Proper Use of Your Merchant Account

Monday, November 17, 2014


There are lots of ways cash flow can be affected in business.  Let's make sure the way you are using your own merchant account is NOT one of them!

When you first open your merchant account, you should be walked through some basic usage guidelines (We have a 29 Step Installation Checklist here at TMC), to make sure you are using your account properly.  Not adhering to some basic guidelines can cost you and your customers lots of frustration, time & money. Here are some ideas to assist you in making sure that you steer clear of the common pitfalls that can interupt your cash flow!

Keep Your Paperwork Handy

For starters, we recommend that you keep your Merchant Application, and any starting paperwork in a file where you can easily access it. These important documents clearly line out things that are important to the way you use your account!

Know Your Processing Parameters

  • Average Ticket:  How much is your processor expecting to see each time you process a single transaction?  Running transactions well above your approved average ticket can result in forced returns and having your funds held.
  • Monthly/Annual Volume:  Your account was approved for a certain amount of processing.  If  you exceed your monthly or annual processing volume, your funds can be held.  Stay in close communication with your processor when you are producing more than you were approved for to prevent interuption of cash flow!
  • Only Use Your Account For Approved Purchases:  Your merchant application lists the items the processor has approved for you to sell. Accepting credit cards for items outside of the approved list can definitely result in funds being held or your account being turned off.  
    If you add items, change the scope of your business or need to modify your list, be sure to let your processor know BEFORE you accept cards for the new items.

Monitor Retrieval Requests/Chargebacks/Disputes

Anytime your customers dispute a charge or request a copy of a signed receipt, delays in responding can result in having monies debited from your account.  Keep your receipts organized by date and be sure you respond immediately if a customer needs a copy.  If the retrieval turns into a dispute, you only have a limited amount of time to reply so get your response in ASAP.  Processors also monitor the number of chargebacks you have.  When the number gets too high- your account can be in jeopardy of being closed.

NO Cash Advances

You never want to run your own card through your merchant account.  Processors will require that you process a return and they will turn off your account if cash advance activity continues.

Knowing how to Properly Use Your Merchant Account can really help make accepting credit cards an easy process for you and for your customer!  If you have any questions related to this topic or any others, please feel free to call our office or submit your question on our web site or via Facebook.


Cheri Perry 11/17/2014

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