time saving kind of cards processing device, and it makes the payment transactions so easy and safe as they have never been before.

Adulting can be tough. There’s a whole world of things that you’d taken for granted for your entire life, that you’re now responsible for handling on your own. One of these things is credit cards, and making payments on them.

Now that you’re an adult, you’re able to get a credit card, which means you can make purchases throughout the month and then pay the card off at the end of the month rather than paying directly out of your bank account every time you make a purchase. However, it is important to keep track of your purchases in order to make sure that you are able to make the payment on your credit card at the end of the month, so that your card will still be accepted and you are able to be accepted for future credit cards as well.

So, how to manage keeping track of the purchases being made on your credit card so that your spending stays under control?

One way to do this is by limiting your credit card use to specific instances and situations.

For example, you can reserve your credit card use for things like groceries only, or only to pay your utilities and rent, or just for gas and car maintenance. Limiting your spending on your credit card to specific situations helps to remind you how much you have spent, and it also ensures that you spend a similar amount every single month. This is an easy way to keep track of your spending and to also make sure that you don’t use your credit card and end up having to make a payment that you can’t actually afford at the end of the month.

A second way to manage your credit card use is by applying for and being accepted to  credit cards and rewards programs that are specific to certain stores or companies. These in-house credit cards, like the Forever 21 credit card, the American Eagle card, the Target card, or the famous Angel Card, can be used only at their designated locations or at sister stores that are under the same main company. When used sparingly, these are a great way to build up your credit and spend carefully, as you can only use the credit card at one place.

Getting the hang of things like utilities, bills, credit cards, and more can be really difficult, but it is important to learn how to manage credit cards and your payments on them so that you can build your credit for the future, which will help you be accepted for things like loans, signing leases, and other credit cards. Make sure that you stay on top of your payments every single month, even at the beginning of adulthood, because your credit stays with you and contributes to the way that you can build up your future as you continue on through adulthood.

pos credit card processing

When you start to work in retail, there can be a lot of new terms and abbreviations that are unfamiliar to you. Learning how to run the cash register and navigate the sales floor can be tough on their own, but they are even tougher when you don’t know what your manager is talking about. Let’s break down some common retail terms and phrases so that starting your new job can be a little bit easier.

One of the first terms you may hear is SPAH or SPH, which means “sales per hour” or “sales per average hour”. This can apply to your sales as an individual employee, or it can apply to the store’s overall performance for the hour. Stores track this in order to determine what their busiest times of day are, so they know when they need more employees, and they also keep track of the SPAH so they can strive to perform better than previous hours, or the same time the previous year. Many stores have a set expectation or goal that they expect each employee to hit dependent upon their position on the sales floor for their shift.

Another key term that you may hear while working is POS, or “point of sale”. This is more commonly heard when working on the cash register, as the register is the point where the sale is made (hence the phrase POS). This means that transactions are done at this point, and it is where credit cards are sent through the transaction process, which involves many parties, various steps, yet takes place in only a matter of seconds.

Learning how to work the POS system is important, because if an error is made while processing a customer’s credit card, they can dispute the charge with the bank and file a complaint against your store. The customer’s bank will charge a fee for retrieving the transaction data from the store, and if an error is found, a chargeback fee will also be made in addition to the money that needs to be refunded directly to the customer. So, in other words, a mistake can cost a lot of money!

Finally the POS is important to understand because you may be asked to run a mobile POS or an on-the-go POS if the cash register line is too busy. This is done through processing customers’ credit cards by using a mobile phone or tablet that an associate carries on the sales floor during especially busy hours. It can be run through services such as Square, which provides a merchant or business with a small card reader to attach to the portable device, or through another similar service.

Things run fast in the retail world, and it can be difficult to keep up, especially when you’re new. But now that you’re caught up on the common abbreviations that you may encounter in your new job on the sales floor, hopefully the transition gets just a little bit easier and you can do your best at the POS.

One helpful tool in making small local businesses run more smoothly is a software tool called Quickbooks. So, what exactly is Quickbooks, what are its features, and what does it do?

