Do you currently accept credit cards?
View the answers to many of the most common questions asked by new merchants like you.
If you have received your equipment, reprogram kit or PC software but need help getting started, please call US Bankcard Services, Inc. (USBSI) at (888) 468-1155.
A Merchant Trainer will go through the following steps:
Whether you choose to be trained by one of our staff or elect to begin processing on your own, it is recommended that you review all kit materials prior to processing transactions.
There are several types of cards that you may be set up to accept. If you are not set up to accept any of the following specific cards and would like to be, please contact your Sales Representative.
To process a card swiped transaction, follow these steps:
Press the appropriate key to initiate a manual transaction. When you are prompted by the credit card terminal, enter the card number and expiration date embossed on the front of the card. Make an imprint of the card on a paper transaction receipt to prove that the card was present during the transaction. Keep the imprinted transaction receipt with the electronically printed transaction receipt from the credit card terminal. Ensure that the paper transaction receipt contains all of the information related to the transaction, such as the transaction amount, transaction date, merchant information, authorization code, and cardholder’s signature. For complete details about manual transactions and what information is required to be on paper transaction receipts, contact USBSI Customer Services at (888) 468-1155 or click here for Merchant Operating Guide (Elavon merchants only)
Swiped cards clear at lower rates than hand-entered transactions. Voice authorizations do not capture the information necessary for lower interchange rates and can generate downgrades.
How do I process a manual (paper) transaction?
To correctly process a paper transaction receipt, follow these steps:
Card Not Present Transactions include Mail Order (MO), Telephone Order (TO), and Electronic Commerce(EC) Transactions. These Transactions occur when the Card is not physically presented to the Merchant at the time of a sale. You must be authorized by us to process Card Not Present Transactions.
Before you process Card-Not-Present transactions you must obtain the following information from the cardholder:
Follow the instructions on your credit card terminal to ensure that you are initiating a Card-Not-Present transaction. Please take note of the following two tools that are intended to provide greater security for Card-Not-Present transactions:
Please contact Merchant Services at (888) 468-1155.
You must not honor any card if:
Code 10 is a term used by the Card Associations to refer to suspicious or questionable transactions, cards, or cardholders. If you are suspicious of a card transaction, contact your Voice Authorization Center and request a Code 10 authorization. Using the term “Code 10” allows you to call the Voice Authorization Center to question the transaction without alerting the cardholder. Follow the instructions given to you on how to proceed to minimize any discomfort between you and the cardholder. Click here for more information about “Code 10” Authorization.
A void can be performed if a transaction is run incorrectly or a customer changes his mind after a transaction has been run. Void transactions generally need to be run on the same credit card terminal that the sale was run on and can only be performed if the Transaction has not already been settled. If you void a transaction, the cardholder will not see the sale or the void on their card statement, it is as if the transaction never happened.
You must request authorization from the issuer to accept a card for payment. You must obtain an authorization code before completing any transaction. An authorization request is made via one of the following two methods:
The voice authorization toll-free telephone numbers are located on a sticker on your credit card terminal.
An authorization request is required for every transaction to determine if:
An authorization code does not guarantee that a transaction will not be disputed later. If there is not a Voice Authorization sticker on your POS, contact Merchant Services at (888) 468-1155. An authorization code does NOT:
If you receive a decline pick-up authorization response, do not complete the transaction. Request for another form of payment if possible.
Be sure you do not challenge the card user. Avoid any physical confrontation with anyone who may be using a lost, stolen, or otherwise invalid card. Do not jeopardize your safety or that of your employees or customers.
For help with changing the information on your receipt, please contact Merchant Services at (888) 468-1155.
Supplies like paper can be ordered by calling into USBSI Customer Services at (888) 468-1155 . You will need to provide your Merchant Identification (MID) number, terminal type and printer type.
You can also order supplies at www.usbsi.com. Supplies can be ordered through Homepage >> products >> Supplies.
