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Payscout Blog

An Overview of Merchant Processing Services

Posted by Lyn McKay on Jul 28, 2015 10:30:00 AM

bigstock-Portrait-of-smiling-business-o-71797882.jpgWhether you have an online business or a regular brick and mortar store, offering your customers the option to pay by card is crucial. That is why you need a merchant processing service partner. Merchant processing is an important service for businesses, enabling them to process both debit and credit card payments from customers. Choosing the right service provider is just as important as choosing the right service.

How Exactly Does Merchant Processing Work?

When a customer hits the ‘pay now’ or ‘buy’ button on your website (or when you swipe the credit or debit card over the counter), an authorization request is sent to your merchant processing service provider. The provider then forwards the authorization request to the issuing bank or the credit card association for approval. Included in this request is relevant data such as the card number, expiration date and CVV number.

Next, the issuing bank or the card association sends back an approval or decline message to the merchant processor. According the response received, the merchant processing agent conveys the message to you and your customer to validate whether the transaction has been approved or declined. The payment for the transaction is deposited into your merchant account, minus the service charges for processing the transaction.

All of this is automated, secure and occurs within minutes, making it incredibly convenient for both your customer and your business.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Merchant Processing Service Provider

The bank card processing industry is complex and ever changing. With so many merchant services providers clamoring to be the best in the business, it can be difficult to know who to choose. Make sure to keep the following in mind when choosing a merchant processing firm to partner with.

Does the Provider offer all the Services you need?

Your needs are unique to your business and you need a provider that can work with you to meet all of them. For instance, if you have an online business, you need a provider that offers a secure payment gateway and virtual terminal, and one that also specializes in risk management. However, offline stores have completely different requirements, so choose a company that meets all your specific needs.

What are the Service Charges?

Though it is not recommended to always opt for the ‘cheapest’ service provider, cost is an important factor while considering merchant processing firms. We suggest not focusing on how much you are being charged, but focus instead on what exactly you are being charged for. Some companies do offer certain value added services at an extra cost. If your service provider is up-front about all charges, and can satisfactorily answer all of your questions, it may still be worth paying the (slightly) elevated service fees.

Merchant processing service is important for businesses, so make sure you choose your provider wisely! Don’t forget, our Payscout specialists are always here to answer any questions you might have, contact us online or call us direct at 888.689-6088.

Topics: Merchant Services