 

Quicbkooks is an all-in-one tool that allows for businesses to manage their transactions being processed, their expenses, payroll, and to track their receipts. It can be connected to other services such as Google PayPal, Square, and Shopfiy, and it can also be used from a mobile device or a tablet.

 

A business can connect Quickbooks to their credit cards and bank accounts in order to categorize, see, and organize their expenses. It can also process and track customer’s credit card purchases in order to allow the business to track and manage its cash flow. Additionally, since Quickbooks is connected to the business’ bank accounts and credit cards, it is capable of processing monthly payments on behalf of the business automatically, so that things like website fees or utilities for the storefront are taken care of.

 

Quickbooks also allows businesses to create invoices to send to customers. These invoices can be customized and catered to the individual business, in order to look more professional and in line with the brand image. When these emails are sent out with invoices, Quickbooks also can add a “Pay Now” button to make processing credit card transactions easier for the customer.

 

Another feature of the software is assisting the business with preparing its taxes. A one-click report can be generated, which shows things like profits, expenses, and net profit, as well as other important financial information. Payments being made to contractors are automatically tracked for ease in preparation of 1099 forms, there is paperless receipt tracking that can be utilized, and your Quickbooks can also be linked to the business’ accountant so that he or she can access records at any time in order to prepare tax forms more efficiently.

 

Quickbooks also aids in inventory and payroll. It is able to manage and track shipment and stock information for inventory, as well as how much each item in the inventory has cost the business, in order to set prices and determine the best way to maximize profit. A business can also file payroll taxes through the software, and it can also issue automatic payments to the employees of the business. This is done by simply entering the hours worked by each employee, and selecting whether or not the payment will be issued by direct deposit or by check.

 

Finally, the software is convenient and mobile, allowing business owners to manage these features from their smartphones or tablets. A business owner is able to access customer information, send invoices, and utilize the paperless receipt service from their smartphone by downloading the Quickbooks app, which is synchronized to the account which is set up on the software.

 

Overall, this software is an excellent tool to be utilized by small businesses everywhere, and can save business owners plenty of time and hassle by bringing all of its needs into one convenient software.

Apple is making credit card transactions even easier for its iPhone users through two features that can be found on the iPhone. These two features are Apple Pay, and Wallet, and they are free for iPhone users.

 

Apple Pay is used by a customer inputting their credit card, debit card, or rewards card into their iPhone, and then using their iPhone to pay at participating stores or in participating apps rather than using their physical credit card. The iPhone is used for processing purchases by the machine reader. The service is used by utilizing Touch ID, meaning that the credit card owner’s fingerprint is needed in order for a purchase to be processed. This gives an increased degree of security to the user. Apple also keeps credit card information secure by using a device-specific number and transaction code rather than the credit card number, and it never shares credit card information with merchants.

 

Most major banks and credit cards participate in Apple Pay, and a growing number of stores and apps are beginning to, as well. Some stores that participate in Apple Pay and allow customers to process their credit card transactions from their iPhone include American Eagle Outfitters, BestBuy, Coca-Cola vending machines, JetBlue, Kohl’s, Levi’s, Nike, Panera, Petco, Sephora, and Subway. Some stores being added in the near future are Forever 21, Free Poeple, Regal Cinemas, T-Mobile, Ulta, and Urban Outfitters.

 

The second feature available for iPhone users is Apple Wallet, which was formerly known as Passbook. Wallet serves alongside Apple Pay by storing Apple Pay information that is already on the iPhone in addition to other things, such as passes, tickets, coupons, boarding passes, and more.

 

Tickets, airline, bus, or train boarding passes, and coupons can be downloaded to Wallet, making an iPhone the only thing a user needs to carry. Wallet is also capable of processing and managing rewards and loyalty cards and programs. It can be linked up to various loyalty programs, allowing the iPhone user to track and redeem their rewards with ease, never having to worry about being out at a restaurant or a theatre without their card on them again.

 

While iPhone users don’t currently have the ability to send payments to one another through an Apple service, Apple is in the works on changing that. They plan to add a person-to-person payment feature through Apple Pay in the fall of 2017, which will let users pay other iPhone holders with the click of a button. This feature will be useful for roommates splitting the bill on different things, such as rent, groceries, utilities, or social events. While they wait for Apple Pay, they can instead process these person-to-person transactions by installing other apps, such as Venmo or Cash, which let the users input their credit card information, label and process their transactions, and pay one another with the easy click of a button on their iPhone.

