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    23 Replies Latest reply on Aug 13, 2009 9:00 PM by greenlight

    suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'

    novice Newbie
      I'm starting a business and want to accept credit cards (at least Visa/MC for now). There are a lot of great suggestions about providers for online business, but what about retail/storefront? I will be charging customers for products and services in person (ie. swiping all cards) and do not plan on doing any online business. Does anyone have any recommendations for providers? I have read many of the resources about choosing a provider but am still overwhelmed by the many choices, and even after asking a lot of questions would still feel better hearing from people who have had good (or bad) experiences with the company. Bank of America seems a safe option but prices are quite high. After some research Vantage seems to be a good option, but I don't know anything about their history/security/customer service. Any suggestions?
        • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
          LUCKIEST Guide
          novice, welcome to this web site. How soon will you be starting this business?? and Where??
          You said on the Members page in has to do with Healthcare. On Members page, tell us more,
          add a few words about you and your business.
          Questions?? Do you have a Business and Marketing Plan??
          Do you have an Accountant, Lawyer, Insurance Agent??
          Picking a Credit Card is a lot like choosing the next car you buy (with fewer choices).
          You will get some good answers.
          LUCKIEST
          • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
            puzzleman Tracker
            Novice, I was confused like you when I started with credit cards. Everybody has an offer and a "deal". It was all very confusing. What I did was to start with BOA because they were who I bank with. After I was able to know my average ticket and volume, I was able to put a pencil to the numbers other people gave. I then selected another vendor based on the rates and free equipment offered.
            • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
              SageTrout Wayfarer
              There is another consideration besides rate and offers of free equipment and that's SERVICE. I worked with a borrower to get them a merchant advance. We needed copies of old merchant account statements they didn't have. They used a service offered by COSTCO and another offered by QuickBooks. Both services were extremely slow to respond when they asked for the old statements. They didn't offer comprehensive online services so the borrower could obtain the information themselves.

              I would ask about online access to your statements and account information, and ask if they can give you an online demonstration of their secure website to see how comprehensive it is. In addition, ask about their customer service and how quickly they will respond to requests for statements and other information. Depending on your business, chargebacks could be a major headache and you want to know how responsive they will be handling that.

              The old adage that you get what you pay for is true. A low ball offer may not be in your best interest. You should ask if you can change merchant services if you're not satisfied.

              Doug
              • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                CEO Space Scout
                Novice,

                Welcome to the forum. I had many "brick and mortar" locations and accepted cc's.

                I have a associate that had helped many people.

                Email me and I'll make the introduction. He has good rate, free machine, great service and understands all the problems small businesses can run into because he has dealt with so many.

                kathyhadley@earthlink.net

                Good Luck

                Kathy
                • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                  Lighthouse24 Ranger

                  I took the same path as puzzleman -- started with my bank (even though rates were higher) because the whole process was new to me and I thought it was worth having a real banker who was literally right around the corner (and who had a vested interest in my success) to contact in case of problems -- as opposed to a toll-free number, website, offshore institution, or whatever.

                  Keep in mind that you're not taking any vows here -- you can always change providers in the future, and once you have a history and established transaction volume, the rates you will offered get better. For now, I'd choose the option that gets you up and running most easily, safely, and confidently -- and then shop for a "better" option down the road if necessary.

                   


                  Best wishes.
                  • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                    amspcs Ranger
                    Dear Novice,

                    Good luck on your new business venture.

                    One point of contention I'd like to take with what someone told you on another post. You do NOT just get started with some processor, even your bank, with intentions of looking for better rates and switching shortly thereafter. That's because nearly every processor out there has at least a 2-3 year contractual obligation with early termination fees. In fact, that's the first red flag you look for in any merchant agreement....the longer the term and stiffer the early termination fee, the more you'll regret your mistake sooner or later.

                    I know a place, major national processor, with competitive numbers, provide equipment at no cost, and no contractual terms or early termination fees. That's very important..., if you hate them or find a better deal a week after signing up with them, you give them 30 days written notice and you're out scott-free. That, by the way, is the processor's incentive to make sure your numbers are competitive. Lots of processors out therer have 'free equipment' deals, but if you're smart enough to read the 'fine print' you'll see they all have long term contracts that you're stuck with and cost you big-time if you change processors, go out of business, change your mind ,whatever. Don't go there.

                    Please email me privately and we'll discuss. Thanks.

