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Credit Card Processing Terminal
Advance your Business With The Right Credit Card Processing Terminal
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By: Arlette Measures
Things to Consider when Choosing a Merchant Account Provider
When selecting a vendor, you will want to consider the fees and percentages assessed by each provider. Most merchant account vendors charge a monthly or annual fee in addition to a percentage of every transaction. It is also important to find a provider with a good reputation. Be sure your vendor is a member of the Better Business Bureau.

Here are some additional questions to ask when making your final decision:

• Should you use a bank or an independent provider? Independent merchant account providers have a couple of advantages over banks that offer credit card processing. A bank will require you to open an account with them, whereas an ISO/MSP will allow you to use the bank of your choice. Also, most banks have limited card processing options, and may not be up to date on the latest developments in mobile processing and other card processing technologies.

• What does the vendor charge for credit card processing equipment or an electronic gateway? You can either purchase or lease your equipment. If you have an online business and simply need an electronic gateway to process payments, you will be charged either a one-time fee or a monthly payment.

• Is there a set-up or application fee? If so, is it refundable if your application is not approved? These fees can be up to $500, so this is something you should find out before you apply.

• What is the monthly service charge? This will typically be between $15 and $25 per month, in addition to your monthly equipment or gateway fee.

• How much are the vendor's per-transaction fees and transaction percentage fees? Most providers will charge a few cents (usually about .25 to .35) per transaction, and a percentage of every transaction. The credit card companies set this amount, but some merchant account providers will add extra percentage points.

• Are there any hidden fees to be aware of? Some vendors charge extra for such services as tech support or expedited card processing, Read the agreement carefully and look for any details that could affect your business, such as the company’s chargeback policies and fees.

• Will your customers be charged transaction fee for using the credit card terminal?

• Find a provider that does not charge a reserve fee. Some vendors charge this additional fee to companies they consider high risk, to offset the possibility of chargebacks.

• How long will payments be held by the vendor? Some providers release funds after two days; others hold payments for up to two weeks.

• Is there a limit on your monthly volume? This could cause problems if you suddenly experience a surge in sales. If this is a possibility for your business, you would do best to find a vendor that does not impose such limits.

• Conversely, is there a set minimum amount of transactions, and what is the penalty for falling below the minimum?

• Does the vendor provide a monthly or yearly statement or transaction record? Some providers charge extra for this service, but it can be an invaluable aid to your record keeping.

• Does the company require a long-term contract? Many providers require only a short-term contract or no contract at all. This would be a good choice when starting out, so you have some flexibility if you find that your provider is not a good match for your business.

• How is the vendor's reputation? It will take some research to find out how each company handles disputes, for example, and whether they provide good customer service and support. If you utilize the free services of a company that matches businesses with vendors, this will save you time and simplify your decision-making process.

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