WARNING. That’s the overall theme these days for those looking to find the right small business merchant accounts. Misleading and misguiding the customer into a painful gulf of financial woe seems to be the end result of most business owner’s relationships with merchant services credit card processing companies. Not a great way to do business, but I suppose it will work for the short term right? How greedy can they be?
Well, in this article I’m going to lay out the brass tacks and tell you like it is. I’m not going to come up with euphemistic language and tip-toe around the elephant in the living room either. I am going to tell you the facts you will without a doubt need to know before you sign ANY agreement with ANY merchant processor.
I have been a successful multi-business owner now for over 15 years, and have had much sustained contact and interaction (both positive and negative) with the merchant services credit card processing companies.
I can say with an unwavering degree of certainty that this advice will be relevant, sound, and reliable, and is here to assist you in making an intelligent and informed decision. The following is a closer look into some of the antiquated antics of the legion of merchant services credit card processing companies.
1. Bait and switch ploys. Read the fine print. They will always make a big deal about the fact that their rates are better than the other guys, but are they really? Believe it or not but they are counting on the fact that you are probably not going to read the agreement. After all, do you really have time to go through all the teeny tiny little clauses and sentences to find a needle in a haystack? Probably not.
Many times the rates that they are quoting you are only good for 30 days! Then after the increase starts tapping your account dry while you find out that even though you were told there was no contract term that they outright lied to you and you are in contract for the next 3 years! Ouch! If you have a lawyer or some kind of pre-paid legal service, they offer contract reading at little or no cost. This way, no one is going to jump out of the bushes after you’ve signed the “paperwork”.
2. Long funding delays, hold of funding. One would expect after someone submits a payment online or in store for a purchase that the payment would be posted to their accounts within a few business days right? One would think, but some processors can take up to 180 days! That’s pretty scary when you’re trying to run a successful business (to say the least). The reason that they held onto the money was because there is a chargeback timeframe that lasts 180 days.
A chargeback is when someone wants a refund credited back to their credit card. Since most merchant processors don’t take any risk, they will hold your money until the chargeback timeframe has passed and then credit your accounts after 180 days. That’s a long time to wait for your money. Much too long. Again, make sure you read the fine print and get your attorney or prepaid service to review the contract to make sure you aren’t on the wrong end of the gun! It could literally mean the difference between being in business and being out of business!
3. Free Equipment Ploys. Free equipment sounds great. Is it really “free”. Of course it ISN’T. Most of the time there are higher fees attached to these types of agreements to compensate for the cost of the “free” equipment. In addition, if you ever decide that you no longer wish to use this processor, they will actually bill you for the “free” equipment! I had a friend that told me when he went to cancel his agreement they sent him a bill for $800 for the terminal! Free?? What happened? Someone lied. Plain and simple.
4. No Term/No Contract/No Term Agreement. There will always be something you need to agree to in order to outline the parameters of the agreement. I mean think about it. You have to have a legitimate business to get a merchant account! Patriot Act, Fraud, Illegal Activity and so on is happening all the time. If they offer you this and you do get it with no paperwork, then you need to be afraid. Be very afraid! Never take equipment from anyone with whom you’ve not filled out delineating paperwork with and had your lawyer review. It’s not a good bet.
So, in essence it’s really about investigating the company to make sure they are legitimate and that they aren’t trying to bamboozle you. Review the documents before signing, meet with your attorney, investigate the company, and above all ask questions! Normally the questions you don’t ask will contain the answers that could literally destroy your business! The truth is that they lie!
Everyone has to make money. And everyone wants to know who they can trust when they enter into a binding agreement. Having been through pains and tribulations of all flavors with this stuff myself many MANY times, I highly recommend the company at the link below.
They even analyzed my then current monthly statement for me for free and pointed out some hidden discrepancies that were costing me a bundle.In addition I was automatically enrolled in their affiliate program so I can offset my own costs. Now my processing bill is almost half of what it used to be. I give them Five Stars.
Click here to save money on your small business merchant accounts.