Transaction receipts are required for all transaction types and must be retained for a minimum of two (2) years (or such longer period as the card rules or the laws may require). Transaction receipts should be stored in a safe, secure area in order to comply with PCI Requirements and organized in chronological order by transaction date.
Settlement is the final step in processing a transaction. A group of transactions is called a batch, and the process for sending these transactions to us is called settlement. When you settle a batch, information for each transaction is sent to clearing networks across the country and sometimes around the world. Based on each card number, we send information about a transaction to the corresponding issuer so they can charge the cardholder. Then, funds for the transaction are deposited into your settlement or DDA account, which occurs when you send all of your card transactions to the servicer for payment. During settlement, you are paid and cardholders are billed for previously-approved transactions.
To settle the daily batch, perform the following steps:
It’s important that you settle your transactions each and every day to obtain the most favorable pricing. This is the opportunity to review and confirm your transactions. Also, you will not be funded for transactions until they have been settled. Higher rates could apply to transactions not settled the same day. For transactions where the card is present, settling in two days versus one day can cost you money. If the settlement time extends past two days, this can cost you even more.
When you activate auto settle, your terminal has a set time to dial out to the host for settlement. For help with your auto settle function, please contact USBSI Customer Services at (888) 468-1155.
One of the most important pieces of information we have regarding your account is your checking account (Demand Deposit Account/DDA) information. If you would like to update your business checking account number that we have on file, please contact USBSI Customer Services at (888) 468-1155.
MerchantConnect, Elavon's web-based real-time reporting service, allows you to manage transaction data from multiple locations or multiple merchant accounts via any standard web browser (e.g., Internet Explorer). It brings together all the information you need to better manage your electronic payment processing activity. MerchantConnect provides recent deposits and other information about your account activity, including batch details, chargeback and retrieval status and deposit history. The last 30 days of batches are kept on file. If you require earlier batch reports, please contact USBSI Customer Services at (888) 468-1155.
Here is the seven step process:
This process can take two or more business days (excluding holidays) unless you are set up for delayed funding.
Please contact USBSI Customer Services at (888) 468-1155.
No. Your processing fees will be automatically deducted from the demand deposit account (DDA) that you have designated.
In exchange for your transaction processing services, you are charged a percentage of each transaction (known as a discount), along with transaction fees, authorization fees, and any other fees specified in the agreement. Fees are deducted from your DDA on either a monthly or a daily basis. We recommend that you keep five percent (5%) of your average monthly processing volume available in your account to cover monthly fees and the possibility of chargebacks. Keep in mind that this is only a recommendation and your business may require additional available funds. For example, businesses that conduct high-risk transactions (such as Card-Not-Present or those with future delivery of products or services) should consider maintaining a higher percentage of their average monthly processing volume in their account).
When you settle your transactions each day, Elavon’s network routes them to the respective Card Associations (Visa, MasterCard, Discover) and Debit Networks through interchange. Every transaction is assigned an Interchange category based on card type (credit, debit, rewards, purchasing) industry type (retail, e-commerce, etc) and qualification elements (swiped card, key entered, etc). Interchange is the system where transactions are submitted for payment from the servicer or merchant processor to the card issuer or Debit Network. The Card Associations and Debit Networks establish the rules and manage the interchange of all transactions. Interchange also represents the fees paid by the servicer to the card issuer. Fees depend upon the interchange qualification that is assigned to each transaction by the associations for processing transactions. These fees are paid at the time the transaction is exchanged and vary based on processing method utilized. For example, it is significantly more expensive to process a hand-keyed transaction than a card-swiped transaction.
Interchange and Card Association fees vary in amount based on industry type, the degree to which cards are authorized, and the timeliness of remitting a sale for payment. There are several rates that may apply to your transactions, depending on your method of processing each transaction. When setting rate qualification criteria, the Card Associations consider the card product (card type) used in the transaction, how the transaction data is entered into the terminal, the time of settlement versus time of authorization.
