These two complaints might be completely avoided if you know what to expect ahead of time. They might not be discussed when signing up for a merchant account or even the contract which is part of the reason they are so common.
PCI Compliance Fees
PCI compliance is one of the most common complaints found on complaints boards when dealing with merchant accounts. PCI stands for Payment Card Industry and it is a charge that anyone whom plans on accepting credit or debit cards has to deal with. PCI compliance should be an annual charge that could range from $79-399 depending on the merchant service provider you choose. The reason why this charge is such a common complaint is that it is usually not clearly stated on the merchant service providers contract since it’s the Payment Card Industry’s charge (IE MasterCard and Visa) and not theirs. An easy way to avoid the PCI compliance surprise is to ask what the merchant service provider’s PCI compliance fee is upfront, and when it is billed. Since PCI compliance changes from time to time, they might not be able to give you an exact number, but they should at least have a ballpark figure, which is better than being completely surprised.
Merchant Service Provider is Holding Funds
Merchant service providers holding their merchant’s funds for a period of time is probably the most common complaint filed against merchant service providers. While this could happen for a number of reasons, there is one quick trick to having it happen less. Be upfront, honest, and as accurate as possible when your sales representative asks what your average transaction size is. Since fraud is so rampant in the credit card processing industry, a merchant service provider will usually put a hold on any charge that looks suspicious. Most don’t even notify the merchant they did so, leaving them wondering where their funds are. Most of the time this happens when it shouldn’t is when a merchant tells their sales representative their average transaction size is $20 and then makes a $200 transaction. Charging well above the average ticket size stated on the application will almost always lead to a hold in funds. Another good tip is if you are going to charge well above what your stated average ticket size is, give the merchant service provider a call ahead of time and let them know. This simple proactive step could save you a lot of headache down the road when the funds you expected are not in your bank account.