Banks & credit card acceptance, is that a good choice
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 20th, 2009

In my opinion, Banks are not a good source to get a credit card processing account setup and there are many reasons as to why I say that. It is still true today, most banks do not provide adequate services for ecommerce merchants. Banks have always been focused and geared toward consumers and retail merchants, but not much for the online arena. There are some big banks that are however. Most of your big banks like BOA, Wells & Chase do offer merchant services directly through them, but many of your regional banks do not. They generally partner with someone else like to provide this service to their customers. I personally would rather share the wealth. If the bank already has your banking business, why not give the credit card processing to some other company that will provide you with the same level of service or better? This is with the assumption that the pricing is the same or similar between the two parties. Plus, because of the size of many banks, you do not get any personal service or attention. You are simply customer number 1,250,493 out of their 5 million customers for example. Lastly, I have personally found that banks at many times take advantage of merchants because they have that established relationship with the merchant. For that, I have seen merchants pay hefty fees for the processing and credit card machines.

Credit card processing provider’s tech support
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 20th, 2009

The tech support provided by your credit card processing company of course should be exceptional. There are some major factors that can play a role in the quality of service you receive. One factor being the kind of experience the provider has with your type of business. When it comes to risk, the risk department must manage and control the risk of all the accounts the company has on board so it doesn’t over extend itself and get into financial trouble. It is best to test out their tech support and customer service departments before you sign up with a company. You should have confidence that if you have any issues, you will be able to get a hold of someone to resolve it. The tech support department should be available 24/7. Since your Internet store never closes, you need round the clock support in-case something happens unexpectedly.

Start an ecommerce store using a drop shipper at low cost
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 20th, 2009

DSA offers a drop shipping service for ecommerce merchants at a relatively low expense. The company has received a lot of positive reviews on their service for being fast, easy and inexpensive. You can choose to design your own web site or use their builder tool. They have over 2K templates to choose from. They can also provide the hosting of the website. The good thing about using a drop shipper is you do not need to carry any inventory. There are some disadvantages to this, product selection and operational control being two of them. Interesting thing is the company is owned by Intuit, the makers of QuickBooks & Turbotax. The one thing that isn’t mentioned on their web site is any information about the credit card processing service and who they are compatible with. This is very important as some shopping cart solutions like Yahoo Stores are very restrictive on who you can use to process your transactions.  They in particular require you to use FirstData platform, which limits who you can use to only a handful of processors instead of the hundreds that are available today.

Network Solutions updated it’s ecommerce service
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 20th, 2009

Network Solutions updated its ecommerce software recently to help online merchants prepare for the holiday sales rush. The service in particular is their nsCommerceSpace service. The improvements are designed to help manage their stores better, maximize profits and increase their credit card processing speeds. Some feature enhancements include customized templates, shipping improvements and import capabilities. New promotional features like discounts and coupons will be available soon and before the big holiday sales rush.

When they made these improvements, they relied on their customer’s feedback and suggestions. By making improvements from listening to their customers, they expect everyone to have a successful season. The good thing about their service is they offer a 30 day money back guarantee. This doesn’t really help or is needed for merchants already on their system, but for new ones that are considering switching platforms, it is a nice appeal. I would however wait until the holiday season is over before making any changes. Also, keep an eye out for Google’s caffeine up date that should go completely live come January. If you have a great sales year this season because of great SEO, everything may change for you in two months.

A search tool unveiled in times for the holidays for ecommerce merchants
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 20th, 2009

Google has released a new search tool to help shoppers find what they need and merchants to get their products in front of their customers. Google has been releasing a lot of apps over the past few years, but very few are targeted towards ecommerce vendors. This is one of those apps, similar to Google Checkout that handles their credit card processing needs. The search tool allows consumers to search the web for a product they are interested in buying. Google then goes out and see’s which ecommerce stores are selling these items and returns the results. One great feature Google has been known for is their spell check suggestions, which can be great for people like me that type fast and make too many errors!

It is also noted that Microsoft’s new Bing engine has been making online shopping a focus point. Google’s new search tool is a product to fend off those efforts. Google is going after the retailer while Bing is marketing towards the consumer or shopper.

Should higher risk merchants pay more than lower risk
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 20th, 2009

I recent discussion on an industry forum was about another credit card processing competitor had a furniture store merchant that was considering switching companies.  He currently processes $300k a month.  He is currently paying Interchange plus 0.15% and some other provider quoted him 0.05%.  The sales agent went onto to mention this client has been with him for four years and he tried to explain to the merchant about the great service he has received during that time.  The question comes down to is that sufficient profit for any ISO to take the account.  That is only $150 total profit on the account, which the ISO will share with the agent.  I personally do not think that is enough profit for an account like that.  Furniture stores are very risky.  I have seen ISO’s take huge losses on furniture stores because of the way they are setup and how they buy/sell the products.  They could run $300k in charges and close their shop before the merchandise gets delivered, which would result in mostly chargebacks creating a huge loss for the ISO.

