Any type of business large or small has a need for payment processing solutions. Regardless of the size of a company it can be particularly difficult to find a solid payment processor. There are a large number of solutions out there that claim to either be the best or the most cost effective. It is important for any merchant to truly understand the types of options available for them to accept payment from their customers.
What is a Merchant Account
A merchant account is a bank account that offers a merchant to accept credit cards on behalf of their customers. Many businesses get a merchant account as a cost-effective credit card processing solution when in need of a way of accepting payments from their customers. It is a highly convenient way for customers to make payments and also doubles as a way to obtain the funds. Businesses sign up for merchant accounts from a merchant services provider.
Credit cards are the most common way in which customers are making purchases both in a store and online. Many also use credit cards to pay over the phone and in some cases in the mail via information slips. There are many different ways credit cards are used to charge customers as it is both an industry standard and a secure way in most cases.
Checks at one point where the standard for accepting payments from your clients. At one point more checks were written than cash transactions. Checks gave consumers the ability to write out the amount of the transaction to make their payment rather than having to visit their bank to withdraw the amount from their account to present to the business in person. Larger transactions at one point in time were particularly painful to handle as a result.
Most business bank accounts provide their customers with a method of accepting checks. Businesses can bring their checks to the bank to have processed. Another method involves a check scanner or taking pictures using a smart phone to deposit the amount directly into their bank account.
Automated Clearing House
The automated clearing house, also referred to as the ASC system, provides a method of payment which withdraws directly from a customer’s bank account to deposit into the bank account of the merchant. ACH processing is a cost effective method employed by many financial institutions in the United States as a way of processing bulk payments. While the system is not updated in real time, it will post within a merchant’s business account within a number of days.
ACH processing generally involves a proof of permission to withdraw the amount from the particular bank account prior to the transaction being allowed. There are multiple stages in which a transaction is carried out before it reaches the merchant.
PCI Compliance Services
Merchants are always expected to protect the personal and financial information of every single customer they do business with. Whether the customer is a consumer or is a business it is not only important but required by law that the merchant respect certain standards to ensure that information is being properly secured and transmitted. The PCI DSS standards have been created as a means to ensure businesses are taking the security of their customer information seriously.
PCI compliance services aim to assist businesses by helping them through the 12 steps that must be followed for a merchant to meet the requirements set by PCI DSS.