Android cell phone users are able to use their cell phones for processing and performing credit card transactions through two different services offered by Google, which makes for a convenient and quick way of making payments.

 

The first service that can be utilized by Android cell phone users is Android Pay, which is similar to Apple Pay. This allows users to tap and pay whenever they see the contactless symbol on a credit card reader or terminal, as well as letting the user check out in a quick and secure manner in various apps. The user can use Android Pay by first adding a credit card from a participating banks, such as Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi, US Bank, and Wells Fargo.

 

Android Pay lets customers pay with their credit cards in a growing number of apps and stores that accept this method of processing purchases. Some examples of apps and stores which accept Android Pay are AirBnB, Best Buy, Bloomingdales, Chick-fil-A, Doordash, Dunkin Donuts, Etsy, Jamba Juice, KFC, Lyft, Macy’s, McDonalds, Panera, Postmates, Subaway, Trader Joe’s, Ticketmaster, Uber, and Walgreens.

 

Android Pay is able to manage processing purchases from multiple credit cards, on a user’s cell phone and it keeps a customer’s information safe and secure by generating a virtual account number rather than providing the credit card number when a purchase is being made.

 

Another monetary feature available on cell phones is Google Wallet. This is a money transferring service which can be used on computers, cell phones, or tablets. It is fast and free, and you can send or receive money through a Google email address or a linked phone number, so the other party does not need to have the app installed. Money can be automatically transferred to a user’s bank account, unlike many other services which require the user to manually cash out.

 

Google Wallet is also a great way of managing shared expenses, like between college roommates or housemates. If one person is responsible for paying the rent, they can use Google Wallet to collect their housemates’ share of the rent each month. It can also be used to split bills for things such as groceries, or dining out together. It is a great tool for college students, as there are no fees associated with the service and it is completely free to use.

 

Google has provided Android cell phone users with various tools and services in order to make payments to businesses or to friends and family as easy as pulling out their cell phone and clicking a button. The cell phone is able to contain information for processing transactions from the user’s credit cards, meaning that forgetting a wallet at home isn’t an issue any more. Both Google Wallet and Android Pay are free to install and to utilize, and Google Wallet is not limited to just Android users, it can be installed on other cell phones or used from a computer as well.

EMV…….Worldwide Interoperability
In the payments industry, “EMV” has so many times been used to refer to the original EMV Contact & EMV Contactless Specifications. Over the years, EMV has emerged from a single, chip-based contact specification to include EMV Contactless, EMV Common Payment Application (CPA), EMV Card Personalization, and EMV Tokenization. There are also EMV documents and materials regarding mobile payments.
Taking a look at the trend, “EMV” has been so dedicated to worldwide interoperability and acceptance of secure payment transactions. When used in this form, EMV refers to payment chip cards that contain a coded microprocessor, which is more like a small computer that makes available strong security features and other abilities which are not possible with traditional magnetic stripe cards.
There is a metallic square in front of an EMV contact card which is referred to as the card’s contact plate. A microprocessor chip is installed in a small cavity directly behind the contact plate, which is covered by a thin resin capsule. When inserted into a card acceptance device, like a terminal, the contact plate makes it possible for the chip to connect to a reader. This connection makes the chip to get power from and exchange data with the terminal.
Contactless EMV works by holding a contactless chip-enabled payment device within the reach of a contactless-capable reader. The reader triggers the chip installed in the card, thereby enabling the exchange of data through a radio frequency without the payment device ever leaving the customer’s possession. Research has shown that a contactless transaction can be approximately 53 percent faster than a traditional magnetic stripe credit card transaction and 63 percent faster than using cash.
EMV Contact and EMV Contactless Payment Product have lots of advantages. The use of some features including data authentication, PIN entry, and cryptographic technology, provides additional security against some types of fraud (e.g. counterfeit and lost/stolen).A transaction-unique digital seal or signature in the chip proves its genuineness in an offline environment and prevents criminals from using fraudulent payment cards. Can also be used to secure online payment transactions and protect cardholders, merchants, and issuers against fraud through a transaction-unique online cryptogram. It enables enhanced cardholder verification methods and saves more information than magnetic stripe cards.

