Mercury Payment Systems - Questions
kind of Internet connection is required?
it cost more than my current credit card processing?
it hard to change processors?
it safe? Is it reliable?
General Credit Card
Processing - Questions
type of transactions are supported?
long does it take to get my money?
do you do a credit check? Why do you need my financials?
long does it take to get set up?
do you charge my account for fees?
types of cards can I accept from customers? Can you set up my business
to accept all of them?
is "interchange" and how does it work?
am I being charged three different rates?
can't I charge a surcharge? Can the government charge a surcharge?
I refuse to take the more expensive cards like Visa Premier?
am I paying mid-qualified and non-qualified rates?
long does it take to set up a merchant account?
my merchant account be approved with a processing limit?
does Mercury need to review my credit information?
does a merchant receive payment for the transactions submitted to
should I inform my current payment processor that I will be closing my
is check verification? Do I need it?
are interchange fees?
are debit cards?
is the difference between online debit and offline debit?
are commercial cards?
is a private label card?
is a stored value program?
is Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)?
can I get the lowest interchange rate?
can I recognize suspicious customer behavior?
else can we do to protect our business against fraud?
What to do if you are suspicious about a card or the cardholder
is a Chargeback?
What are the top 10 reasons for chargeback's?
What kind of Internet connection is required?
While the best performance will be achieved with a
DSL or cable connection, a dial-up connection will still produce less
than 5 second transactions.
Does it cost more than my current credit card processing?
No. Even though its much, much faster, it is also
cheaper than almost any dial-up plan. Your dealer will ask for your
current credit card statements and get you a rate as good or better than
what you currently pay now.
Is it hard to
No. Your registers will work just like they do
now. Painless! Plus there is an optional browser based system for
reviewing batches and transactions.
Is it safe? Is it
All transactions are heavily encrypted. There is
redundancy on all major system components. Your transactions will be
safe and faster than ever before!
of transactions are supported?
Amex, Visa, MC, Discover, Debit, Check Cards,
Check Guarantee, EBT, Gift cards, and Loyalty programs.
does it take to get my money?
Funds are electronically settled within two business
days. Some high-risk businesses may have different settlement options.
Why do you do a credit check? Why do you need my financials?
Credit checks are required by Visa® and MasterCard®
and are necessary to determine if the business owners are financially sound.
Financial stability is the most critical component of the approval process.
How long does
it take to get set up?
It takes approximately eight to ten business days to
get set up, depending on the type of processing you do.
When do you
charge my account for fees?
Your account will be charged for all appropriate fees
on or around the fifth of the month following the activity, via an Automated
Clearing House (ACH) transaction. The detail of your fees will appear on
your merchant statement that you will receive the first full business week
of the month following the activity.
What types of cards can I accept from customers? Can you set up my business
to accept all of them?
Yes. You can accept Visa®, MasterCard®, American
Express®, Discover®, JCB® and debit cards.
"interchange" and how does it work?
Interchange is the fee associated with exchange of
transaction data between Acquiring and Issuing institutions in accordance
with the Visa and MasterCard bylaws and rules. It is the fee that Visa and
MasterCard charge to clear your transaction to the cardholder bank. The
interchange fee is actually paid to the bank that issued the card while the
merchant's bank is charged the interchange fee. Merchant transactions are
gathered for processing every night, these transactions are routed to the
cardholders to be charged and merchants are credited accordingly.
am I being charged three different rates?
It is necessary to maintain three separate rates in
the pricing process, due to various levels of interchange. This fee varies
depending on the way you are conducting business, your business type and the
type of cards that are processed at your point of sale. Interchange is the
largest expense component of our pricing. Our three tiered rates allow for
the proper pricing as it relates to each individual transaction and its
Why can't I charge a surcharge? Can the government charge a surcharge?
Surcharging credit card transactions is strictly
prohibited by the Card Associations. A merchant may, however, offer
discounts for cash transactions provided it is clearly disclosed to
cardholders as a cash discount and the cash price is presented as a discount
from the standard price available for all other means of payment.
Can I refuse to take the more expensive cards like Visa Premier?
No. Once you enter into a Merchant Agreement you must
display the Visa and MasterCard registered marks and accept all valid Visa
or MasterCard cards properly presented for payment.
Why am I paying mid-qualified and non-qualified rates?
Visa & MasterCard have different interchange
requirements based on industry type and method of transmission. Transactions
that do not meet these requirements are billed at mid-qualified or
non-qualified rates. Review the Visa and MasterCard Interchange
Qualification Criteria to ensure your transactions are being processed
How long does it take to set up a merchant account?
The time it takes to establish a merchant account
depends on several factors including: completeness of the application
submitted, accuracy of the information provided and any required additional
paperwork. After your application has been approved, it usually takes just a
few days to establish the actual account. (Canadian and international
processing set-ups are completed in 10 days to two weeks.)