                    Barry G
                    amspcs@juno.com
                    • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                      ERICELAM Wayfarer
                      I would suggest contacting me Eric Elam president of CardSmart Merchant Services Inc.about getting setup for your merchant services here is my contact info office number 1-866-767-2273 or my personal cell 702-580-4817.
                        • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                          amspcs Ranger
                          As long as we are passing self endorsements for merchant service providers (I didn't know that was permitted or encouraged) , we'd like to pass our contact info as well:

                          AMS, Inc.
                          1-877-689-1691 toll free
                          amspcs@juno.com

                          We represent several processing acquirers for US based merchants, not just one. Some of more popular programs feature:

                          • free or low cost equipment, including POS software
                          • agreements with no early termination fees in case you change your mind or find something better....this
                          is a biggie. Don't get locked into a processor you don't like because you'd owe them several hundred or
                          thousands in termination fees if you break the contract. This is very common.
                          • ecommerce solutions
                          • check guarantee, verification and conversion services (including no or low cost check readers & imagers)
                          • free NSF check collection services

                          Feel free to email or call my office 9-5 M-F. Thanks, have a good weekend.
                        • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                          blaqdesigns Newbie
                          Hello,

                          My name is Christopher Turner. I am a business owner and I'm also a Sales Rep for a Merchant Exchange company. I may have a solution for you and your business that will offer affordable monthly fees, little to no set up cost, meaning I may be able to waive the set up fees but I would have to check into this. I am offering this to you as a Bank of America member and a business owner myself, so I understand the road blocks many of us face. I may also be able to offer you a free terminal with this account but again I need to look into my guidlines to see what I can and can not do, but I am willing to do everything within my limitations to make things simple for you. The best way to contact me is via email at blaqdesigns@gmail.com. Let em know exactly what services you need and want, the types of processing you pan to do and what equipment you are interested in using. I will review your response, work up the best solution, then contact you with the results. You can contact me anytime this weekend and I should have an answer for you by Monday or Tuesday. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

                          Good Luck,
                          Christopher Turner
                          Blaq Designs, LLC
                          • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                            LUCKIEST Guide
                            Very Interesting that there have been 10 replies to novice since the question was posted,
                            Good answers and suggestions but NOTHING from novice??
                            LUCKIEST
                            • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                              novice Newbie
                              I appreciate the responses. Unfortunately, it seems many of the responses were from merchant service sales agents trying to sell me their services, rather than a forum of other merchants sharing their experience of what did and did not work for them. For those responses that did fall into that category, thank you. It seems that the (small) consensus from other merchants starting out is that going with Bank of America is the safest option. If anyone has any other thoughts or experiences, I would very much like to hear them.
                                • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                                  puzzleman Tracker
                                  Novice, I understand your concern about others trolling for business. I have gooten good info from them sonetimes and have actually been helped. I do agree that some people only show up to push their product instead of trying to help.
                                    • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                                      amspcs Ranger
                                      Novice,

                                      As noted in my posts, I too was a little taken aback when the business trolling became a little blatant and obvious. Yes, I have been in the merchant services business for many years and, if I do say so myself, have earned some credibility and respect in my field. My primary intent was to provide you with worthwhile knowledge which I feel I did--presumably you would not have preferred that I kept it to myself and NOT shared what I know? The points made about contractual terms, termination fees, and so on are quite valid and should be of utmost interest to you. As noted in my post, I 'advertised' myself only after it became obvious that was the tactic everyone else was using blantantly which I found to be a little distasteful myself..

                                      So again, you might want to investigate and see what's out there before you opt for the 'easy' way of going through your bank. Who knows, if you make a little effort you might even learn something valuable and find something that makes sense for you, be it the products I offer or otherwise. I know the following sounds self-serving, but nevertheless it is the absoute truth: Processing directly through your banker, 'the 'easy' way, almost always accomplishes nothing but assuring that you will pay the highest possible rates and fees, since all you are doing is adding an unnecessary middleman to the pricing equiation.
                                      • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                                        novice Newbie
                                        Thank you. I guess my question for you and the other merchants who started out with B of A and then switched to other providers, what is/has been your experience with other providers? It seems I can get much better prices with other providers (including monthly statement fees and minimums) but I wonder at what expense in terms of safety/customer service, etc. I have heard horror stories of the providers not depositing payments, taking money from accounts, etc and merchants have lost thousands of dollars. Are there low cost providers that people have used that have been safe and reliable? Or conversely, have people tried certain services that sounded good only to find there were hidden problems?

                                        Also, I don't understand the references to a third party/middleman. It seems if I go through an agent (like those posting here) that is a middle man. How is that any different than the middlemand recommended by my bank? What is the difference if I go through an agent (I believe termed an ISO) rather than directly through the bank and the processor?
                                          • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                                            ERICELAM Wayfarer

                                            Here is the answers to your questions first a ISO can still be a agent thru a another ISO or as you said could be just a agent but the other ISO's could be like my company we have a direct relationship with our processor First Data Corp.This indeed is makes us third party processor but the services you get directly from the processor most of the time falls very short on customer service.We service our customers aslo we back it up with our "CardSmart Guarantee" ( If your lterminal ever needs repair we would fix or repalce it free as long as your processing with our company..Also long term contracts will apply when equipment is free as you begin your business and over time your rates will increase to pay for the free equipment.

