Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What if I already have a terminal? Can I have it programmed to work with the new processor?

Yes. Many merchants assume because they purchased a terminal or software program from one processor cannot use that terminal or software program with another processor. A brand name terminal or software program is only a vehicle to process transactions and any processing system can usually be reprogrammed by any processor. Do not let a sales person lead you to believe you need a new terminal if you already have one. Most terminals used years ago are still functional today. If you are unhappy with your processor or think your processor is charging you, too much you should shop around and see if you can get better service or fees. You are the customer and your business is valuable to processors.

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2. Tell me about Government, Corporate credit cards, and Foreign Issued Credit Cards. Can I take them?

Yes, you will be able to process these cards on your existing terminal or online software. A bankcard issued to companies for use by company or government employees sometimes called a Purchasing Card.. Purchasing Cards allow large companies and government agencies to better track expenses. Processors charge a higher fee for these types of cards because there is more liability since the card user is not financially responsible for the card. Purchasing Cards, Corporate Cards, and Foreign issued credit cards are normally processed as Non-Qualified Transactions as described earlier. You pay slightly higher for these transactions.

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3. What about debit or check cards? I hear this is a good idea if I have a retail store.

You have done your homework. Yes, debit or check cards are just like accepting a Visa or MasterCard as long as they have either the Visa or the MasterCard logos. One mistake merchants make is these cards are drawn against the customers’ checking account and funds are actually verified when processed but a lot of merchants treat these transactions like a credit card sale rather than a debit transaction. Debit transactions are much less expensive and the only difference to the customer is that they must enter their PIN number on either a terminal or external pin pad. For online merchants, debit cards can only be processed as a credit card transaction. Technology has not been developed that will allow a PIN number to be entered on a web site so use Online Checks for customers who want to pay from their checking account. The great thing about treating these transactions as debit rather than credit is that the funds are guaranteed if you receive an approval and are not subject to Visa/MasterCard regulations which means these transactions are final and cannot be chargebacked by the customer. It is like writing a check but with no possibility of the check bouncing. If you are, a retail merchant ALWAYS treats these transactions as debit transactions. It saves you money and is final.

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4. I keep hearing about electronic terminals, software and real time processing software on the Internet. Can you explain these things?

A terminal or online software is a vehicle to transmit information to the processor regarding the information about the credit card being processed but each are used for specific types of businesses. There are three options available to merchants wishing to accept credit cards and how they process sales. Your business will fall into one of these categories. Lets look at the different business types to help you identify which category best describes your business. This will help you decide which is better, an electronic terminal or software. There are really only four types of businesses and each listed below has a short description.

  • Retail - Merchants who sell tangible goods in a face-to-face environment should normally use conventional electronic terminals to process credit card transactions. Merchants who are able to swipe credit card transactions through a terminal qualify for the lowest processing rates.

  • Service - Merchants selling services like plumbing or auto repair in a face-to-face environment can usually use either a terminal or software. If 50% or more of customers are face-to-face, a terminal is probably the best solution. However, if more than 50% of transactions are keyed, software may be the better solution.
  • Mail/Telephone order - Merchants selling tangible goods or services in a non-face-to-face setting, mail order, Internet or telephone order environment will normally use online processing software to process transactions. The software has many advanced features that a terminal does not have including the ability to accept Online Checks, process recurring transactions, process orders in batches when you have large quantities of orders and do Address Verification easily.
  • Internet web store - An Internet Merchant is one who processes transactions via the Internet. Processing transactions via the Internet means that the cardholder types their credit card information online and the transaction is processed seconds later.

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5. What is a virtual terminal?

A Virtual Terminal is very easy to use. It is no more difficult than processing transactions through a standard Credit Card Terminal. Simply log onto the internet, enter a web address, your login ID and password and you are ready to go. Simply enter the credit card number, expiration date, amount of purchase and that’s all there is to do.

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6. Can I use a virtual terminal to accept checks?

Some Virtual Terminals give you the ability to process Online or Telephone Checks. It is important to get a virtual terminal that can process both credit cards and checks.

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