US Bankcard Services Industry Blog

Monday, March 14, 2011

The 3-step Dance: Merchant’s Fancy Footwork Guide::Part 1 of 3

So you've completed the work of obtaining credit card processing capability and anticipate that the process of accepting credit cards will be free-flowing, automatic, and without hiccups. Obviously, as time progresses, you'll become more and more comfortable with how to manage your merchant account, but it's best to remain proactive and avoid certain common problems.
1. A 'how to' merchant account discussion mandates attention on your projected credit card processing volume -- particularly the anticipated highest ticket. On the merchant account application, a business owner performs a guestimate on the monthly/annual volume, average ticket, and highest ticket. It's always best to OVER-estimate these totals ... within reason. Here's why:

Suppose you indicate on the application that your highest ticket will be $500. One day, a customer purchases $1,000 worth of goods and you process that amount. This raises a red flag and the funds from that transaction are held by the processor. The risk department may request a copy of the invoice and/or customer agreement to validate the authenticity of the transaction, and perhaps bank statements to ensure that you can cover a potential chargeback for this $1,000 charge. Moreover, the processor will likely call the customer's card issuing bank to ensure that the transaction is valid.

The delay in receiving funds affects cash flow, and you may feel uneasy about the customer's role in confirming the transaction. Furthermore, the risk department may demand that you credit the customer and seek an alternate form of payment if your bank reserves are deemed too low. In the scenario that you credit the customer, you'll still, at the very least, have been charged the processing fees for the original $1,000 transaction.
Consequently, it's crucial to avoid going over your credit card processing limits, specified on the application. If you believe that such amounts are not high enough, you can request a merchant limit increase but it's up to the processor whether such new limits will be permissible.
…Stay Tuned for next episode: batches and batches of Batches