                                            Agian, good luck in your new business! :-)

                                            Sincerely. Eric A. Elam
                                            President of CardSmart Merchant Services Inc.
                                            The Smart Choice for Today's Merchants!
                                            Toll free 1-866-767-2273
                                            • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                                              Lighthouse24 Ranger

                                              Good explanation from ericelam. Any horror stories you've heard about Independent Service Organizations and Merchant Services Accounts were most likely either offshore companies and banking partners, or situations where the business owner didn't really understand (and the ISO didn't openly provide and explain) all the fees that would be applied. Also, a lot of horror stories that are presented as Merchant Account problems are actually issues with Payment Processors (which you know are different, but the people telling the stories might not).

                                              As for your question about changing providers, once we had been operating for a couple of years and had a "history," we started receiving attractive package deal offers from competing institutions if we did everything through them (checking, payroll, invoicing, merchant account, vendor payments, credit lines, etc.). The actual set-up of some of these services was still provided by ISOs, but we did get much better rates, lower fees, etc.

                                              The reality is that a new small business usually pays steep fees and has few options (almost as if everyone is doing the owner a favor to let him/her launch the enterprise). Once the business is sustaining growth and profit, however, the world of financial possibilities seems to open up. That's why my initial post suggested finding a provider that allowed you to get started easily, and with the greatest feeling of security and confidence (accepting that it might not be the cheapest option, but it would be safe -- and that much better deals would be available down the road a year or so). That was my experience, anyway.
                                        • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                                          M&M Services Wayfarer
                                          Hi brick & Mortar If looking for a great merchant to setup your merchant services please consider us M&M Merchant Card Services Inc. we are a licensed and registered company with Visa-Master Card and B of A is one of our backing banks in the industry. We offer the full setup from application to equipment with outstanding rates and service.

                                          Marcus Walker
                                          866 351-1627 office
                                          http://www.mm-merchantcardservices.net
                                          • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                                            nMoncrief Adventurer
                                            Novice, I recently joined this form and saw your post. You've probably already found a provider by now, so I won't go into a lengthy "commercial" about myself. I do want to recommend that you take a look at http://www.creekfinancial.com/whitepapers

                                            Neil Moncrief
                                            Creek Financial Services
                                              • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                                                nMoncrief Adventurer
                                                The last part of my post was lost in cyberspace, so I'll re-type it. The whitepapers are in PDF format, and you can view them on screen w/o downloading them to your computer. You'll find information about some of the pitfalls in the industry. If it's too late to be useful now, perhaps it'll help you in the future. If you have questions, feel free to contact me. (Click the profile for that info.) I enjoy my work, so I'm always glad to talk to anyone who calls- no strings attached. Best of luck to you in business!

                                                Neil Moncrief
                                                Creek Financial Services
                                              • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                                                chatterboxj Wayfarer

                                                Many of these posters hit the nail on the head when they mentioned that you could find better service and rates through an independent company.

                                                The problem is that many of the services you find are less but are still middlemen. Nothing agent them, many are very honest and have good service. The problem is they do not process the money, They pay someone else to do it. The differance is between retail and wholesale. You need to find someone who is a direct processor, BUT also moves the money and controls the process from swipe to deposit.

                                                There are about 10 direct processors in the industry. Some are large but good luck getting someone one the phone. Others are big but gouge their merchants as a general rule or having confusing statements and lots of fees.

                                                Research and know your rights.

                                                Start Here: www.merchantbillofrights.com

                                                This gives the rights all merchants should be getting, regardless of their size or industry.

                                                Heartland Payment Systems is a direct processor that focuses on service and local relationships. We have a virtual army of in the field Account managers (NOT SALES PEOPLE--SERVICE PEOPLE) serving almost every county in every state of the USA.

                                                I hope you will look at us and give us a chance to earn your business if you ever need anything.

                                                Thanks!!

                                                Chad Johnson
                                                Relationship Manager
                                                Heartland Payment Systems
                                                charles.johnsoniii@e-hps.com
                                                • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                                                  NRU Investor Wayfarer
                                                  Good evening. I know there are alot of companies out there that promise you things that sound good but you have to be very careful. I know that you need to accept credit cards, but would I would like to do is save you money which is important but last but not least is help you make more money, which is the reason why you went into business. With Alpha Omega Processing powered by NPC we have over 25 years in experience with credit processing. NPC processes 1 out of 4 credit card transactions in the world, and is the 5th largest processing company in the U.S. We offer no annual fees, no application fees, and no contracts. We offer the lowest rates and it will only go down from there,not up. Feel free to call me at 678-371-5049- so that I can get all of your questions answered or you can email me at tmack0306@yahoo.com. Give me a call so we can talk about your business and get your business off the ground.

                                                  Tory Mosley
                                                  Business Owner Advisor
                                                  • Re: suggestions for providers - 'brick & mortar'
                                                    greenlight Wayfarer
                                                    www.greenlightpayments.com 1-800-448-2038 I was placed on wholesale pricing and no contract I could not go wrong. Now I am an employee.