This content has been marked as final. Show 18 replies
HELP, new retail Salon need best value merchant account and service.
Tell us more. Who are you?? Do you have a Business Name??
Where are you?? like City and State?? How long have you been in business??
Do you have a Federal I D Number??
Go to Members page and tell us more.
Do you know about SCORE?? SCORE is FREE.
Yes, your task is daunting and confusing; I feel for you. There are thousands of merchant services sales reps out there, all selling basically the same product but each packaged a little differently for marketing purposes. Very confusing.
We are in the merchant services business ourselves but I'm not going to give you a sales pitch for two reasons:
(1) I feel strongly that this is a help site, not a business trolling site; and (2) I get the impression that geographically we are a long distance apart, and you probably prefer to deal with someone locally so you can have a local rep, which makes sense. So don't feel badly about asking my opinion about something...doesn't cost me a dime to help a fellow human which is what this forum is all about.
That said, we have a site that, although is does contain sales links, is more 'informational' than hard sell which I invite you to review at your leisure. It might clarify several issues for you that might help make your final decision a little easier.
The main site is : www.MerchantServices-help.com
I suggest you review the following sections:
1.) Glossary of terms used in the merchant services industry so you understand your Contract better..
2.) Explanation of how discount rates and fees work (under Discount Rates tab--see INTERCHANGE)
3.) FAQ's which will explain the process of setting up a merchant account
4.) Top !0 Mistakes to Avoid tab is a must.
5.) Equipment Guide reviews some popular equipment models and provides brochure links
6.) If you anticipate accepting checks, there is an informative Check Services tab
Regardintg #2 above, some time back we published an article on the concept of "Interchange", which is the basis for credit card pricing which is misunderstood far and wide. It would be good reading for you. Find it here: http://ezinearticles.com/?Credit-Card-Pro
If you have any specific questions, feel free to contact me. Hope the site helps, and we wish you the best of luck.
AWESOME amspcs, awesome! Thank you very much.
We wold love to speak with you about providing the best service for your merchant account needs. Please feel free to give us a call 866 351-1627 for a free quote.
I never use anyone but Authorize.NET. They usually bundle a MA with their processor. Right now it is $99.00 per month + roughly 30.00 per month + transaction fee which will be around 2.9%. It will allow you to accept Visa/Mastercard. If you want to accept Discover/AMEX it costs extra if you think you will need them.
You can also consider PayPal Website Payments Pro. They have no set-up fee. It is simply a 30.00 per month charge + transaction fee which I believe is around 3%. This type of account does not require a Merchant Account. Instead, the fees are dumped in to your PayPal accountt and you would draw them out just like you do with normal PaPal transactions. Please note, it is seamless. The user never leaves your Website. It is a more advanced service that normal PayPal transactions.
I do not resell for either of these companies. But they are the only two I would trust with Authorize.NET being the top choice. However, if you wanted to avoid the cost of a merchant account and you do not mind transferring money from PayPal to your bank account then they are a viable option.
Hope this helps.
Clarification to RobTaylor--authorize.net is NOT a merchant processor provider, they are a gateway solution..
Two completely 100% separate and distinct entitities. You use authorize.net in conjuction with a merchant services provider, they are not one in the same.
Thanks once again amspcs! This is exactly what I'm dealing with.
You requested any suggestions I might have, so here goes:.
First off, you say you already have the equipment, all you need is the service. That's great, assuming you have reasonably up-to-date industry compliant equipment. If you have equipment by Hypercom, Nuritt, or anything in the Verifone Tranz or Omni family, you're probably in very good shape. Anything from the older Verifone Zon family, or the Linkpoint brand, to mention a very few, might be another story. If you'd care to contact me to let me know what kind of equipment you have (make and model) I'll be happy to render an opinion and discuss pros and/or cons.
As far as a processor suggestions go, I can write new retail businesses with a major national west coast acquirer with numbers like this: Qualified swiped signature debit @ 1.39%; qualified swiped credit @ 1.77%; $.20 per transaction for V/MC; $5 monthly statement fee; no setup or app fees; reasonable mid and non qual surcharges etc., credit permitting. Very hard to beat if the signer has above-average credit for low-risk merchant categories such as yours . If you'd like to discuss, please contact me via email privately.
Thanks, and good luck to you.
I should add that due to the fact that Hair One said "I do need to accept credit cards" that I was just trying to kill two birds with one stone.
A.NET is not a merchant provider by themselves but they offer a bundled package (processor w/ MA)
Although it is possible to go directly to Authorize.net first and have them refer you to a merchant account provider, it's usually done the other way around. Recently, an e-commerce owner (online nursery) called me after speaking directly to Authorize.net. Because he called me before signing their contract, he's now saving $300+/month. You'll generally get a better rate plan going directly to a credit card processor (not a local bank), and then letting the processor set up your payment gateway.
Watch out for processors who seem to charge nickel-and-dime fees every time you turn around. For a retail store, you should pay a discount rate, a per-item fee, and a monthly service/statement fee. That's about it. If they try to charge batch fees, annual fees, application fees, AVS fees, etc., keep looking. And watch out for excessive per-item fees. Those should never total more than $.25/transaction.
