An Overview of Merchant Processing Services


Whether 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.

Accept Payments Using Your Smartphone or Tablet

Would you like to enjoy the convenience and flexibility of accepting credit and debit card payments for your business, wherever you go?

Other businesses are already taking advantage of mobile credit card processing. Taxis and food trucks can accept cards via smartphones, and chances are, your favorite restaurant now takes orders and payments on an iPad or tablet-based point-of-sale (POS) system. In a world where people are constantly on the move, doesn’t it make sense for your payment processing to be mobile as well?

Mobile Card Processing Services

Accepting credit and debit card payments using a phone or tablet device is the future of electronic payments. Mobile card processing services allow customers to make payments for products or services purchased anywhere, anytime. When you’re delivering products to a customer’s home or conducting a sale in a public place, carrying your card processing equipment is not only inconvenient, it’s virtually impossible. This is a time when using a mobile payment service comes in especially handy.

Six Steps to Mobile Credit Card Processing

  1. First, you need to set-up an account with a mobile card provider like Payscout!
  2. Second, you will set-up equipment that enables your mobile card processing. You may also have to download an app on your mobile or tablet device to accept payments.
  3. Now, you’re ready to accept payments! You will need to swipe your customer’s card and enter in their information by taking a photo of the information on the card or asking your customer for the required information.
  4. Depending on the type of app, your customer can either sign to approve the payment or provide you with additional information required to authorize the transaction.
  5. Watch, as the money comes pouring in, because card processing through mobiles takes less than a few seconds!
  6. You will also be able to email or text a receipt for the transaction to your customer.

The Benefits of Mobile Card Processing Services

It is easy to find a merchant account service provider that offers mobile processing solutions for Android phones, iPhones and iPads. However, finding the right service provider for your needs can be a bit tricky. Make sure you weigh the efficiency of the service against their fees before you enter into a contract.

Once you’ve found the right service provider for your business, you can take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Increased Security – Mobile credit card processing keeps your customer’s information secure by swiping their card and digitally transferring all of their sensitive data.
  • Compliance – By using a mobile credit card processor, you automatically stay in compliance with the law that requires all printed credit and debit card receipts have all but the last 5 digits of the customer’s account information removed.
  • Enhanced Speed – Mobile credit and debit card processing doesn’t require you to call to authorize a transaction, making the processing fast and easy.
  • Lowered Cost –Debit and credit cards can be used to make a purchase whether the actual card is present or not, and while merchants are charged fees for both transaction types, the percentage for card-present transactions is typically lower than the fee for card-not-present transactions. This means a merchant can save a significant amount of money by using a mobile credit card processor.

Mobile card processing services also allow you to stay connected to your business on the go. This enables you to boost sales and improves your profit margin, thus helping your business grow. Contact one of our Payscout specialists today at 888.589.5088 or by inquiring online to see how we can help grow your business using a mobile card reader!

Managed Risk Merchant Services – “What You Can Expect”

Offering your customers the option to pay via credit or debit card can be a crucial step for your business. Especially when it comes to doing business online, as paying with a debit or credit card is the only option a customer has. Many third party payments providers will offer credit card processing as part of their merchant processing services, but there can be a catch.

While these services are readily available to lower risk businesses, businesses with higher risks – or a managed risk model – can find it difficult to get the support they need to open a merchant account. This is due to the fact managed risk merchant services are only offered by specialized service providers, like Payscout.

Since Payscout has such a long history of partnering and supporting higher risk businesses, we thought it would be helpful to provide answers to some of the most common questions you may have about managed risk payment services.

Is your business type considered managed risk?

As a general rule, you will qualify as a managed risk merchant if your business type is classified within the financial industry as having a “higher level of managed risk.” This means you either serve an unpredictable clientele or accept only online transactions where the actual card and cardholder are not present to authorize. It could also mean your transaction turnover is high with large volumes of sales. These factors tend to lead to enhanced risk for card fraud, which is what the providers are looking for when they evaluate eligibility. Small companies with low volume sales can also be considered managed risk businesses, because they typically can’t afford to make an investment in fraud screening tools, like the larger companies can.

It is not just the type of industry or size that can cause a business to be defined as managed risk. The individual owner’s reputation is equally as important when determining risk status. Business owners with poor/inconsistent credit histories, or those that have been blacklisted, are considered to be a higher risk than those with good standings.

Does your merchant services provider want you to provide a rolling reserve?

Most service providers will want a reserve of some kind to protect their interest, so keep that in mind. Make sure you understand the terms of your contract and it is important to feel confident about your relationship with whatever merchant services provider you choose. They will play a large role in the success of your business.

What should I look for in a managed risk merchant services partner?

Merchants with managed risk models often have to search a little more to find a merchant provider that will board them as an account and also provide them with the excellent service they deserve. For this reason, the process of finding the right managed risk merchant services provider is important. The right merchant services provider can make or break your business down the road, so looking for a provider that is the best fit for you is worth the time.

Also, since managed risk merchant services fees are typically higher than those charged for low-risk businesses, it’s important to review proposed contracts and rates carefully. Some merchant service providers can take fees to an extreme, charging extra to set-up accounts on top of standard processing fees.

Moreover, it can be difficult for managed risk merchants to negotiate the terms of their credit card processing, due to the fact they have less leveraging power. However, the pros of enabling debit and credit card payments for your business will generally outweigh all the cons, so we encourage you to keep looking until you find a provider you feel comfortable with. Just remember to thoroughly read your contract and keep an eye out for extras like termination fees or other incidentals.

When choosing a managed risk merchant services provider, there are many things you can do to ensure you find the right partner:

  1. Ask around and choose a provider with a well established reputation in the field and one that is well spoken of for the range and quality of services offered.
  2. Choose someone who caters to your specific needs. For instance, depending on the nature of your business, you may require 24×7 customer service support.
  3. Insist on a breakdown of the fee structure. Don’t sign-up unless you are convinced the fee structure is fair and clear.

Below, we’ve listed a few of the managed risk business types Payscout supports:

  • Pharmaceutical products
  • Travel services
  • Telemarketing businesses
  • E-wallet and E-cash
  • ISP and hosting services
  • Online cigarette or tobacco vending
  • Online auctions and debt services
  • Online dating services
  • Online sale of replica products

Setting up a managed risk merchant account can be overwhelming. Payscout has a team of managed risk specialists standing by to talk to you about your unique business needs and help you find the perfect blend of services and price. Give us a call at 888-689-6088 or inquire online today!