Card Associations quote the lowest interchange rate for a transaction, assuming that a number of requirements (which vary according to the card type, the type of business accepting the card payment, and the transaction channel) are met. Transactions that meet all of the requirements for your industry are charged the Qualified Rate, which is also called the “QUAL rate”. You will pay the lowest or best discount rate for qualified transactions If one or more of these requirements are not met, the transaction is categorized at a more expensive interchange level. This is referred to as a “downgrade.”
Card Associations quote the lowest interchange rate for a transaction, assuming that a number of requirements (which vary according to the card type, the type of business accepting the card payment, and the transaction channel) are met. If one or more of these requirements are not met, the transaction is categorized at a more expensive interchange level. This is referred to as a “downgrade.”
A refund for a transaction must be processed by issuing a credit to the card on which the original purchase was made. You must also prepare a credit transaction receipt for the amount of credit issued. Do not refund a card purchase with cash or check. Do not refund cash or check purchases to a card.
If you have a special policy regarding returns or refunds, make sure that the policy is:
For help with refunds, please contact Merchant Services at (888) 468-1155.
A chargeback is a transaction disputed by the cardholder or an issuer. If you receive a chargeback, we debit your DDA for the amount of the transaction, including any applicable currency fluctuations, and send you a chargeback notice. This notice includes the details of the transaction as well as specific instructions on how to respond. Click here for more information on chargebacks, including how to avoid them.
You, and any third party vendors that you utilize, must comply with all applicable requirements of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard, including Visa’s Cardholder Information Security Program (CISP), MasterCard’s Site Data Protection Program (SDP) and the Discover Information Security & Compliance (DISC) program. You must remain in compliance with these standards as they change. Click here for more information on fraud and PCI compliance.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a set of requirements designed to ensure that ALL companies that process, store or transmit credit card information maintain a secure environment. Essentially any merchant that has a Merchant ID (MID). The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) was launched on September 7, 2006 to manage the ongoing evolution of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) security standards with focus on improving payment account security throughout the transaction process. The PCI DSS is administered and managed by the PCI SSC (www.pcisecuritystandards.org), an independent body that was created by the major payment card brands (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover and JCB.).
All merchants are required to comply with PCI-DSS, which includes completing the Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ). The SAQ is a validation tool used to assist merchants with meeting their PCI-DSS compliance requirements. Non-compliance may result in additional costs and expenses for your business.
USBSU has teamed with Elavon and TrustWave – a Visa® and MasterCard® accredited Qualified Security Assessor and Approved Scanning Vendor – to help you comply with current industry security standards for your electronic payment solution.
If you do not comply with the security requirements of the Card Associations, you put your organization at risk of payment card compromise. In the event that your business is compromised, you may be subject to fines that range from $10,000 to $500,000 or more per incident. You will also be liable for the cost of the required forensic investigations, fraudulent purchases, and the cost of re-issuing cards. You may also lose your credit card acceptance privileges.
Elavon charges an annual fee to cover the costs of monitoring and ensuring customer data is handled securely in order to comply with PCI requirements. Included in this fee is up to $100,000 of data breach insurance in the event that credit card information is stolen from the merchant. The fee varies depending on the terminal type, methods for transacting (web vs retail, etc). For example, wireless machines, e-commerce, software, and terminals that dial through an Internet connection have higher PCI fees than dial-up terminals that use a phone line because they require more resources to maintain PCI compliance. Elavon will impose additional fees for each month that your account has not been validated as PCI compliant or in any given month your account is deemed non-compliant. You must maintain your compliant status once it is obtained in order to prevent these fees.
The standard can be found on the PCI SSC’s Website: https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/security_standards/pci_dss.shtml
Be advised that wireless technology typically takes longer to process transactions than wired technology.
Just like the user of a wireless phone must pay a regular fee to a wireless carrier for wireless service, the user of a wireless terminal must pay a regular fee for wireless service. For more information about wireless fees, please contact USBSI Customer Services at (888) 468-1155
To update your DBA, please complete and submit a DBA Change Form. Please contact USBSI Customer Services at (888) 468-1155. Be sure to complete the pertinent information and obtain the appropriate signatures to avoid any delays in processing the change.
