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BUYER BEWARE

Are you like most businesses who receive several calls a day from merchant service providers vying for your credit card business? Have you run out of things to say or have they called enough times to get you to listen? It’s a very popular time of the year for merchant processors to come out of the woodwork, and what better way than to educate yourself with the right questions to ask to be the best advocate for your business!
Let’s start with the FACTS:

Fact: Credit Card rates are confusing. There are over 900 different card types from VISA, MasterCard and Discover alone.
Fact: There are so many variables that impact rates – and they, along with the regulations that govern them, seem to be changing constantly.
Fact: There are merchant processors that try to use this confusion to their advantage.

To an untrained eye, many processing offers can appear very attractive. That’s where your education comes in. To protect you from the common marketing schemes that target the untrained eye, we believe it’s best to educate yourself on these five important questions and demand that the answers be put in writing. Armed with the answers to these questions below, you will avoid falling for the most common of schemes.

5 Important Questions to Ask
1) Have you disclosed all of the rates that apply to my specific situation: interchange, assessments, equipment fees, set-up fees, installation fees, cancellation fees, PCI-related fees, mark-ups? Always request a complete fee list including one-time, monthly AND annual fees.

2) Is your pricing structure bundled? Make sure you don’t fall for the “simple” fee structures that promote flat rates by hiding fees within other fees(bundling) making it impossible to reconcile your statements.

3) When will my rates change? Be weary of falling for special introductory rate schemes or solicitors who use the words “never” in regards to price changes in the future.

4) Is a contract required? What are the terms of buying out of the contract if I ever want to leave?
WATCHOUT: Do not fall for leased equipment. You may not be in a contract with the processor, but you are in a contract via their leased equipment which usually costs a business more than triple the original cost of buying the device.

5) Is there a plan to keep credit card data safe & secure? Be very weary of any processors that do not stress the importance of a PCI program AND those that do not help facilitate your compliance.

Asking these smart questions will put the solicitor on notice that yours is not an untrained eye! Also, it gives you the information your business needs to ensure your payments program is in good hands. Want to take advantage of our trained eye? At Wind River, we offer no-cost analysis of competitor bids to help evaluate offers you receive. As your partner, we won’t be offended and will be glad to guide you through the process to protect your business from these common schemes. Give us a call today!

Check out our new video illustrating these exact tips and more at our After the Handshake Channel.

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