Frequently Asked Questions
How do I open a merchant account?
Please contact our office to open a merchant account. One of our team members would be glad to assist you with completing the application. Once the application has been submitted, it normally takes one to three business days before the account is approved and equipment shipped out, provided you meet the underwriter’s credit criteria. Our trained account executives will listen to your needs and recommend solutions to help you surpass your business objectives.
What are the costs for your processing and other services?
Because each of our customers has unique needs, our processing services are customized according to the specifics of their business. Pricing is based on factors such as type of industry, method in which payments are accepted, card types accepted, monthly volume and a number of other variables. To receive a personalized pricing quote from one of our helpful representatives, you would simply need to forward us your most recent processing statement.
I want to begin accepting payments with credit cards. What kind of hardware do I need?
Many factors determine the kind of hardware you will need, including: type of merchant account you want to establish (e.g., ecommerce, retail or direct market), the type of industry you’re in, how many transactions you have a day, type of transactions you’ll be processing, how many locations your business has, etc. Once we have all of this information, we will be better able to advise you on the type of equipment you’ll need to be able to process credit cards.
I already have a credit card terminal. Can I just reprogram it to work with PPS?
In many cases, you may be able to use the equipment you already own. To find out, we would need to confirm your current terminal equipment type and verify whether it is supported by our processor.
As a merchant, what types of credit cards can I accept?
Most merchant terminals support MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover, Diners Club/Carte Blanche and JCB cards. Although we can support all credit card types, our processors only have the ability to process settlement (payment to merchants) for MasterCard, Visa, DC/CB, Discover and JCB. When processing with an established AMEX SE number, all transactions will be paid out directly by AMEX, unless we have requested via the application to establish a new AMEX SE number that is directly issued by the processor.
I want to start conducting transactions over the Internet. Do I need to set up a new account or can I just use my existing account?
If you already have a merchant account, a separate merchant outlet number will be provided for your online store. You would complete a new application for the additional location to be submitted and approved. We can provide you with chain reporting so you can have both a separate and consolidated view of your company’s credit card processing activity.
How long does it take to set up a merchant account?
The time it takes to establish a merchant account depends on several factors including: completeness of the application submitted, accuracy of the information provided and any required additional paperwork. Generally, if all support documentation is correct, the approval is process is between 24-72 business hours. After your application has been approved, we confirm an installation and training time that is conducive to your schedule.
Will my merchant account be approved with a processing limit?
Merchant accounts are approved based on actual or projected dollar volume. The processors monitors account activity and reserve the right to review accounts at any time should volume be significantly above or below the level represented on the merchant application.
Why does PPS’s Processor need to review my credit information?
When you apply for a merchant account, you are essentially applying for an unsecured line of credit. When a transaction takes place, the cardholder is debited and the merchant is credited for the amount of the transaction. The cardholder still has chargeback rights and can dispute the transaction for up to 90 days. When a cardholder initiates a chargeback with a valid reason code, the funds are automatically taken from the merchant’s account and credited back to the cardholder. The Processor wants to ensure that each potential merchant is financially sound, has a viable business and is operating in good faith and standing, so these disputes can be resolved with the merchant.
How do I receive payment for the transactions I submit to the Processor?
Using Automated Clearing House (ACH), the Processor will remit funds due for your MasterCard, Visa, Diners Card/Carte Blanche and JCB transactions to your business bank account, and AMEX and Discover, if they are newly issued SE numbers associated to the processing account. When/if you establish a service agreement with American Express and/or Discover directly; these issuers will obtain your banking information and pay funds to your bank account.
How can I view my account information?
All of PPS’s processor’s offers several online and offline tools to access information about your merchant account. With these tools you can view, download and import account information such as transaction activity, deposits, funding, chargebacks, retrievals and statement information.
When should I inform my current payment processor that I will be closing my account?
You should wait until your account is set up to process your transactions through PPS’s processor. Once you’re ready to process with us, you should inform your previous provider to avoid any unnecessary fees.
Can a merchant outside the U.S. apply for a merchant account with PPS?
Yes, merchants with a legal presence in the US or Canada (direct response only) can be accepted for merchant services. However, we do specialize in high-risk accounts and offer off shore merchant services.
What kind of training do you provide?
We provide various training for our customers. We provide initial telephone training and continuing education for our merchants. You’ll also receive training guides and user manuals to help you become acquainted with products and services. In addition to initial training, we’ll also provide you a contact reference sheet that may be helpful to you during our relationship, and we will update you on industry-related rule and regulatory changes.
What is check verification? Do I need it?