Typically merchants need to verify they have the correct SIC code designated for their account if you are noticing that all of their transactions are downgrading. If you need to change your SIC code, please contact USBSI Customer Services at (888) 468-1155.
If your business model changes and you now need to accept tips, please contact USBSI Customer Services at (888) 468-1155.
To add Amex/Discover, please Contact your Sales Representative or by calling USBSI Customer Services at (888) 468-1155
Offer your customers the option of paying for merchandise and services with their Debit cards. Unlike credit card transactions that are priced as a percent of the total sales amount, PIN-based debit transactions carry a flat fee. If your average sales price is over $35, you will typically benefit by accepting PIN-based debit. Most solutions will require the addition of an affordable PIN pad.
To accept debit payments, or for more information, contact your Sales Representative.
With our Electronic Check Service, you can reduce the cost and risk of accepting paper checks by converting them into electronic check transactions, so you eliminate reconciliation hassles and receive funds in 24–48 hours. To get ECS, or for more information, contact your Sales Representative.
Gift cards help attract new customers, increase revenue, and generate repeat business. Unlike paper gift certificates, gift cards retain their full value. Plus, studies have proven that over 60% of recipients spend more than the face value on the gift card, making it a program that pays for itself in no time. In addition to simply merchandising gift cards, you can use them as promotional vehicles, corporate gift sales, and store credits. Whether you start with just a few cards for a single location, or design your own custom program and processing features across a large chain, our EGC program gives you the freedom to tailor an affordable solution that’s most effective for you. To offer electronic gift cards, or for more information, contact your Sales Representative.
If your terminal is a VeriFone Zon Jr. XL, VeriFone Tranz 330, VeriFone Tranz 380, VeriFone Tranz 420 or 460, it may be time to consider an upgrade.
Here are several reasons:
Please contact your Sales Representative or by contacting USBSI Customer Services at (888) 468-1155
Supplies like paper can be ordered by calling USBSI Customer Services at (888) 468-1155. You will need to provide your Merchant Identification number, terminal type and printer type.
You can also order supplies at www.usbsi.com. Once you have registered and are logged in, supplies can be ordered through Home> Products> Supplies .
Please contact USBSI Customer Services at (888) 468-1155.
You must prominently display the most current versions of the Credit Card Association’s and EFT network’s names, symbols, and/or service marks, as appropriate, at or near the credit card terminal. If you accept cards online for e-commerce transactions, you must display such names, symbols and/or service marks on your website’s payment screens.
Yes, a purchase minimum can be set not to exceed $10.
You may not disburse cash (except on debit card transactions), or require cardholders to provide any personal information (e.g., phone number or address). Merchant may only process transactions for the location registered with us and may not process transactions for any other business or location.
Factoring (also known as laundering) occurs when you process another person’s transactions through your merchant account. Processing transactions which belong to another person or business is in violation of your merchant agreement and is prohibited by law in many states. Factoring may result in the termination of your card acceptance privileges. Be wary of the “fellow business person” who offers to pay you to process card transactions in return for a fee. These transactions are often questionable or fraudulent. These schemes typically result in a flood of chargebacks which are debited from your DDA. By the time you realize this has occurred, the other business will most likely have relocated under a different name. To protect you from these schemes and the devastating losses that ensue, educate yourself and your staff about this serious problem and immediately report factoring propositions to us or to the U.S. Secret Service. Remember, you are responsible for all transactions processed using your MID, so make sure that all transactions processed through your account represent transactions between you and the cardholder.
No! Please be aware that phishing emails are sent from fraudsters who are trying to access confidential information about you or your business. USBSI and Elavon would never request that you provide your Social Security Number, Tax ID Number or other sensitive information in response to an email. If you receive a suspicious email, don’t click on any links in the email or provide any information. If you receive suspicious email that uses USBSI or Elavon’s name please notify us immediately by calling (888) 468-1155.