EMV Cards…… Reducing risk and complexity
The biggest economy in the world has made a shift to EMV chip cards. The convenience and security offered by EMV when compared to the magnetic stripe cards is massive. Reducing risk, complexity, cost and time-to-market is nothing to fear, EMV cards got you covered.EMV chip cards is been used by consumers to pay nationwide , because the Chip payments reduce counterfeit card fraud, enable global interoperability, and prepare for NFC mobile contactless payments.
In every chip transaction, there is always an online authentication, as part of this process the chip and card issuer communicate with each other to create a type of puzzle that consists of a short piece of encrypted text called cryptograms or dynamically generated codes that are unique to the specific card and transaction.
The cryptograms are the important components of the chip transaction that validate the genuineness of the chip and the issuer in the transaction to make sure it is not counterfeit. Also the creation of dynamic cryptograms provide increased levels of security, using this process means that even if fraudsters were somehow able to steal account data from chip transactions, they would not be able to use it to create a counterfeit card and have fraudulent transactions authorized in a chip or magnetic stripe environment.
The use of chip cards has proven to be extremely successful in producing a desired or intended result at reducing in-person card fraud in countries that have deployed chip technology. The EMV chip card includes an unthreatened microprocessor chip that can keep information securely and perform cryptographic processing during a payment transaction. Chip cards carry security credentials that are converted into a coded form by the card issuer at personalization. These credentials, or keys, are stored securely in the EMV card’s chip and are impenetrable by unauthorized parties. These credentials however help to prevent card skimming and cloning, which is one of the common ways magnetic stripe cards are compromised and used for fraudulent activity.
Also in an EMV chip transaction, the card is authenticated as being genuine, the cardholder is verified, and the transaction includes dynamic data and is authorized online or offline. Each of these transaction security features helps in preventing fraudulent transactions, even if fraudsters are able to steal account data from chip transactions, this data cannot be used to create a fraudulent transaction in an EMV chip or magnetic stripe environment, since every EMV transaction carries dynamic data.

It has been 17 months since retailers were asked to upgrade their point of sales systems to accept EMV enabled credit cards. The benefits of the EMV chip card are numerous, making information harder to steal, lessening the ability for fraudulent sales and hacking. In fact, right now, only 58% of eligible business have made the switch to the new terminals.
Why?
Well some merchants purchased payment terminals two or three years ago and are not willing to invest in new terminals. Yes if you lease them they will cost a bit more over the course of a lease, but we are talking about $400 dollars for a basic terminal that can run most businesses. The Mom and Pop shops have invested in a perfectly good terminal that they will probably get another 10 years out of, and in their mind, why should I spend that kind of money when the odds of me getting a fraudulent card are very slim.
And hardware is not the only stopping block. There are many chip enabled terminals that are in place across the country that do not take the chip cards. Why? Because they do not have the programming and software installed to be able to accept the new chip cards. Taking the chip card is a 2 part process for the merchant. First, the merchant must load the newly developed software from a third party to allow the terminal to accept EMV chips. The second process is the certification process that each of the card networks need the merchant to go through. This is coordinated by the merchants acquiring bank. This que to be certified has been very long with weeks waits for merchants.
The third issue that merchants are dealing with the new EMV terminals is the time of transaction. You have probably noticed, these terminals can be a little cumbersome, and clumsy. People pulling their cards out too soon is a common problem. Time of transaction is another issue. EMV transactions are typically 3-5 times longer than a traditional mag stripe card. In a high volume business, this translates to slower sales and lost volume.
But not being compliant has its risks. The biggest risk is being responsible for fraudulent transactions. If your business processes a mag stripe card that is stolen or counterfeit, your business can and will be responsible for the amount stolen, not the banks as it has been in the past. For some merchants, this can amount to 1000’s of dollars for one transaction. Is that worth the wait?

Emv chips and processing is here to stay. It is both the norm and the future of credit card processing. If you are not part of the EMV world, do you really want to take that risk? It is time to take the steps to become compliant.