9 Ways To Defend Your Merchant Account

At MyWatchmen, we provide companies with a line of defense against merchant account disruptions.  We do so by applying precise tactics to improve efficiency, stability and profitability.

We understand your payment processing system is the heart of your business and how important it is to have your Merchant Account run efficiently so you can focus on growing your revenues and hitting your quarterly targets.

Here are nine ways to protect your Merchant Account and secure your bottom line.

1. Review Your Merchant Statements and Audit Your Account.

You should request a, “pricing review” from your processor.

A pricing review is an audit performed on your company’s credit card processing rates, it breaks down all the fees associated with your account.

Account statements can be accessible by your online portal or by asking your processor to mail you a copy. Account statements include information regarding rates for all cards, assessment fees, foreign fees, monthly fees and terminal costs.

These statements also paint a picture of how much credit card volume you process a month (important for processors to understand), the number of chargeback’s, your total effective rate on all card types, average ticket, daily deposits, foreign transaction volume, the number of accounts you have and the card types you accept.

It’s important to review your last 3 months of statements, as there may be updates or notices about pricing or structural changes you were not aware of.

2. Make Sure You Have Updated Terminal Technology and/or An Updated Online Portal.

Talk to your processor to ensure you have the most up to date terminals.

There are terminals that have features such as Tap & Pay, Apple Pay, Chip and Pin, color screens, more card type acceptance, etc.

If you do not have terminals, it’s important to ask your processor or gateway provider if you’re utilizing the latest technology available.

There may be technology to safeguard your information or process your online payments at a quicker pace.

3. Identify Great Customer Support

Your processing company should provide above and beyond customer service for your merchant account.

It will save you time, money and reduce or eliminate any potential payment processing down time.

Pay careful attention to the quality of information being provided to you, ensure response times are handled accordingly and in a timely manner.

A great processing company should know your merchant account, understand your needs and how to thoroughly assist you.

If you are not satisfied with the service being provided by your processing company, find another company to watch over your business.

4. Ensure Your Relationship Manager Knows Your Account Intimately.

The Relationship Managers is there to walk you through your merchant account processes. They answer any questions you may have about equipment, software or any other business needs.

It is known relationship managers can change positions within their company frequently. If this happens, you want to ensure the right steps have been put in place when it comes to the transition of your account.

Make sure your new relationship manager understands your needs and makes every effort to understand your business and are monitoring your account and making proactive suggestions.

Do you know who your RM is? If not, contact your current processing company and find out who that is.

If you are not satisfied with your current provider and their service, let them know you would like to have a different manager handling your account or you will find another company.

5. Ensure You Have the Best Rate Structure.

Having the best rates is essential, but having the right pricing model is also important.

Processors use several different pricing models.

  • fixed pricing
  • tiered pricing
  • interchange plus
  • enhanced interchange plus
  • interchange differential

We understand it’s complex, but having transparent pricing is a key component of a good pricing model.

One of the best pricing models is, interchange plus.

Interchange plus shows the costing rates for all cards swiped including assessments.

It provides a clear picture on the processors fees.

Always double check to ensure there are no hidden fees.

It’s important for you to review a detailed summary-pricing sheet with their relationship manager or the current sales rep.

6. Have Security at the Highest Regard and Protect With a Guarded System.

A security breach is the last thing you should be dealing with when you’re running your business.

Ensure you are PCI compliant. This will help protect you against security breaches.

By going through a PCI scan you can uncover security threats.

Tokenization, which is called “Token,” is one way of protecting your business.

Token is a series of random numbers, it’s a system that stores your credit card data in an encrypted format when being processed through the internet.

It’s a system with a series of random number that stores your credit card data in an encrypted format, when being processed through the internet.

Instead of using names of banks, the system uses numbers so you are unable to decrypt the banking details.

This is another way of providing additional protection against security threats such as employee theft towards your business.

Make sure you verify with your processor if Tokenization is something they offer.

7. Funding and Settlement Should Be Quick and Reliable.

Next day funding is imperative.

Check your bank statements to see if you’re receiving funds by the next day.

If you are not, contact your relationship manager and ask for this service to be provided.

Next day funding is the norm in payment processing. If your processor does not offer this service, they are not competitive and you need to look for a different provider.

8. Ensure Your Account Is Effectively Using the Product Line that Benefits Your Business.

There are many products and services many businesses are unaware of that can help.

Talk to your relationship manager and ask if they can walk you through all the products they offer.

One product that can help your merchant account be more efficient is Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC).

It converts foreign transactions to the cardholder’s home currency.

If a currency exchange occurs (ex. USD to CAN), some providers allow you to share on the exchange as a profit center, directly to your merchant account.

Ensure this benefit is a part of your business.

9. Your Contract Should Be Flexible and Your Out Clauses Should Be Clearly Outlined.

A good payment processing company should ensure they have a simple contract with a specified term renewal period and a clear cancellation penalty. Stay away from companies who offer terminal leasing contracts!

A reasonable contract would offer you a short renewal period and a 2-year contract with a 6-month renewal. This would be considered competitive.

If your processor raises your rates, you have 90 days to cancel without penalty. This is part of the, Code of Conduct for the Credit and Debit Card Industry in Canada.

Make sure the contract you sign is simple and understandable. This will provide you a great layer of protection against merchant account disruptions in the future.

Bonus: Have All Card Types Available to Accept.

To prevent your business from transacting, you should accept all credit card types.

These cards include: Visa, MasterCard, AMEX, Discover, Union Pay and Interact.

For example, American Express cardholders prefer to shop where their card is accepted.

Next Steps

Now that you understand 9 ways to defend your merchant account, if you need help applying any of this information call 1.888.256.2845 or email info@mywatchmen.com.

Our goal is to help increase your revenues and ensure your merchant account runs as efficient as possible.

Missing opportunities to increase your bottom line? Not on our watch.

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