FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1 What is a merchant account, and do I need one?
A merchant account is set up with a financial institution to allow you to accept credit card payments directly from your clients. Unlike with most third-party services, money collected through your merchant account is deposited directly into your checking account within 2 to 3 business days for domestic accounts, and weekly or bi-weekly for offshore account. Your business will need a merchant account if you want to take credit card payments from your clients, and have the funds deposited directly into your business checking account.
2 Do you offer merchant accounts to businesses outside the United States?
Yes, we offer both domestic and offshore merchant accounts.
3 How do I accept credit cards online?
You have two options for online processing. One option is to utilize an online payment page through your website where your customer’s process transactions through a secure connection to a server to obtain authorization for the charge in real-time. This method normally utilizes a shopping cart but doesn’t require one. The main reason to want to utilize a shopping cart is if your business offers multiple products or services. The other utilizes a virtual terminal where the credit card information for each sale is taken over the phone or in some manual effort and keyed into the system from a secure Internet connection. Most gateways offer both website and virtual terminal processing options.
4 Do I Need a Shopping Cart for Online Sales?
Most online merchants utilize shopping cart software to make the sales process easier for customers. The main reason to want to utilize a shopping cart is if your business offers multiple products or services. You can choose from many different shopping cart programs. We recommend using a cart that meets your particular needs and is very flexible so you can customize it as your business develops.
5 I don’t have a website. What if I want to process sales offline?
You can use a virtual terminal supplied by most gateways to key-in credit card sales. This is the normal process for most mail order and/or phone order sales. Another option is to use a batch process where you will upload transactions to the gateway. This option is not in real-time as is mostly used for a large number of recurring transactions (For example, monthly membership fees at a gym or for a membership based website).
6 How long does it take to get set up?
It depends on whether you are applying for a domestic or offshore account. For Domestic accounts, it generally takes 3 – 5 days to perform the underwriting and obtain an approval. With that being said, we have received approvals within 2 hours and have had other approvals that have taken longer than 5 days because of complications in the merchant’s situation. If the merchant is applying for an offshore account (International) the process normally takes 2-3 weeks. Again, we have had merchants where the process has only taken 5 days and others that the process went longer than 3 weeks. Once we obtain the approval we will create the eCommerce gateway account and you will be ready to process transactions regardless of which type of account you are applying.
7 What if I don’t get approved?
We have a 99% approval rate, so it’s very unlikely that you wouldn’t get approved. We will go over all the details of your business before you apply, so we will do our best to be sure that you will get approved. If, for some reason, you are declined domestically we can submit your application for approval offshore. This is an unusual event but it is an option nevertheless.
8 Are there any businesses that you do not allow to apply?
Yes. A good rule of thumb is we will decline any merchant participating in any illegal activity, Online Gaming, Online Pharmacies, and any business that has been known to be fraudulent in the past.
9: How long does it take to receive our funds once an order is processed?
This depends on whether your account is a domestic or offshore account. Domestic accounts will have funds deposited directly into your checking account, within 2-4 days, depending on several factors including risk related delays, whether you batched your transactions out for a given day (not applicable for auto-batch merchants), and other possible scenarios. Offshore accounts will have funds wired into your account weekly unless otherwise agreed to during the underwriting process.
10: Why are there different rates for different accounts?
The rates for merchant accounts vary based on the amount of risk involved in the transaction. The accounts with the lowest rates will always be the ones where the customer is present and the card is swiped and a receipt signed in a face to face transaction. The credit card companies view these types of transactions to be fairly low in risk for fraud, whereas internet transactions and transactions where orders are taken by phone or mail are generally considered higher risk since the customer is not present and the card is not in hand.
11 What is a Chargeback?
A chargeback occurs when a customer disputes a charge on their statement by contacting the credit card company instead of contacting you. If a customer does not recognize the charge on their statement, or if they believe the amount was wrong, they may call their credit card company and ask them to investigate. Thus begins the chargeback. The merchant bank will charge you a fee for the retrieval of information, and if it is determined that the customer is right, there will be another fee for the chargeback itself. The customer will be refunded their money directly through the credit card company and your checking account will be debited. Eventually, if your account has excessive chargebacks, the bank may choose to cancel your account. The more you do to protect yourself against chargebacks, the better off you’ll be. Domestically the percentage for chargebacks allowed before credit card companies begin to levy fines and possibly terminate your account is 1%. Offshore accounts have the benefit of 2% chargebacks for some credit card companies.