I come across business owners all the time that are consistently asking the wrong questions when trying to navigate their merchant services. If the first question you ask is "what are your rates" then you are for sure asking the wrong questions. Here's a list of important questions you need to be asking no matter what. If they can not give you a straight answer then move on. There are plenty of companies out there that operate with integrity and honesty and who can easily answer these

1. Will you provide me with local, face-to-face service?

2. Are you: □ A direct processing bank □ A representative of an independent sales organization (ISO)?

3. Did you undergo a detailed background and criminal check for the company you represent?

4. Do all employees handle my account and payment card information or will I have a dedicated go to person?

5. Will I need to lease or purchase new equipment? □ Yes □ No If yes, what are the costs involved and what equipment do I get? ____________________________________________________________ ____________________

6. Do you have an online portal that gives me instant access to Visa®, MasterCard®, Discover®, Network and American Express® transactions as well as billing account details, in real time from anywhere?
What is the monthly fee for this service? _____________________________________________________

7. Do you mark up the cost fees for keyed transactions, rewards cards, commercial cards and other non- qualified transactions? Mark up Pass thru at cost

8. In addition to my qualified rate, do you charge a mid-qualified rate over and above interchange?
If yes, what is my qualified rate _________ mid-qualified rate ________ and non-qualified rate __________?

9. Will you refund processing fees when I issue a credit to a customer?

10. How long are my rates and fees guaranteed not to change? ____________________________________________

11. After I settle my batch, how long does it take till I see my Visa, MasterCard, Discover Network and American Express deposits in my bank account? ______________________ Are they all funded at the same time?

12. How does your company handle rate increases and decreases from Visa, MasterCard, Discover Network and American Express?

13. When do you debit your fees? Daily End of the month Both

14. Do you charge PCI compliance or security fees? Yes No If so, how much are they?

15. When I call for customer service, is my call handled domestically or internationally?

16. Are customer service call’s answered by your company specifically or is customer service outsourced?

17. What are the hours for live phone support?

18. Will a dedicated relationship manager be assigned to service my business locally on an outgoing basis?

19. What is the term of the agreement, and what are the penalties associated with canceling?

20. Please attach your proposal as well as the complete terms and conditions of your merchant agreement.

These questions are a good place to start and will help you build confidence with the company you are thinking about signing up with or switching to. Feel free to contact me directly with any questions about this. Even if we never work together this will hopefully help your business