Entries tagged with “Merchant Services”.


Recent reports indicate that small businesses tend to overlook the threat of a data security breach.  Controlscan, a company that specializes in assisting small and medium sized businesses with PCI compliance issues, recently completed a study in cooperation with Merchant Warehouse.  The findings indicate that close to 80% of the surveyed merchants felt that they had little to no risk of a breach.  What’s more, according to ControlScan’s CEO Joan Herbig, close to half of the merchants surveyed hadn’t even heard of the PCI DSS.  These findings indicate a serious lack of communication between ISOs and Acquirers and their small merchants.

Since 2006, all organizations that store, process, or transmit cardholder data have been required to comply with the data security requirements contained within the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard.  In fact, the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council has even created a microsite dedicated to educating small merchants on the PCI DSS and their obligations under that standard.  The ramifications of non-compliance are many and can be overwhelming even for large merchants.  Should a breach occur, the fines, fees, and penalties can quickly add up and in many cases have put companies out of business.

This post could easily take on an alarmist tone.  Some might say that it already has.  Regardless, though, small merchants must comply with the same set of standards to which large companies are beholden.  How can one do that with comparatively limited resources?  By trying to limit the places in the merchant system that store, process, and transmit cardholder data.  Using a solution that processes payment card transactions using point to point encryption (P2PE) and tokenization can serve two objectives – making the data more secure, and reducing the burden of complying with the PCI DSS.

If you are a small merchant and you haven’t heard about PCI DSS or aren’t sure what you should do, reach out to your ISO or Acquirer.  They can explain what the standard requires and how you can achieve compliance.

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This post is a bit of a departure from our normal tone.  While we generally try to avoid blatant sales and marketing on our blog, we do want to take the opportunity to help businesses when their processor is no longer available.  We understand the disruption this represents for businesses and to the extent that we can, we’d like to help minimize the hassle.

It was recently announced that Paymate would no longer offer payment processing for eBay sellers after July 31, 2012.  For many eBay sellers this news offers some significant challenges.  Many sellers prefer to offer their customers alternatives to the PayPal payment option.  This is true for a variety of reasons, chief among them simply providing choices and flexibility for their customers.  While Paymate is not closing and is still solvent, it has chosen to focus its efforts elsewhere, primarily on mobile payments.  In fact, according to the company, Paymate has chosen to stop offering payment processing services altogether.

For eBay sellers, though, there are still options if they’d like to accept payments through a company other than PayPal.  For the last three years, ProPay has offered eBay sellers an alternative.  ProPay offers a variety of benefits for both sellers and buyers.  Here are some of the benefits ProPay can offer:

No hidden fees Running a successful business can be hard enough, without wondering how much you’re going to pay on each transaction.  ProPay offers a consistent rate so that you always know how much you’re going to pay.  And there are no hidden compliance fees or gateway fees.

High levels of security – ProPay is validated against the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) on an annual basis.  This ensures that we are securing your payment data, and your customers’ data, according to industry standards.

Easy check-out process - Your buyers are not required to set-up an account or go through a lengthy registration process in order to complete a transaction.  This removes friction from the buying process and helps you convert browsers to buyers.

Live, friendly customer service – Our multi-lingual, US-based call center is staffed with friendly, knowledgeable agents who are excited to help you.

Dedicated risk professionals – ProPay’s risk team consists of experienced risk professionals who are dedicated to helping  protect you, the merchant, from fraudulent transactions.

If you would like to talk to one of our customer service representatives about our eBay services, please call us at 866.573.0951.  You can also learn more about our services by visiting our website.

Sometimes it is the small things that make a difference.  I had a conversation with a friend last week about the pros and cons of using a payment aggregator for processing, as opposed to a traditional merchant account.  While we had a pretty lengthy discussion ranging over a variety of topics, there was one detail that stuck in my colleague’s mind.  I had asked how her merchant name shows up on receipts.  She hadn’t thought about that before and said she was going to go back and check it out.  Sure enough, she said, the merchant name showed up as something that even she would have found difficult to recognize as her business.  Why does that matter?  One word – chargebacks.

Often when customers don’t recognize the name on their statement, they will call their issuing bank and chargeback the purchase. If your merchant name is not immediately recognizable to customers on their statements, you run the risk of getting hit with unnecessary chargebacks.  Not only does this result in one-time charges and fees to the merchant, but repeated chargebacks can result in increased fees and may even cause processors, whether traditional processors or aggregators, to suspend the merchant’s ability to process payments.

This is a fairly easy thing to check, and to fix.  If you are unable to change your merchant name, and there are some legitimate reasons why that might be the case, then make sure your customers know what to look for on their statements.  This can be done either as a message on the receipt or on your website.  If you have a storefront, you may place a sign next to the register.  Anything that might reduce the likelihood of confusion on your customers’ part can help you reduce the likelihood of chargebacks.

Part of running a successful business is creating a great customer service experience for your customers. This includes a seamless customer interaction and offering great customer service. Sometimes, this means giving your customer a partial or full refund.  Fortunately, refunding a transaction is a simple process that only takes a minute to complete.

Here are the quick steps to refunding a transaction:

  1. Log into your ProPay Account
  2. Locate the transaction needing to be refunded by using the Completed Transaction report, Pending Transaction report, or Advanced Transaction Search
  3. Click the Transaction number
  4. Enter the amount to be refunded in the refund box
  5. Click Refund Transaction to submit the refund.

That’s it! You will receive a Refund Successful message if the refund was completed with no problems. Likewise, if the refund was unsuccessful you will receive a message stating what went wrong. To further enhance your customer’s experience, let them know the refund will take approximately 5-7 business days to complete.  This will help ensure your customers have a great experience and help you avoid a possible chargeback in the future.

Many small businesses recognize the importance of having a merchant account.  Having such an account allows the business to accept payment cards in lieu of cash or checks.  Studies have shown that accepting payment cards can increase conversion and increase the average ticket size – both great thing for small businesses.  But how many businesses know what really happens when you swipe that card or key in that number?  The process is actually much more complex than one might think.  Following is a quick and dirty description of how a payment is actually processed.

1) The consumer presents the card as a method of payment for goods or services.

2) The merchant sends the transaction to the acquiring bank.  The acquiring bank is the bank that provides the merchant account.

3) The Acquirer sends the transaction to the card brand networks and eventually to the issuing bank.  The issuing bank is the bank that provides the card to the consumer.

4) The issuer sends a message of approval if the cardholder has enough balance on their cards to cover the cost of the transaction or a denial if the balance is not sufficient.

5) The issuer sends the payment to the merchant.

Now, as I stated earlier, this is the very simplified version of the process. Different sources list anywhere from 7-11 different steps in the process.  In addition, the process laid out above doesn’t include  3rd party service providers, back office providers, and others that may assist in the transaction process.  It can quickly get very complex.  Hopefully, this summary has answered some questions about how transactions are processed.  Though some magic surely happens, it a pretty linear process involving a number of different organizations and networks.  If you have any questions about how the process works, or any of the steps in the process, please let us know.  We’ll be happy to answer whatever we can.

Dr. Heather Mark, PhD; SVP Market Strategy