Look for a processor who clearly explains every fee and surcharge. Be sure to ask about their rates for mid-qualified and non-qualified downgrades. It's easy for a processor to quote a low rate for qualified charges, but then overcharge you for the rest. If they tell you not to worry about downgrades because they're infrequent, don't believe them. For retail stores, mid-qualified charges are increasing in numbers annually because that's the segment that includes the popular "rewards" cards. Also, look for a processor or agent that can clearly explain when to ask for PIN numbers and when not to ask for them. A good merchant agent can be as valuable to you as a good realtor. You can find more free tips at http://www.creekfinancial.com/whitepapers
Lastly, try to find a processor who can supply all your merchant needs, including gift cards, cash advances, POS systems, and card-swipe terminals. If you're already a valued client, you're more likely to get a good deal on these add-ons. Unscrupulous agents used to charge outrageous prices (up to $800) for a simple credit card terminal, and they gave the industry a bad name. Many of them are still around, so watch out for them Best of luck to you!
Thank you nMoncrief! There are so many sharks out in this water...
I have to applaud my colleague and competitor nMoncrief on a very well written and informative post.
As I've stated (complained?) many times in other posts on this forum, this is all about sharing our expertise with useful information and help, not just blatantly trolling for business. Very well done nMoncrief.
May I please expand on your paragraph #2 dealing with "nickel and dime" fees? I agree with 99% of what you say, except in the instances of some batch fees and AVS (Address Verification) fees. Both of these fees are very common nowadays and both are generally legitimate charges. I feel your comments might encourage some merchants to NOT use AVS and instead bypass the system for fear of being charged a few pennies for it. As you know, this would be a big mistake since using AVS properly actually plays a very large part in reducing merchant processing expense. Conversly, avoidig or misusing AVS will actually increase merchant processing expense. So I think you are sending the wrong message for merchants to 'keep looking' if they see any of the fees you mentioned. I think better advise would be for a merchant NOT to concentrate on the individual components of any fee schedule, but rather do the math and consider the entire fee structure collectively down to the bottom line, which after all is the only number that counts.
That aside, a very sound post.
Ampscs is absolutely right about AVS fees and batch fees being the industry standard. AVS (address verification service) is a valuable tool that merchants, particularly those on the Internet, can use to distinguish between valid customers and those who are shopping with stolen CC numbers. AVS saved me many times when I sold shoes online (I started and ran 2BigFeet.com for 7 years), and I recommend its use to all my e-commerce clients. It is worth paying for if you can't get it for free.
But since I used to be the merchant, not the banker, I still see things from the business owners' perspective. Whether or not I was actually being "nickel-and-dimed" or not didn't matter. I felt like it was happening to me, so that became my reality. Since there is little if any actual hard cost associated with most of these fees, I just choose not to charge them. I'll make up for the lost income if my merchants stay happy and stay with me longer.
A merchant seeking CC processing should be comfortable with the big picture and should not make a decision based solely on rates (or any other single item.) Like amspcs said, do the math and consider the entire fee structure. Although 1.69% may look better than 1.70%, that difference alone will only save the merchant one penny for every $100 sale. You need to understand what it may be costing you elsewhere.
Creek Financial Services
If you are still interested please give us a call and we will discuss all fess and rates in order to get you business set up. We know you are getting many offers but please allow us the opportunity to show you quailty sevice you deserve.
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 and offer gift 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 companie in the U.S. We offer 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 email@example.com. Give me a call so we can talk about your business and get your business off the ground.
Business Owner Advisor
http://www.msimerchantservice.com/ This company has excellent customer service, no contracts or cancellation fees and very reasonable rates. I have never had any issues with them, and plan on keeping them as my processor for a very long time. My sales rep was Danielle Sylvia (877) 877-9592.
Try Alpha Card Services 1-877-386-3408
they can beat most rates, no crazy fees and best of all 24/7 customer service
I'm not sure what you mean by charge-up 'minuet cards' for boost moble, sprint, so I'll leave that aside for now. Essential questions to ask:
- Do you have a cancellation fee? New businesses always pay more than established businesses because no one knows how much revenue you'll really generate. Rule #1 - don't sign a contract that has a cancellation fee,. You need flexibility to renegotiate or move on as your business grows.
- What will my cost be for Rewards Cards? More than half of all cards presented by consumers are usually REWARDS cards. (Cards with points or miles that accumulate for the benefit of the card owner). The fee for processing these cards is higher than other cards. Since this is the most common card presented, in order to compare companies, you need to know what your cost will be for Rewards cards. In reality, there are many different rewards cards rates- your processor should at least be able to tell you what your l_owest cost possible is for these cards_. Don't compare 'qualified rate' if that's what's offered, compare Rewards Cards rates because that's what you'll hit most often.
- Will my statement show what levels of interchange I hit? If the statement doesn't break out the cost of the types of cards listed, such as below, look elsewhere to avoid hidden charges.
Here's something to help you calculate and compare costs: VERY ROUGH
65% rewards cards
20% debit cards
5% corporate cards
10% regular credit card (consumer retail)
Make a spreadsheet- put in columns for cost per transaction, sales per transaction, etc.
So if you projected $25,000 in sales, 65% would process at rewards rate, 20% at the debit rate etc.
Now you have a much better comparison of numbers.
Choosing the right vendor. By asking the questions above, you can narrow your list. I realize the terminology is greek to you. But that's OK. You'll sound super knowledgeable to anyone you talk to (= better deal) and the point is to narrow your list. You may contact me for a quote 954-942-0483, 9-5 ET:)
Go to original post
Reply to original post
I am sorting through the hundreds of merchant service companies out there. They are calling me all day every day. Who do I go with? What are some common charges, prices and terms. I DO need to accept credit cards and debit cards, I also would like to offer gift cards and the ability to charge-up 'minuet cards' for boost moble, sprint etc...