When you set up your merchant credit card processing account, there are many questions you want to ask. How much will each transaction cost you? What are the discount fees? Can you convert your traditional account to one that also works online? How long will your contract be? One thing many people do not think to ask about is which credit and debit cards will be accepted.
Sorry – We Do not Accept …
In one form or another, almost every person can qualify for a Visa card these days. If your terminal only processes Visa and MasterCard though, you are likely to miss out on a lot of sales. Other cards, such as Discover and American Express, are just as common in some areas of the country, and not being able to take them, cuts you off at the synagogues.
There was a time when you actually needed a separate terminal to process some cards. Today, that is not the case, thankfully, and you can swipe all major credit cards in the same terminal. However, since the card issuing company determines the fees charged for processing transactions charged on their cards, you may very well find that while you can swipe a Discover or Amex card with any terminal, you will pay more for the privilege. Ask about it before you start taking every form of payment.
What About the Little Cards?
Diner's Club, JCB, and China Union Pay are all smaller credit cards that are handled periodically. Diner's Club is usually able to pass through an American terminal, but the other two are questionable.
Gift cards should be able to process through your terminal; although some of them require the customer to know exactly what their balance is if they want to use the entire amount on the card.
Check with your merchant credit card processing company if these are important issues for your business. The goal of credit card processing and merchant accounts is to make business simpler, more convenient, and faster for both business owners and consumers. Make sure you understand exactly what you are getting and what you will be charged when you set up your account.