No idea where to start when it comes to credit card processing? Here’s a rundown on merchant services, followed by a resource center so you can find what kind of payment solution and provider your business needs to thrive.
Here’s the deal: you can’t accept credit cards without a merchant service provider. Merchant service providers (MSPs) are also called merchant account providers or acquiring banks. They are the bridge between your business’s bank account and the bank account of your customers who use credit cards. They securely move the payment funds from one to the other.
MSPs provide credit card processing equipment and software like credit card terminals, point of sale systems, and online payment gateways (more on all those below!). When you accept a credit card through one of these channels, payment software transmits the transaction details to the appropriate payment card industry member, such as Visa or MasterCard, who then contacts the credit card issuing bank to check on the availability of funds or credit limits. If the payment is authorized by the card issuing bank, the approval is relayed back to the payment system and the credit card payment is accepted. The MSP then collects funds and disburses them in batches to the business through a merchant account.
Each time a customer uses a credit card to buy something, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes in the second or two it takes to process the payment. Merchant services is a really competitive space, and you’ll want to garner as much knowledge as possible before you sign up with a merchant account provider. Because merchant services come at a cost, you’ll want to be able to sift through the hundreds of providers who want your business to find the best services at the best value.
This is a good place to start! Below you’ll find resources about the different kinds of electronic payments MSPs can help you out with, more about how they are processed, questions to ask potential MSPs, and general payment tools for businesses of all kinds.
Credit Card Processing Basics
Grow Your Business into a Credit Card Processing Machine: Learn all about the basics of credit card processing, the fees involved, what to look for in prospective MSPs, and payment industry vocabulary.
Protect Your Money Through Smart Credit Card Processing: Everything you need to know about loss prevention and chargebacks to keep your profits soaring.
Is Your Provider on the List? It’s the Visa Global Registry of Service Providers, and it’s “The List” to consult before you sign up for merchant services.
Terminal Processing: A rundown on in store, wireless, online and mobile processing, and how they can serve your business.
High Risk Merchant Accounts: Merchant service providers consider some businesses risky investments. Learn why, and how to find a provider that specializes in high risk merchant accounts.
Processing other Card Payment Types
EBT Card Payments: See the stats for yourself. EBT is huge and can be used for more than just food stamps. Learn how to accept EBT cards.
PIN Debit Transactions: PIN, signature, online and offline debit card payments, explained. Learn how they're processed and how they affect your business.
EMV Chip Cards: They're far safer than swipe cards, and there's a liability shift in full swing. Here are all the reasons why you should implement an EMV chip terminal at your store.
Healthcare Payment Cards: These specialized cards are used to pay healthcare costs. See if you qualify to accept them.
Gift Cards: These gifts never stop giving. Learn how to leverage them to multiply your customer base and increase buyer loyalty.
B2B Credit Card Processing: Reduced interchange, enhanced relationships with other businesses, and more. If you accept corporate, business or purchase cards, read on!
Save When You Accept Purchase Cards: What are purchase cards? And how do I save money accepting them?
eCheck Payments: Say goodbye to paper checks and hello to the ACH—and give your customers the flexibility and convenience they're looking for.
Automated Clearing House (ACH) Payments: What is the Automated Clearing House, anyway?
Accept Payment Online
eCommerce and Your Business: Interested in selling online? Already selling online and want to learn how to do it more efficiently? This article is for you.
Online Payment Gateways: Online shopping is booming. Are you ready to make the leap from brick-and-mortar to omnichannel retailer?
POS Evolution to the Cloud: It’s modern. It’s secure. And it saves money. Shift your resources into the cloud.
Accept Payments over the Phone
Virtual Terminals: Enter customers' card data from anywhere with a secure internet connection, even if you don't have a company website.
MOTO Merchant Accounts: Accept payments easily and securely over the phone, and take your business virtually anywhere.
Fraud Prevention: Fraud is an unfortunate risk of handling credit cards, but you can prevent it. We can help.
Merchant Account Chargebacks: Chargebacks are sometimes inevitable, but learn how to see them coming and put up blockades.
Authorize.net Advanced Fraud Detection Suite: Set up custom filters and thresholds on your payment gateway to detect and prevent fraud.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS): A universal set of rules on how to keep your customers' card data safe from fraud, and annual requirements for all merchants who accept credit cards.
Understanding Payment Tokenization: The gold standard of payment data obfuscation, this security feature plays a large role in your processing system and your customers' privacy.
Merchant Reserves: They’re rainy day funds to cover high risk businesses if they run into trouble. Learn about the three main kinds and how they work.
Electronic invoicing: A simple concept made even simpler through automation.
Online Reporting: An all-in-one look at your processing statements, payment trends, insights and more. Take advantage of this practical (and free!) add-on to your merchant account that paves the way for making smart business decisions.
Recurring Billing: Take the effort out of collecting payments and give your customers consistent, convenient schedules. The setup is simple and maintenance is minimal.
QuickBooks Integration: Automatically sync your departments to reduce administrative tasks, increase accuracy and max out your business efficiency.
FreshBooks Integration: If you use FreshBooks, we can integrate that with your payment gateway, too.
Understanding APIs: What are APIs? And how do they affect my ecommerce business?
We are always here to answer any questions you may have about merchant services, and offer zero-obligation free consultations.