Will my merchant account be approved with a processing limit?
Merchant accounts are approved based on actual or
projected dollar volume. Mercury monitors account activity and reserves the
right to review accounts at any time should volume be significantly above or
below the level represented on the merchant application.
Why does Mercury need to review my credit information?
When you apply for a merchant account, you are
essentially applying for an unsecured line of credit. When a transaction
takes place, the cardholder is debited and the merchant is credited for the
amount of the transaction. The cardholder still has chargeback rights and
can dispute the transaction for up to 90 days. When a cardholder initiates a
chargeback with a valid reason code, the funds are automatically taken from
the merchant's account and credited back to the cardholder. Mercury wants to
ensure that each potential merchant is financially sound, has a viable
business and is operating in good faith and standing, so these disputes can
be resolved with the merchant.
How does a merchant receive payment for the transactions submitted to
Using Automated Clearing House (ACH), Mercury will
remit funds due for MasterCard, Visa, JCB and Discover transactions to a
merchant’s business bank account . When/if a merchant establishes a service
agreement with American Express, these issuers will also obtain their
banking information and pay funds to their bank account.
When should I inform my current payment processor that I will be closing my
You should wait until your account is set up to
process your transactions through Mercury. Once you're ready to process with
us, you can inform your previous provider.
check verification? Do I need it?
Check verification is a service that provides
merchants with varying degrees of insurance against bad check losses by
verifying the authenticity of each check and/or its presenter. Checks are
verified through a national database gathered from retailers who upload bad
check information. While check verification service is not required, this
service does help keep your business losses to a minimum.
What are interchange
Interchange fees are transaction-related costs that
Mercury pays to the issuer of the card as compensation. These fees are
established by MasterCard and Visa and are based upon how a transaction
takes place and in what type of industry.
What are debit cards?
Debit cards at the point of sale are an alternative
payment method. When goods or services are purchased with an ATM debit card,
the funds are removed from the customer's checking account. In addition to
the standard ATM cards, many banks also issue the Visa Check Card and/or
MasterCard's Master Money Card - both of which can be used in either an
online or offline debit arena.
What is the difference between online debit and offline debit?
The difference between these two debit choices is
whether a PIN (personal identification number) is used at the point of sale.
When a PIN is used the transaction becomes "online" and funds are
immediately withdrawn from the cardholder's available funds. When an offline
debit transaction occurs, funds are not withdrawn until the transaction
processes - usually 2-4 days after the sale. Debit card transactions are the
fastest growing point-of-sale payment method today. The acceptance of this
payment method continues to remain popular because customers and merchants
both appreciate the convenience and ease of using debit cards to purchase
merchandise and services.
What are commercial
Commercial cards - (corporate, business, purchasing)
- are issued to businesses as an alternative way of financing expenses such
as supplies, T&E, etc. These cards also provide users with specific
reporting advantages. By using a commercial card, cardholders get itemized
records of all their purchases, which simplifies reimbursement procedures
and helps track expenses. This specialized reporting is possible because
specific data is captured at the point of sale. MasterCard and Visa each
provide issuers with the ability to issue commercial card products.
What is a private
A private label card is a credit card issued under
the name of a particular merchant organization. Merchants offer it as an
incentive for cardholders to spend money at their businesses. Cardholders
receive benefits (special discounts, deferred payment schedules, frequency
points, etc.) for using the private label card instead of Visa, MasterCard
or American Express. Private label cards carry the insignia of the merchant
issuing the card.
What is a stored
A stored value program allows you to offer your
customers a proprietary card pre-loaded with value for future purchases.
Although there are many different applications for stored value cards (gift
card, merchandise return, pre-pay), they all share some common components:
Magnetic Stripe Cards - The merchant gives a consumer
an electronic stored value card in exchange for some kind of
pre-payment. Typically, the card includes a magnetic stripe, the
merchant's name or logo and an account number.
Transaction Processing - The merchant can process
stored value transactions from the point of sale. These transactions are
delivered to Mercury's authorization system for processing in real-time,
which is where account balances are maintained for all cards.
- Merchant Reporting - You
will receive reporting that provides information about the transactions
processed during a period of time and the outstanding balances of your
Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)?
EBT is the automation of cash or cash-like benefits
through electronic authorization, data capture and settlement processes.
This is accomplished with the use of plastic magnetic-striped cards at the
point-of-sale terminal. The end result is the elimination of coupon benefits
distribution. The electronic process results in increased security, thereby
reducing fraud and benefit misuse.
The US Government has mandated that all federal
financial support services and entitlements be distributed through direct
electronic deposit by the year 2002.
I get the lowest interchange rate?