Check verification is a service that provides merchants with varying degrees of insurance against bad check losses by verifying the authenticity of each check and/or its presenter. Checks are verified through a national database gathered from retailers who upload bad check information. While check verification service is not required, this service does help keep your business losses to a minimum. In addition, I would also like to let you know that check service does not ensure that a cardholders money is available, it simply verifies that the checking account is valid. To first begin accepting check service, you will need to establish an account with Tele-check services, as they offer variety packages that include different check service features. Once you have established an account, Tele-check will provide you a terminal id number (more commonly referred to as a TID), that we upload into your terminal that will allow for your merchant account to accept checks. In addition, there depending on your terminal type, you may need to purchase a check reader to work in conjunction with your terminal or you may opt for an all inclusive terminal that will process both credit card transactions and checks. The only true way to confirm if funds are available is when a card holder uses a debit card for purchase.
What are commercial cards?
Commercial cards – corporate, business, purchasing – are issued to businesses as an alternative way of financing expenses such as supplies, T&E, etc. (often replacing purchase orders). These cards also provide users with specific reporting advantages. By using a commercial card, cardholders get itemized records of all their purchases, which simplify reimbursement procedures and helps track expenses. This specialized reporting is possible because specific data is captured at the point of sale. MasterCard, Visa and Discover each provide issuers with the ability to issue commercial card products. Merchants will always pay higher rate for commercial cards.
What is the difference between online debit and offline debit?
The difference between these two debit choices is whether a PIN (personal identification number) is used at the point of sale. When a PIN is used the transaction becomes “online” and funds are immediately withdrawn from the cardholder’s available funds. When an offline debit transaction occurs, funds are not withdrawn until the transaction processes – usually 2-4 days after the sale. Debit card transactions are the fastest growing point-of-sale payment method today. The acceptance of this payment method continues to remain popular because customers and merchants both appreciate the convenience and ease of using debit cards to purchase merchandise and services.
What are debit cards?
Debit cards at the point of sale are an alternative payment method. When goods or services are purchased with an ATM Debit Card, the funds are removed from the customer’s checking account. In addition to the standard ATM cards, many banks also issue the Visa Check Card and/or MasterCard’s Master Money Card – both of which can be used in either an online or offline debit arena.
What are interchange fees?
Interchange fees are transaction-related costs that the processor pays to the issuer of the card as compensation. These fees are established by MasterCard, Visa and Discover and are based upon how a transaction takes place and in what type of industry. Interchange fee is a term used in the payment card industry to describe a fee that a merchant’s bank (the “acquiring bank”) pays a customer’s bank (the “issuing bank”) when merchants accept cards using card networks such as Visa and MasterCard for purchases. In a credit card transaction, the card-issuing bank in a payment transaction deducts the interchange fee from the amount it pays the acquiring bank that handles a credit or debit card transaction for a merchant. The acquiring bank then pays the merchant the amount of the transaction minus both the interchange fee and an additional, usually smaller fee for the acquiring bank or ISO, which is often referred to as a discount rate, an add-on rate, or pass thru.
What is a private label card?
A private label card is a credit card issued under the name of a particular merchant organization. Merchants offer it as an incentive for cardholders to spend money at their businesses. Cardholders receive benefits (special discounts, deferred payment schedules, frequency points, etc.) for using the private label card instead of Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express. Private label cards carry the insignia of the merchant issuing the card.
What is a stored value program?
Magnetic Stripe Cards (EGC-Gift Cards) – The merchant gives a consumer an electronic stored value card in exchange for some kind of pre-payment. Typically, the card includes a magnetic stripe, the merchant’s name or logo and an account number.
Transaction Processing/Online Administration – The merchant can process stored value transactions from the point of sale. These transactions are delivered to the processor’s authorization system for processing in real-time, which is where account balances are maintained for all cards.
Merchant Reporting – You will receive reporting that provides information about the transactions processed during a period of time and the outstanding balances of your customers.
What is Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)?
EBT is the automation of cash or cash-like benefits through electronic authorization, data capture and settlement processes. This is accomplished with the use of plastic magnetic-striped cards at the point-of-sale terminal. The end result is the elimination of coupon benefits distribution. The electronic process results in increased security, thereby reducing fraud and benefit misuse.
The US Government has mandated that all federal financial support services and entitlements be distributed through direct electronic deposit by the year 2002.
What is Electronic Check Processing (ECP)?
ECP is a transaction via ACH (Automated Clearing House) or facsimile draft sent by a merchant to directly debit or credit a customer’s checking or savings account. ECP processing is often used for recurring payments, such as monthly membership fees and are available in the United States and Canada.