Accepting Credit Cards
Need to accept credit cards? Confused by the whole process?
It's understandable. It is confusing, but we're here to help.
We've partnered with some great companies including Total Merchant Services (TMS), Authorize.net and Global Payments, Inc. Our solution works seamlessly
with the Miva Merchant e-commerce software, but does not have to
be used exclusively with Miva Merchant.
There are 4 key players in setting up a Merchant Account.
1. YOUR BANK
You need to establish a checking account at a bank so that
payments collected by the processor can be directly deposited
into your account. This can be a local bank or a national bank.
Try to negotiate the best deal you can. In most cases you do not
need a special checking account, so even the bare minimum will do
the job. You probably already have a checking account.
2. THE AUTHORIZATION GATEWAY
This company provides the check to make sure the credit card
being used is valid and has enough money to complete the
transaction. Our solution uses Authorize.net for the real-time authorization
Authorize.net setup is FREE with our merchant account solution.
Authorize.net also provides a free "Virtual Terminal." This is
a secure, password protected page where you can enter credit
card transactions manually. This is great when you take an order
by FAX or over the phone.
3. THE TRANSACTION PROCESSOR
The "Transaction Processor" is the company that actually takes the money from the
credit card and puts it into your checking account. Our solution uses
Global Payments, Inc (GPI).
4. THE MERCHANT ACQUIRER
The "Merchant Acquirer" is basically the coordinator
that helps you establish and setup all the services above (except for your bank checking account). Our solution uses Total Merchant Services (TMS) as the merchant acquirer. TMS does business in huge volume so they are able to offer you lower rates and fees than you could get if you contacted these companies directly.
WHAT ABOUT AMEX AND DISCOVER?
American Express and Discover have their own
rates. Each of these companies require you to sign up to accept
their credit cards individually. TMS will help you establish
accounts with each of these companies if desired. There are no additional fees through
Authorize.net or GPI to accept and process these other card
types although Amex and Discover may have an initial setup fee. You are not obligated to accept Amex or Discover cards.
WHAT ARE THE COSTS AND FEES?
All fess will be billed to you by Total Merchant Services (TMS).
Setup Fees: NONE
Per Transaction Fee: $.25
Visa/MasterCard Rate: 2.29%
Amex/Discover/Other Rate: Per case basis
Monthly Statement Fee: $7.50
Monthly Gateway Fee: $10.00
Minimum Monthly Processing Fee: $25.00
So, if you have no transactions in a month, it would still cost
you $42.50. This is actually quite good, see below.
Our goal in finding a solution to offer our customers was to
keep the startup fee low and keep the monthly fees as low as
possible. Many new businesses have no sales at all for the
first few months. So, we wanted the lowest possible monthly
fee for the situation where no cards were processed.
With the Total Merchant Services solution you'll only pay $42.50 per
month if you have no activity. Comparable solutions are
upwards of $75.00 per month. In addition, the free setup is unbeatable.
Comparable solutions have setup fees as high as $650.00!
If you are fortunate enough to grow and have lots of
transactions per month, you can contact TMS and ask them to
review your situation, often they will be able to lower the per
transaction and discount rates.
Interested in getting started? Go directly to Total Merchant Services secure on-line application.
Once you complete the application you will be contacted to confirm the information. You'll be asked if you'd like to setup American Express and Discover merchant accounts, and all fees will be explained. You'll have a chance to ask any questions you have at that time as well.