The question is, how much is a reasonable amount for the risk assumed?  0.50%, 1.00%?  I’m not sure what the correct answer is, but I know $150 is too low, even to service that type of account.  If you were to remove any associated risk, how much should you make to simply provide that merchant great service?  Take care of any needs they have when they call and really hold their hand.  All of this comes at a price.  I have merchants that make us a lot more than that each month with a fraction of the volume  and risk.  We take care of the merchant and everyone is happy.

Merchants have a new tool when it comes to chargebacks
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 20th, 2009 is a great new service that was designed to help merchants fight against consumers and their chargebacks.  This is a great tool in the merchant’s arsenal when it comes to credit card processing. The way the service works, is they keep a list of “bad” customers. Ones that have supposedly wronged a merchant by disputing a charge when they shouldn’t have. It also includes customers that are prone to having a lot o chargebacks, a sign of someone that simply isn’t ever happy. Over 300 merchants contribute to the list and is growing all the time. When a participating merchant uses the service, the customer’s information is matched against their database and the merchant is notified when a match has been made and what to do to rectify the situation as the transaction has been declined.

Consumers may get off the’s database list, but it will cost them a $99 fee. If the consumer has tried to resolve the dispute with the merchant directly, they are removed from the list at no charge. The service itself is funded mostly by other services the company offers.

Amex reports highest spending ever this year
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 20th, 2009

Amex may be returning to growth levels as a major credit card processing company by increasing its issuing as it has reached its highest growth rate this year.  Amex mentioned at a conference in NY recently that annual billings grew by 3% in October, the highest so far.  This is a lot better than compared to September, which saw a decline of more than 5% and 10% for August.  This is great news for ecommerce merchants everywhere.  This means they will be processing more orders as consumers are starting spend more, or at least with an Amex.  Even though Amex posted a disappointing 21% decline in income this recent 3rd qtr, the next qtr is looking a lot more positive.  Hopefully this shopping season will be a much better one for the economy as we really could use it right now.

Merchant’s complain in Utah about processing fees
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 20th, 2009

I recently heard a talk show that aired in Utah recently where the announcer talked about the fees merchants are paying for credit card processing. One of the complaints was merchants were claiming they can’t negotiate their rate. This isn’t true. They can up to the cost of Interchange. You can’t go below Interchange as it is the same for all companies, regardless of who your merchant account provider is. I can understand some merchants may be upset with the amount of money they are paying as there are some that do not have very competitive fees. However, there is a point when all of this starts to become too much and all the whining needs to end.

Take the recent 7Eleven that collected millions of signatures. They flat out admitted if Interchange was reduced, they are not going to reduce their prices. It is like everything else in business. We all want to cut costs so we increase our profits and unfortunately, Interchange is easy to single out because it is something that merchants pay on every credit card transaction. My advise to the merchant would be this. If you currently have $20,000 in credit card charges each month, how much of that would still be true if credit cards didn’t exist at all? You would only have cash and checks. Because of the way consumers use credit cards and live beyond their means, merchant’s sales are higher overall as a result of it. If credit cards didn’t exist, consumers would definitely be spending a whole lot less!

Some ecommerce myths & how you can avoid them
Posted by: Curtis Stevens on November 19th, 2009

I recently read an article that mentions some common myths when it comes to ecommerce and I’m going to evaluate them while giving my own opinion. The biggest one is you can never have too much information and that is completely false. When you give users too much data, too many choices, it can become overwhelming. Take a look at Dell’s computers. Look at how many choices they have when it comes to buying one and all the adjustments you can make. Now, look at Apple’s offerings and you will see everything streamlined to only a few choices. This is better in many aspects. Never miss an opportunity to cross-sell really only applies to retail purchases, like at a supermarket. Take for example. They are very careful when it comes to up-selling you. They never do it once you start checking out, but before you checkout, that is a great time to do it. They do not want you to get distracted. In a retail store, that can be totally different as you are physically in the store and it is not as easy as a click away to another web site.

Another myth is to display security logos during checkout on the page that shows the credit card processing like Visa & MasterCard. However, I’m not sure if I totally agree or disagree with this. Some may say a simple logo will ease any consumer’s concerns. It is however giving that company free advertising. Others would say you need to take more steps than that, such as create a page explaining what your company has done to ensure your customer’s information is secure.

Merchant Accounts | Credit Card Logos | Ecommerce Blog
Merchant Account Articles | Resources | Link-to-Us | Privacy Policy