Providing detailed answers to everything you want or need to know about payment processing for your business.

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How long does it take for my credit card processing transactions to get funded to my bank account?

The funding period is entirely dependent on the acquiring bank that approves your business for a merchant account. We disclose this information to you upfront and it is included in the processing contract you sign. Many of our US-based solutions offer next day or 2-day delayed funding. For offshore merchant accounts, the standard funding period is weekly, 1-2 weeks in arrears.

How do I apply for a merchant account?

Please visit our Get Started page and enter your contact details. One of our experts will contact you right away to discuss the various processing options for your business. The process usually works like this:

  1. We work closely with you to gather basic data on your business. This could include company and signer jurisdiction, your website, your recent processing history, the reason you are seeking a merchant account and your target market.
  2. We discuss with you the various processing options that may be available based on the information we have collected. These could include the types of processing solutions (credit card, eCheck, ACH, etc.). We also go over the challenges other merchants with similar profiles have experienced in obtaining payment processing and how we can overcome these.
  3. We obtain a pre-approval offer from one or more of our processing partners based on your profile and present it to you for review. Oftentimes we can present pricing and terms on the very SAME DAY that we collect your information. In some cases, like those of higher-risk merchant profiles, 2-5 business days may be necessary to present an offer. We review the pricing and terms of the merchant provider’s offer(s) with you to ensure full understanding of the pros and cons of each solution.
  4. If our offer(s) is satisfactory to move forward, we begin the process of formal underwriting. This usually involves completing a short application and submitting supporting documents. Supporting documents may include ID, bank statement, corporation documents and recent processing history.
  5. Once everything has been collected, we submit the documents to underwriting for feedback. We usually hear from underwriting in 2-5 business days if any other documents are required for final approval.
  6. Once underwriting is complete, the live account details are issued. We work closely with you to ensure proper implementation of the Merchant ID (MID). For eCommerce merchants, we are an NMI Gateway partner and can set up a gateway account on your behalf to plug in your MID and get you processing. We can also issue MID details directly to you in case you use a different gateway, such as authorize.net. For Point of Sale merchants that do not already have equipment, we discuss terminal or POS system options.
  7. We confirm you have a direct line to the account manager with whom you signed your merchant agreement. However, PCS is always available as a secondary arm of support should you need to escalate an issue, discuss a pricing discount or set up another merchant account.
  8. We check in with you after a few months to ensure everything is running smoothly with your new merchant account. If there are issues, we will assist in sorting them out. We utilize our status and large portfolios with our processing partners to ensure all our merchants are receiving the highest quality support and service.

Let us assist you with a payment processing solution. Get Started today to see what PCS can do for you!

Can my business be approved for a merchant account if I have bad credit or no credit?

Short answer, yes. We have one of the highest approval rates in the industry regardless of the signer’s credit rating. We attribute this to our dozens of processing partners across the globe. Since we don’t work with just one bank/merchant service provider, we can often make offers where other processors fail. In extreme cases, we may be able to offer merchant accounts that do not even conduct a credit check.

Can I be approved for a merchant account if I am just opening/starting my business?

Yes. We assist merchants in all corners of the world with getting their businesses set up to take payment. Twenty years ago, we were a startup as well, so we understand the challenges that startups face. We discuss all options and focus on the best way to proceed with payment options utilizing our vast network of banks and processors around the globe.

What if I need assistance with my merchant account or processing?

You always have a reliable direct contact with your processing company to resolve any issues that may arise. In addition, Performance Card Service will act as your liaison to the processor for the lifetime of your merchant account. We can always be reached via e-mail, phone or Skype for any account-related issues, and we strive to resolve all merchant issues as quickly as possible. Due to our large portfolios with each of our processing partners, we can often get priority account-boarding and the quickest merchant support in the business. Our processing partners want to keep us happy and they know that our main goal is ensuring our clients are happy!

What types of merchant accounts do you set up?

We assist merchants from all legal industries here in the US as well as all around the world. We work closely with you to gather data on your business to give you an upfront indication of what options may be currently available for your business. We set up businesses with credit card processing, eCheck, ACH, and other unique payment options where required. We have solutions for retail card present, wireless, e-Commerce and MO/TO merchants. Our large network of domestic and international banking partners helps ensure that we can assist a vast majority of merchants in all verticals. We strive to find solutions that are best tailored to your business, and work to expand your range of payment options to give you the edge over your competition.

How long before I can accept credit cards for my business?

Generally speaking, once we receive a complete documentation package from your business, we work to obtain pre-approvals and merchant account options for your consideration within 5 business days. This time period can be shorter or longer based on underwriting and bank requirements, which vary with merchants based on history and industry sector. Much of the timeline depends on you, the merchant, in getting back to us with answers to questions and sending in supporting documents. Merchants who are on the ball during this process get set up and processing the fastest!

