Step Three: Choosing A Retail Merchant Account Provider
It is important that you conduct your due diligence before settling on one particular merchant account provider. The reasons are obvious. You certainly don’t want to be stuck paying high monthly fees. Plus, I’m sure you wouldn’t want to overpay on a terminal solution. Don’t let price be the only deciding factor though. We’ll look at this in a minute.
Never hurry through when trying to find a merchant account. If you move too fast, you will surely miss on a great deal. I can’t stress this enough. Don’t wait a week before opening your doors to customers to find a merchant account provider. Not only could you miss out on a good deal, but in some cases it can take up to a week to approve your application once it’s been submitted. Then you need to factor in the time it takes for the merchant account provider to ship you a terminal (or multiple terminals). On top of that, you have to set up your terminal(s) correctly and make sure they work.
Three main factors should be considered when choosing a merchant account provider (in no particular order):
- Integrity of the provider
- Customer Service
We’ll look at each determining factor, in detail so you can get the scoop on what to look for.
Integrity of the Merchant Account Provider
Don’t automatically assume a provider is legitimate just by what they have posted on their website or conveyed to you over the telephone. The merchant account industry has a number of ruthless and greedy sales representatives who are more interested in themselves than helping you.
Here are some red flags to watch out for and suggestions to test a provider’s integrity:
- Repeatedly getting an answering machine every time you call.
- Representative seems to give you the run around every time you ask them a question about rates or their agreement.
- If they use one of those free web hosting services for their website and/or a free domain name (i.e. www.xyz.com/merchantaccounts/4876/5thave/index.html), look the other way. If they can’t afford a real domain name and website, then they shouldn’t be in business.
- Their website doesn’t show which bank(s) they represent. It is unlawful for a merchant account provider not to show what banks they represent on their website. Visa and MasterCard crack down hard on those who don’t.
- They don’t post all their rates and fees on their website.
Here are some additional ways you can avoid unscrupulous sales tactics:
- Scrutinize their merchant agreement, go over it with a fine tooth comb and question anything that appears “loose” or suspicious. You certainly don’t want to get caught in a loophole.
- Check out the MerchantSeek Merchant Provider Reviews section to see if there were any reviews posted for your merchant account provider.
- Check the Better Business Bureau (BBB) database for complaints.
- Search http://www.complaintsboard.com (they’re the most reputable complaint board as they only keep valid complaints active) for any unsatisfactory remarks made about the company.
Retail Merchant Accounts & POS Swipe Terminal Guide (page 2 of 6)