Understanding How Merchant Credit Card Services Are Processed
A merchant account is a credit card account that a merchant opens with a bank, allowing the merchant to accept credit card orders from customers. This is the same as what you see on some web sites that sells things and stuffs.
There are various processing options provided by merchant credit card services providers: real-time Internet processing, retail-swipe terminal processing and computer-based processing.
Real-Time Internet Processing
This type of credit card service processing is ideal for businesses that transact business on the Internet. When a customer is ready to pay, they can click on the provided “checkout” link which leads to a secure page where they can provide their credit card information. A confirmation appears on the screen telling the customer whether the card is accepted or declined.
In two business days, the money is deposited in the merchant’s account. Real-time providers will then provide merchants with an online database showing all credit card transactions, making month-end accounting and balancing simple.
Real-time Internet processing is ideal for merchants who have lots of transactions every day, since it helps to automate the payment acceptance process. To further increase efficiency, real-time processing offers virtual terminals, allowing merchants to process orders manually from any location over the Internet.
Retail Swipe Terminal
Retail swipe terminals are ideal for most brick-and-mortar businesses, although POS (point of sale) software may also be used. POS terminals are used in “card present ” situations, where customers actually have their cards with them and swipe them through the termianl. This is the cheapest processing solution, usually costing a dollar per transaction. It also has the lowest risk of fraud, as customers are able to see their transaction. Most terminals require phone lines, although some that operate via airwaves or by cell phone. Portable POS terminals are ideal for situations such as trade shows, where there are no phone jacks available to connect a regular POS terminal.
Computer-based processing uses software that enables merchants to process all major credit cards, gift cards and check guarantee services on their own computers. The software processing helps in reducing fraud losses, saving time and money as well as providing powerful features that stand-alone terminals don’t provide.
Stu Pearson has an interest in Business and Finance related topics. To access more information on merchant services or on merchant account services, please click on the links.