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A Guide To Understanding Merchant Account Rates & Fees
By: Bobi Michaelson
By understanding the true costs associated with merchant
account pricing, you can make an educated decision as to
which merchant account is really best for your needs.
You have opened your business and realize that accepting
credit cards will increase your sales dramatically. It is
now time to choose the merchant account that will be best
Youve received emails, postcards and have surfed the
Internet and have seen some great promotions. Which of these
merchant account providers will give you a good deal? Before
signing any merchant account agreement it is important to
understand all of the rates and fees that will be associated
with your account.
Qualified Discount Rate This is the percentage that will
be charge on all of your credit card sales.
Swiped credit cards will have a lower discount rate due to
the fact that the cardholder is present and the risk is
Keyed credit cards will have a higher discount rate due to
the fact that there is more risk involved in accepting the
credit card due to the fact that the cardholder is not
Mid & Non-Qualified Surcharge These surcharges are very
important to understand, as some Visa/Mastercard
transactions will have an additional surcharge applied to
the qualified discount rate.
Mid-Qualified Surcharge applies to swiped merchants only.
When a credit card is swiped and the magnetic strip cannot
be read in the terminal, you will key in the transaction.
When you have a telephone order, mail order or Internet
order, you will key in the transaction. A surcharge will be
applied to the transaction. In other words, if your
qualified rate is 1.66% and your Mid-Qualified surcharge is
.85%, you will pay 1.66% + .85% = 2.51% for that
Non-Qualified Surcharge applies to both swiped and keyed
merchants. Whenever a corporate or foreign card is used, or
you do not utilize the Address Verification System when
keying in a credit card, the Non-Qualified Surcharge will
apply. In other words, if your qualified rate is 2.39% and
your Non Qualified surcharge is 1.95%, you will pay 2.39% +
1.95% = 4.34% for that transaction.
Transaction Fee Merchant providers will also charge a per
transaction fee on each of your sales. Some providers will
also include a per item fee, or a watts fee in addition to
the transaction fee. Make sure you understand the true cost
of the transaction fee structure.
Address Verification System (AVS) Address Verification
applies to keyed transactions. The AVS determines whether
the street address and zip code is actually a match for the
cardholder. AVS does not work for foreign transactions. The
AVS fee is a separate fee charged for each transaction.
Travel & Entertainment Cards American Express, Discover,
Diners and JCB are considered non-bank cards. The
transaction fee for these cards is normally called a T&E
fee, or a non-bankcard transaction fee. You will incur this
transaction fee each time one of these car....[MORE]
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| SunTrust Banks, Inc.
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