If you have been searching online for how to get a merchant account you may have run across stories of people who – frankly – got ripped off
And when you get right down to it, it’s not their fault at all.
Merchant account providers haven’t made it easy for you when it comes to setting up an account. Confusing rate categories, hidden fees, and monthly statements that your CPA has a hard time reading all contribute to most people pay too much for accepting credit cards.
So what can you do?
Five Tips for Getting the Best Merchant Account
After helping hundreds of people to find the right merchant account for their business I can tell you that following the five tips listed below will be the place for you to start.
In no particular order they are:
- Ask questions
- Get it in writing
- No introductory rates
- Ask about free equipment/software
- Avoid early termination fees
Let me explain…
It goes without saying that you should ask questions before you sign up with any one provider. The challenge is, what questions should you ask?
Here’s a short list to get you started:
- What are your rates?
- Are the rates guaranteed?
- Is there an application fee?
- Is there an annual fee?
- When will the funds be deposited in my bank account?
- Is early termination fee?
You can also add to this list based on the type of merchant services you need. For example, if you need to process transactions face-to-face ask about any free credit card terminals available. If you need an online merchant account make sure that the payment processor you’re talking to can integrate their system with your shopping cart.
Next, make sure you get their promises in writing.
And double check the application prior to signing it.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard from business owners who were told one thing by a sales rep only to find out later that their rates did not reflect what they were promised.
Make sure you ask about the rates – meaning there is more than one – and have them disclose to you additional fees and surcharges to you. Make sure that you are not agreeing to introductory rate offers which are often much lower than industry standards but soon increase after you signed on the dotted line.
Finally, perhaps the single biggest ripoff is the early termination fee.
Some processing companies use this feature to keep you trapped into a bad contract by making you pay hundreds or thousands of dollars to cancel during the contract term. It’s more common than you might realize and certainly worth avoiding at all costs.
I hope you found this information helpful. Please feel free to share your comments below.
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