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Finding the right merchant service provider, of MSP, is one of the most important decisions you can make as a small business owner. If you choose the right one, it is a simple and easy process best offshore merchant account providers that sets your company up for success. Choose the wrong one and you can get stuck paying higher transaction rates and extraneous fees, while these costs may not sink your business they certainly will not help your cause. Making the process of choosing a great merchant account more difficult is that accounts can be structured differently depending on the type of transactions you will see, the types of credit cards, the equipment you use, and the network your transactions are processed on. These differences between accounts are designed to help save you money, but it is up to you as the small business owner to make sure that they are not costing you money.

If you’re reading this article you’ve already taken the first steps towards signing up for a great merchant account, as research really is the key. The three main areas that I always suggest merchants focus on when evaluating merchant providers are the rates and fees available, the lifetime costs you can expect to see, and the customer service you will receive after becoming a merchant. This list seems obvious to many individuals, but often the allure of getting the “lowest rate” possible, blinds merchants to the second and third points.

Another way you can identify the best merchant account for your needs is by checking out review websites that have a good handle on those three priority areas and seeing what they have to save. Also be sure to see if there are any comments from actual small business owners on what their experiences have been with the company.

Understanding the actual deal from the sales pitch from merchant service providers, involves you understanding what goes into a merchant account. Qualified transactions are those that meet certain requirements, and are typically the lowest rates possible for a credit card transaction due to the lower risk. If you own a business that does not handle face-to-face transactions with the customer signing a receipt, then you will not be eligible for these rates. A common sales trick is to push these rates, have a merchant sign and hope they don’t realize they are over paying when their monthly statement arrives. Worse often they do not care if you find out, as they often hide 3 year contracts with heavy cancellation costs in them – meaning you can either be stuck paying more each month, or break the contract and pay to get out of it.

At the end of the day, you are going to be responsible for setting up the right account with the right MSP. If you have not seen a merchant account statement before, this puts you at a slight disadvantage as you have not gone through the trail by fire of signing a contract and only learning then what they meant by Qualified, Mid-Qualified, Non-Qualified transaction, or the monthly statement fee/monthly reserve costs associated with your account. Without knowing your specific business type there is no way to know what these will actually mean to you, but you should be wary of any credit card processor who doesn’t proactively bring up these terms and how they apply to your account and where they can work to save you money.


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