Five Ways to Conduct a Merchant Services Review

For small companies that hope to become big, using a merchant service — also known as an independent sales organization (ISO) — is part of the growth process. From credit card processing to eCheck payment, an ISO’s services make it easier for people to buy, which makes it easier for businesses to sell. To determine if an ISO can meet your needs, it helps to review it using strategic criteria. Below are five criteria by which ISOs can be reviewed.

Ratings by category

Because they can hide poor category ratings, overall ratings are not as useful as category ratings. For example, if Internet features are your interest, you should compare ratings for Internet features, not broad ratings that say little about Internet features. Important categories that determine a service’s overall rating include: startup cost, cost per month, account setup time, Internet based features, customer service, and point of sale (P.O.S.) credit card services.

Application process

Three signs that an application process is business friendly are: the opportunity to apply online, an average approval rating of at least 90%, and an account setup time of 1-2 days. Conversely, three signs that an application process is not business friendly are: no opportunity to apply online, an average approval rating of below 90%, and an account setup time of more than 3 days. When commencing a merchant services review, businesses should begin by reviewing a service’s application process.

Service and transaction costs

In order to make money through a merchant service, you have to pay merchant service fees. Typical monthly service fees include: Internet gateway fee, statement fee, and monthly minimum fee (e.g. $25 in required fees minus $20 in actual fees equals a $5 monthly minimum fee). Typical transaction fees include: Internet transaction fee, credit/debit retail transaction fee, address verification fee, batch fee, customer service fee, chargeback fee, authorization fee, and early termination fee.

Account features

Account features impact a business’s ability to sell and the security of its transactions. Account features that impact sales ability include:

  • Virtual terminal,
  • Virtual shopping cart,
  • Payment gateway,
  • P.O.S. credit card swiping,
  • eCheck payment,
  • Recurring billing, and
  • Types of credit cards accepted.

Important security features include: address verification, real time processing, secure socket layer (SSL) that protects credit card data from hackers, and credit card verification value (CVC3 and CVV2) processing. A merchant services review should heavily investigate account features, especially in comparison with the account features of other merchant services.

Customer support

Because issues that require businesses to contact their merchant service inevitably arise, a service should offer customer support features that are tailored to customers’ needs, such as: 24/7 support hours, toll-free calling, contact by email, contact by fax, and contact by live chat.

When businesses perform a merchant services review using the criteria above, they can find a service that meets their unique needs. At AVP Solutions, we understand that merchant services do more than help companies accept payment; they also determine the security and profitability of their payment transactions. That’s why we continue to offer the best rates and fraud protection in the business.

With over 25 years experience in Small Business Merchant Accounts and over 16 years of servicing merchants, we can help your business do business the way you need it to.

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