In order for a merchant to qualify for the lowest
processing fee for a particular transaction, the card's magnetic stripe must
be read by the terminal (i.e. cardholder is present) and sales must be
deposited and settled daily. The processing rate will be higher for a
transaction manually keyed or not deposited and settled through the terminal
until the next day.
How can I recognize suspicious customer behavior?
Be alert for the customer who:
- Makes indiscriminate purchases
without regard to size, style, color, or price
- Makes purchases, leaves the
establishment, and returns to make additional purchases
- Hurries you to complete the sale
at closing time
- Refuses free delivery for large
What else can we do to protect our business against fraud?
- Always verify that the signature
belongs to the presenter
- Do not accept any cards which
have not been signed
- Your terminal/computer should
prompt you to enter the last four digits of the account number to verify
that the account number on the magnetic stripe is correct or your
terminal may display the entire card number for comparison to that on
the front of the card. If your terminal does not prompt for this, call
the terminal help desk and ask for this feature.
What to do if you are suspicious about a card or the cardholder
Call the voice authorization center and request a
"Code 10" authorization. By saying "I have a 'Code 10' authorization," you
put the center on alert without letting the customer know you are
suspicious. They will give you further instructions.
What is a Chargeback?
A "chargeback" is a dispute usually originated by
a customer or the customer's credit card issuing bank and subsequently
debited to the merchant's deposit account. A chargeback to the merchant
may occur when a cardholder does not recognize the transaction or
disputes the following:
Participation in the transaction or sale;
performance and/or quality of the merchandise or services;
delivery of the merchandise and/or services;
breach of any term, condition, representation, and warranty of the
amount of the charge.
#1. Failure of merchant to
respond to retrieval request
This is the single most frequent cause of
chargeback's. Fortunately, this is often the easiest to prevent. Simply keep
copies of your sales transactions and respond to any and all "Media" or
Retrieval" requests by sending copies of sales drafts immediately. Card
issuers are responsible for initiating copy requests. Usually they are
initiated to resolve billing disputes or to comply with a subpoena.
Fulfilling copy requests is very important. When requests are not fulfilled
within the prescribed time period, they almost always result in a
chargeback. A chargeback for not responding to a copy request is
non-reversible per Visa/MasterCard regulations. So it is in your best
interest to respond quickly to copy requests.
#2. Cardholder was billed more
than once for the same transaction
To avoid duplicate processing, reconcile your
batches daily and ensure that the register/terminal totals match the credit
card receipts for the day. If you do receive a legitimate duplicate
processing chargeback, do not issue a direct credit to the cardholder - the
credit will automatically be applied.
#3. Cardholder denies making or
authorizing a transaction
Make sure all transactions (other than mail/phone
order) are magnetically swiped or imprinted. Again, timely submission of a
copy of the properly completed and signed sales slip along with a written
explanation of the validity of the charge will be needed to try to reverse a
chargeback. If the disputed transaction is a phone or mail order sale, the
order form and signed delivery receipt from any courier or handler will also
#4. Failure of merchant to
follow correct procedures in completing the sales slip at the point-of-sale
The sales slip must include both a cardholder
signature and the card account number to be valid. The account number must
be obtained directly from an imprint of the card itself or from
electronically reading the magnetic stripe. Manually entering the account
number does not protect you from a no-imprint chargeback even if the sales
slip is signed.
#5. Account numbers don't match
After swiping a card, if the card number
displayed does not match the number embossed on the face of the card, ask
for a different form of payment. Always print and double-check the account
number on all phone and mail orders. Accepting non-matching transactions
will leave you vulnerable to chargebacks.
#6. A credit or refund was not
Credits must be processed correctly and on time.
Make your customers aware of your credit/refund policy at the time of
purchase. Have the policy printed on your sales slips directly above the
cardholder's signature in accordance with Association policy. Issue credits
only to the same account numbers to which the sales were made - refunds paid
in cash or merchandise, or to a different account number, will not protect
you from this type of chargeback.
#7. Failure to obtain proper
Be sure to authorize all transactions, and
accurately record the approval code on the sales slip. If your request for
authorization is declined, do not attempt to re-authorize transactions to
the same account number, as subsequent approval may not protect you from a
#8. A card was used either
before or after its valid date
Never process a transaction on a card prior to,
or after, the valid date. Instead, ask for a different form of payment.
#9. Merchandise or service not
received by cardholder
Sales transactions must not be processed prior to
delivery of the product purchased. Proof of delivery, signed by the
cardholder, should be obtained for every credit card transaction in which
the merchandise or service is not delivered immediately at the
point-of-sale. Such proof of delivery may be your only defense if a
#10. Cardholder disputes
quality of merchandise or services
Ensure that your customers are aware of your
return policy at the time of purchase. Stick to your policy. Display the
policy at the point-of-sale and print it on your sales slips, directly above
the cardholder signature.