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    7 Replies Latest reply on Oct 1, 2009 5:30 PM by sammythesm

    Online Payments

    Avneet Newbie
      I tried posting this yesterday but it never went through.

      My business is selling premium access to an online game we are developing. It opens up more features. We will be having it automatically programmed to give accounts in our database access as they give payments. Our dilema is trying to figure out what to use for the payments. What is the best source to use? I was looking at paypal but they take too much out of the money paid to us. What do you all recommend to use for online payments to save as much money as we can? Can I do it through my bank(Bank of America)?
        • Re: Online Payments
          Suspicious Newbie
          As a microbusiness who's been scammed by unscrupulous merchant services companies, I highly recommend looking any and all companies up on www.ripoffreport.com before making a final decision.
          I was amazed by complaints I found on the company I was dealing with; too bad I didn't know to look beforehand. It appears to me we are treading in unregulated waters with minimal oversight... caveat emptor!
          If anyone knows of an integrious merchant services company, I'd appreciate the post.
            • Re: Online Payments
              LUCKIEST Guide
              Suspicious, Go to Members page and share some info.

              If you are looking for a merchant service, try amspcs, (the post above yours).
              Barry is a great guy and can help.

              Good luck
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              • Re: Online Payments
                amspcs Ranger
                Dear Suspicioius: I happen to be an old-timer in the payment processing industry, and I must agree with you. This industry certainly has it's share of shady characters. That said, it is also equally true that there are shady doctors, lawyers, indian chiefs and any other business sector you can think of as well. Please don't judge the entire basket by a few rotten apples.

                Let me also say this: Having been around this industry as long as I have, I've heard from lots of complaining merchants over the years, both first hand and after-the-fact. I must say that a great many of the problems and resulting dissatisfaction merchants experience are unreasonable and/or self inflicted. Despite all the resources available, many merchants chose to remain totally ignorant about industry wide chargeback procedures and regulations, Regulation Z/Truth in Lending Laws, Interchange, payment rate structure, basic common sense of reading a contract before signing it, the difference between renting buying and leasing.....the list goes on and on and on. Many merchants tend to gravitate towards sales pitches containing what they want to hear, which is very different from how things actually are. In their ignorance, they get in trouble, than b and moan about it to anybody willing to listen.

                How to select a good merchant provider? Good question. In my mind, longetivity is a good barometer, because word spreads quickly about the bad guys and they disappear as fast as they appeared (often only to re-surface under another DBA name). Yes, my company was new many years ago, and the process of earning our stripes and reputation was at times very painful. Now I'm happy to report we've been around a good long time whiile countless competitors have come and gone, which I am very proud of and I would hope speaks for itself.

                Please have a look at out website to learn a little about us. I'd particularly recommend you spend some time on the "mistakes merchants make" page which h as a lot to do with the subject of your post.

                Best,
                AMSPCS
                amspcs@juno.com
                www.MerchantServices-help.com
                  • Re: Online Payments
                    Suspicious Newbie
                    Dear AMSPCS,

                    As you pointed out, it's not fair to judge an entire industry by one bad apple. I unfortunately, picked a rotten apple right out of the basket and, admittedly, had a bad taste in my mouth. I'm also on my toes because of it. I'm not here to b and moan, as suggested. The sole purpose of my previous post was let another, possible unsuspecting, business owner know that there are bad apples out there and how to get a reasonable and fair report on them before signing a lengthy contract. As far as I know, there is no other way to make an assessment other than trial by fire.

                    Thank you for your response, and I will take a look at your website.
                      • Re: Online Payments
                        amspcs Ranger
                        I understand what you are saying, and did not mean to imply that you were complaining unjustifiably.
                        You obviously had a very bad experience and are understandably very skepticle now.

                        I still cannot agree, however, that a negativity-focused website such as ripoff.com you suggested could be very useful. In the first place, EVERYBODY and every business gets complaints, it's just not possible to please everyone. Unfortunately, you never hear from the 99% of satisfied customers--all sites like the one suggested focus on are the minority of the DISsatisfied ones. As they say in the newspaper business: When a dog bites a man, that's not news. When a man bites a dog, THAT's news. Secondly and more importantly, as I mentioned in my initial post, many if not most dissatisfied payment processing customers have only themselves to blame for the mess they find themselves in. They didn't read the agreement. They didn't do their homework. They have unrealistic expectations. And so on.

                        To conclude, I believe that trial-and-error is a very unnecessary means of making business decisions. Doing homework and gaining an understanding about how payment processing and Reg Z works will eliminate many negative issues. Referrals from your associates and business neighbors are also valuable. And as mentioned, reputation based on longetivity of the business you contemplate contracting with (among other factors) should play a very important role. Almost always, you will find that those people who complain in public forums did none of the above. Instead, they made a horrendous business decision based on lack of knowledge and preparation, and when they get what they bargained for they seek to shift the blame from themselves. I understand this is a very harsh accessment, but uknfortunately it happens all the time.
                          • Re: Online Payments
                            Suspicious Newbie
                            It's not entirely true that most dissatisfied customers only have themselves to blame. Business owners are required to sign lengthy contracts full of fine print and legalize. In my case, there was a separate addendum that was referred to in the contract that I was also expected to adhere to. One needs an attorney to understand what is being agreed to. It doesn't matter one iota if one agrees or disagrees with the contract; no contract no service, period. The contract is a self-serving document for the merchant services company, not the consumer.
                            As for doing my homework, I believe I did. I unfortunately didn't find a responsible individual such as yourself to talk with. I had hundreds of internet sites to choose from and after registering my company, I also received a dozen or so postcards from merchant services companies. The information I obtained was fed to me by highly prepped salespeople. I talked to colleagues, but they wouldn't recommend their companies to me for reasons such as, "the rates go up after you sign the contract" or "they impose PCI compliance fees to the tune of several hundred dollars once you sign the contract".
                            Here's my reasoning for using a megaphone website such as RipoffReport.com, the problem I had with my merchant services company was the downgrading of all of my customers cards to the non-qualfied rate. The company stated all of the cards I scanned were rewards cards. When I became suspicious, I began asking customers to confirm whether or not their cards were rewards cards and in many cases, they were not. In short, I was paying higher tier fees month after month. The company wouldn't resolved the issue, neither would the FTC or my state's attorney general (not a big enough problem to concern themselves with). That's how I found out the industry is largely unregulated from a consumer stand point and no advocacy group exists, hence the need for RipOffReport.com.
                            Only after I complained on RipoffReport.com did the company stand up, take note and resolve the issue. Many of the complaints on that website are similar in nature. Most people are hard-working business owners trying to get issues resolved that should have been taken care of by the customer service department at the merchant service company.
                            Of course, no business can make everyone happy, nor should they. By reading the complaints on the website, one can differentiate between a malcontent and an honest issue in need of resolution, especially if there are multiple pages with similar complaints.
                            Therefore, one can tell if a company is reputable by doing a little research at that site before making a final decision.
                    • Re: Online Payments
                      sammythesm Wayfarer
                      I went through this a while back. I decided to go with PayPal for the following reasons:

                      1. rates were competitive, if not better than competition (especially due to our low volume transactions)

                      2. they really support developers with an API. They specialize in online payment. Many other processors just do it on the side, and don't really offer a good developer package. PayPal has a sandbox and a lot of developer support.

                      3. They are a trusted middle man. I often cringe at inputting my CC# into some fly-by-night website. People trust paypal, and they have good protections and fraud policies in place.

                      4. Cost of a SSL certificate. With my business, I didn't need to buy one of my own. (up to $300/yr savings)

                      Those were the factors that helped me make a decision.