Merchant Accounts - Mercury Payment Systems
What kind of Internet Connection is required?
While the best performance will be achieved with a DSL or Cable connection,
a dial-up connection will still produce less than 5 second transactions.
Does it cost more than my current credit card processing?
No. Even though its much, much faster, it is also cheaper than almost
any dial-up plan. Your dealer will ask for your current credit card statements
and get you a rate as good or better than what you currently pay now.
Is it hard to change processors?
No. Your registers will work just like they do now. Painless! Plus there
is an optional browser based system for reviewing batches and transactions.
Is it safe? Is it reliable?
All transactions are heavily encrypted. There is redundancy on all major
system components. Your transactions will be safe and faster than ever
What type of transactions are supported?
Amex, Visa, MC, Discover, Debit, Check Cards, Check Guarantee.
We’re currently working on EBT, Gift/Stored Value Cards and Loyalty
How long does it take to get my money?
Funds are electronically settled within two business days. Some high-risk
businesses may have different settlement options.
Why do you do a credit check? Why do you need my financials?
Credit checks are required by Visa® and MasterCard® and are necessary
to determine if the business owners are financially sound. Financial stability
is the most critical component of the approval process.
How long does it take to get set up?
It takes approximately eight to ten business days to get set up, depending
on the type of processing you do.
When do you charge my account for fees?
Your account will be charged for all appropriate fees on or around the
fifth of the month following the activity, via an Automated Clearing House
(ACH) transaction. The detail of your fees will appear on your merchant
statement that you will receive the first full business week of the month
following the activity.
What types of cards can I accept from customers? Can you set
up my business to accept all of them?
You can accept Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express®, Discover®,
Diners Club®, JCB® and Debit cards. We can set you up on Visa,
MasterCard, American Express, and Debit cards. Once you have established
an account with them we can facilitate the clearing of their transactions
through our processing systems.
What is "interchange" and how does it work?
Interchange is the fees associated with exchange of transaction data between
Acquiring and Issuing institutions in accordance with the Visa and MasterCard
bylaws and rules. It is the fee that Visa and MasterCard charge to clear
your transaction to the cardholder bank. The interchange fee is actually
paid to the bank that issued the card while the merchant's bank is charged
the interchange fee. Merchant transactions are gathered for processing
every night, these transactions are routed to the cardholders to be charged
and merchants are credited accordingly.
Why am I being charged three different rates?
It is necessary to maintain three separate rates in the pricing process,
due to various levels of interchange. This fee varies depending on the
way you are conducting business, your business type and the type of cards
that are processed at your point of sale. Interchange is the largest expense
component of our pricing. Our three tiered rates allow for the proper
pricing as it relates to each individual transaction and its processing
Why can't I charge a surcharge? Can the government charge a surcharge?
Surcharging credit card transactions is strictly prohibited by the Card
Associations. A merchant may, however, offer discounts for cash transactions
provided it is clearly disclosed to cardholders as a cash discount and
the cash price is presented as a discount from the standard price available
for all other means of payment. MasterCard® modified its regulations
to allow the IRS to assess a 2% convenience fee. No other industries were
part of that modification. Visa® is not part of the IRS program and
has no exceptions to surcharge prohibition.
Can I refuse to take the more expensive cards like Visa Premier?
No. Once you enter into a Merchant Agreement you must display the Visa
and MasterCard registered marks and accept all valid Visa or MasterCard
cards properly presented for payment.
Why am I paying mid-qualified and non-qualified rates?
Visa & MasterCard have different interchange requirements based on
industry type and method of transmission. Transactions that do not meet
these requirements are billed at mid-qualified or non-qualified rates.
Review the Visa and MasterCard Interchange Qualification Criteria to ensure
your transactions are being processed correctly.
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. After your
application has been approved, it usually takes just a few days to establish
the actual account and to arrange for any required training. (Canadian
and international processing set-ups are completed in 10 days to two weeks.)
Will my merchant account be approved with a processing limit?
Merchant accounts are approved based on actual or projected dollar volume.
Mercury monitors account activity and reserves the right to review accounts
at any time should volume be significantly above or below the level represented
on the merchant application.
Why does Mercury 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. Mercury 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 does a merchant receive payment for the transactions submitted
Using Automated Clearing House (ACH), Mercury will remit funds due for
MasterCard, Visa, Diners Card/Carte Blanche and JCB transactions to a
merchant’s business bank account . When/if a merchant establishes
a service agreement with American Express and/or Discover, these issuers
will also obtain their banking information and pay funds to their bank
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 Mercury. Once you're ready to process with us, you can inform
your previous provider.
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.
What are interchange fees?
Interchange fees are transaction-related costs that Mercury pays to the
issuer of the card as compensation. These fees are established by MasterCard
and Visa and are based upon how a transaction takes place and in what
type of industry.
What types of credit cards can a merchant accept?
Mercury allows your merchant's terminal to support MasterCard, Visa, American
Express, Discover, Diners Club/Carte Blanche and JCB cards. Although we
can support all credit card types, we only have the ability to process
settlement (payment to merchants) for MasterCard, Visa, DC/CB and JCB.
When processing occurs, each transaction must be authorized, the data
must be captured and settlement/payment made back to the merchant.
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
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
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 simplifies reimbursement
procedures and helps track expenses. This specialized reporting is possible
because specific data is captured at the point of sale. MasterCard and
Visa each provide issuers with the ability to issue commercial card products.
