Questions to Ask When Choosing a Payment Processor


Merchant account services for payment processing are a necessity in today’s competitive business environment. What business can afford to turn away customers because they don’t accept plastic?

Of course, choosing your payment processor requires some effort and time on your part. To get you started, TransFirst® offers the following questions that you should ask during the process:

What is a merchant account?

It’s a business arrangement that makes it possible for merchants and service providers to accept credit and debit cards as well as other forms of electronic payment from customers and clients. A merchant account is governed by a legally-binding contract, usually with a merchant services provider, or MSP (also referred to as a merchant account provider, credit card processor or payment processor). The MSP provides the merchant with the necessary processing technology, handles the authorization process and deposits transaction proceeds into the merchant’s bank account.

What are merchant services, and who provides them?

In the broadest sense of the term, merchant services are financial services intended for use by businesses. In our context, merchant services enable a business to accept electronic payments like credit, debit and prepaid cards. In addition to payment processing, services include point-of-sale systems, Internet payment gateways, check guarantee and check conversion, ACH check drafting services, gift and loyalty card programs and PCI compliance services. Merchant services can be provided by companies that specialize in them, independent sales organizations and some financial institutions.

Does it matter who I contract with for merchant services?

Yes, it certainly does! Products and services vary widely among the various categories of providers, as do application requirements. Also, some businesses are considered “high risk” and may be turned down outright by some providers. It’s best to choose a merchant services provider who deals in and understands your specific type of business.

Must I have a merchant account to accept credit cards?

If you contract with a full-service payment processor like TransFirst, you do. Contracts outline the obligations and protect the rights of both parties involved. Additionally, a payment processor offers products and services that can be customized to meet the unique needs of your business as well as your budget.

Hopefully this Q&A has made the process of choosing the right payment processor for your business a little easier. For answers to all your questions about merchant accounts and merchant services, talk to a TransFirst representative. We have the experience to guide you through the maze of credit card processing options to select just the right solution for your specific business needs.


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©2017 Total System Services, Inc. TSYS® is a federally registered service mark of Total System Services, Inc. All rights reserved. TSYS Merchant Solutions is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA; Synovus Bank, Columbus, GA, and First National Bank of Omaha, Omaha, NE. TSYS Business Solutions is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA; Synovus Bank, Columbus, GA; and Deutsche Bank, New York, NY for Visa and Mastercard transactions only.

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