What is the discount rate?

The discount rate is a percentage of each transaction that the acquiring bank charges for processing the transaction. This is based on bank underwriting in regard to the risk associated with the business and industry sector that is applying for the merchant account. Part of the rate is paid to the card brands (Visa, MasterCard, etc.), part is paid to the acquiring bank that is backing the merchant provider, and part is paid to the provider for processing the transactions. Rates can vary drastically based on a merchant’s profile. For instance, a merchant based in Europe selling e-cigarettes online will pay more than a merchant based in the US selling shoes face-to-face.

What is the transaction fee?

This fee is a flat charge on each transaction that the acquiring bank levies for processing the transaction. This varies based on the acquiring bank and is disclosed upfront as well. There is usually a simple transaction fee for each charge, but many other fees may also appear in a merchant contract. Please see the descriptions below for fees such as refund fee, chargeback fee, retrieval fee and fraud scrubbing fee.

How does a merchant account integrate with my company’s website?

The three main integration methods for e-Commerce processing are API, Hosted Sales Page and Virtual Terminal.

  1. API is direct integration from the merchant side to the acquiring bank’s processing system. This requires more complex programming on the part of the merchant and allows the customer to stay on the merchant site throughout the purchasing experience. Merchants must ensure SSL security and PCI compliance for their websites. Fortunately, most eCommerce merchants utilize a gateway to plug in the merchant account to their websites. This makes the technical side of things much easier on the merchant’s side. Most mainstream providers offer plugins to the more popular shopping carts, so if a gateway is not being offered, a plugin could still make things much easier. Performance Card Service is an NMI Gateway partner and can set up a gateway account on your behalf to plug in your MID and get you processing. We can also issue MID details directly to you in case you use a different gateway, such as authorize.net.
  2. Hosted Sales Page (or hosted payment page) integration occurs when customers are redirected to a secure page that is hosted by the processor to input their credit card details and process the transaction. The benefits are that the processor ensures PCI compliance and all security. Some merchants like this setup since it takes very little technical development on their part. Some merchants do not like this because they want the customer to stay on their website for the duration of the transaction.
  3. Virtual Terminal (VT) is available on a case-by-case basis. Most acquiring banks require merchants to have at least 6 months of good processing history before they are considered for virtual terminal access. Please let us know upfront if VT access is a requirement for your business so we can determine the best way to proceed. A virtual terminal is often used for MO/TO or phone order merchants. This is so the merchant can manually enter the transactions into its PC portal anywhere it is connected to the internet. Since a virtual terminal can also come with more risk on the processor’s side, merchants need to show a strong application page to be approved for a VT.

What is the refund fee?

The refund fee is charged anytime you make a refund to a customer’s card for any reason. It covers the transaction cost of moving the funds back to the customer’s card-issuing bank. This fee varies depending on the bank. We see refund fees as low as $1-$3, but for offshore merchants they can double in price. Refunds are important, however, because if a customer is not happy with the product or service, it can turn into a dispute or a chargeback, which is always much more expensive for the merchant and also tarnishes the merchant’s clean processing record. So, the best policy is usually to refund an angry customer than to let it turn into a formal dispute.

What is the rolling reserve and how does it work?

A merchant account works just like a line of credit that a consumer may be issued with a regular credit card. It is, in effect, a line of credit issued to a business by the acquiring bank. The processor and bank forward you the funds from a credit card transaction BEFORE they actually receive the money from your customer’s bank. Customers have up to 6 months, in most cases, to contact the card-issuing bank to request that the transaction be reversed. The rolling reserve is an account that the acquiring bank creates to hold your funds (generally 5%-10% for 180 days). The bank releases this amount to you in arrears — so if it is 10% RR 180 days in arrears, then on month 7 you get paid back for month 1, month 8 pays back month 2, etc. The processing company does this to ensure it is covered in the event of a fraudulent merchant or customer. This is generally in place for offshore merchants and some higher-risk domestic merchants on a case-by-case basis. We have also seen flat rate reserves where a merchant’s monthly volume is taken into consideration and a reserve is implemented based on that. For instance, if your monthly volume is $25,000, your reserve might be $25,000, then capped at that. These funds may just be held in a reserve account and possibly reduced or removed over time. We work closely with our providers to ensure reserve terms are laid out clearly, and if a merchant has a chance to reduce or remove a reserve in the future, we will work hard to make that happen.

What is 3D Secure and Verified By Visa?

3D Secure and Verified By Visa are MasterCard’s and Visa’s fraud prevention programs. If a merchant is enrolled in these programs, customers are prompted for their specific password before completion of an order. If the customer is not enrolled, then the transaction usually goes through without the need for a password. These programs act as an additional layer of fraud protection for the cardholder as well as the merchant. However, while they may help prevent fraud, they can also reduce the amount of successful transaction conversions.