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 or American Express.
Private label cards carry the insignia of the merchant issuing the card.
What is a stored value program?
A stored value program allows you to offer your customers a proprietary
card pre-loaded with value for future purchases. Although there are many
different applications for stored value cards (Gift Card, Merchandise
Return, Pre-pay), they all share some common components:
Magnetic Stripe 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
Transaction Processing - The merchant can process stored value transactions
from the point of sale. These transactions are delivered to Mercury'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
How can I get the lowest interchange rate?
In order for a merchant to qualify for the lowest processing fee for a
particular transaction, the card's magnetic stripe must be read by the
terminal (i.e. cardholder is present) and sales must be deposited and
settled daily. The processing rate will be higher for a transaction manually
keyed or not deposited and settled through the terminal until the next
How can I recognize suspicious customer behavior?
Be alert for the customer who:
Makes indiscriminate purchases without regard to size, style, color,
Makes purchases, leaves the establishment, and returns to make additional
Hurries you to complete the sale at closing time
Refuses free delivery for large items
What else can we do to protect our business against fraud?
Always verify that the signature belongs to the presenter
Do not accept any cards which have not been signed
Your terminal/computer should prompt you to enter the last four digits
of the account number to verify that the account number on the magnetic
stripe is correct or your terminal may display the entire card number
for comparison to that on the front of the card. If your terminal does
not prompt for this, call the terminal help desk and ask for this feature.
What to do if you are suspicious about a card or the cardholder
Call the voice authorization center and request a "Code 10"
authorization. By saying "I have a 'Code 10' authorization,"
you put the center on alert without letting the customer know you are
suspicious. They will give you further instructions.
What is a Chargeback?
A "chargeback" is a dispute usually originated by a customer
or the customer's credit card issuing bank and subsequently debited to
the merchant's deposit account. A chargeback to the merchant may occur
when a cardholder does not recognize the transaction or disputes the following:
Participation in the transaction or sale Performance and/or quality of
the merchandise or services Delivery of the merchandise and/or services
Breach of any term, condition, representation, and warranty of the transaction
Amount of the charge
What are the top 10 reasons for chargebacks?
#1. Failure of merchant to respond to retrieval request
This is the single most frequent cause of chargebacks. Fortunately, this
is often the easiest to prevent. Simply keep copies of your sales transactions
and respond to any and all "Media" or Retrieval" requests
by sending copies of sales drafts immediately. Card issuers are responsible
for initiating copy requests. Usually they are initiated to resolve billing
disputes or to comply with a subpoena. Fulfilling copy requests is very
important. When requests are not fulfilled within the prescribed time
period, they almost always result in a chargeback. A chargeback for not
responding to a copy request is non-reversible per Visa/MasterCard regulations.
So it is in your best interest to respond quickly to copy requests.
#2. Cardholder was billed more than once for the same transaction
To avoid duplicate processing, reconcile your batches daily and ensure
that the register/terminal totals match the credit card receipts for the
day. If you do receive a legitimate duplicate processing chargeback, do
not issue a direct credit to the cardholder - the credit will automatically
#3. Cardholder denies making or authorizing a transaction
Make sure all transactions (other than mail/phone order) are magnetically
swiped or imprinted. Again, timely submission of a copy of the properly
completed and signed sales slip along with a written explanation of the
validity of the charge will be needed to try to reverse a chargeback.
If the disputed transaction is a phone or mail order sale, the order form
and signed delivery receipt from any courier or handler will also be required.
#4. Failure of merchant to follow correct procedures in completing the
sales slip at the point-of-sale
The sales slip must include both a cardholder signature and the card account
number to be valid. The account number must be obtained directly from
an imprint of the card itself or from electronically reading the magnetic
stripe. Manually entering the account number does not protect you from
a no-imprint chargeback even if the sales slip is signed.
#5. Account numbers don't match
After swiping a card, if the card number displayed does not match the
number embossed on the face of the card, ask for a different form of payment.
Always print and double-check the account number on all phone and mail
orders. Accepting non-matching transactions will leave you vulnerable
#6. A credit or refund was not properly processed
Credits must be processed correctly and on time. Make your customers aware
of your credit/refund policy at the time of purchase. Have the policy
printed on your sales slips directly above the cardholder's signature
in accordance with Association policy. Issue credits only to the same
account numbers to which the sales were made - refunds paid in cash or
merchandise, or to a different account number, will not protect you from
this type of chargeback.
#7. Failure to obtain proper authorization
Be sure to authorize all transactions, and accurately record the approval
code on the sales slip. If your request for authorization is declined,
do not attempt to re-authorize transactions to the same account number,
as subsequent approval may not protect you from a chargeback.
#8. A card was used either before or after its valid date
Never process a transaction on a card prior to, or after, the valid date.
Instead, ask for a different form of payment.
#9. Merchandise or service not received by cardholder
Sales transactions must not be processed prior to delivery of the product
purchased. Proof of delivery, signed by the cardholder, should be obtained
for every credit card transaction in which the merchandise or service
is not delivered immediately at the point-of-sale. Such proof of delivery
may be your only defense if a chargeback occurs.
#10. Cardholder disputes quality of merchandise or services
Ensure that your customers are aware of your return policy at the time
of purchase. Stick to your policy. Display the policy at the point-of-sale
and print it on your sales slips, directly above the cardholder signature.