Credit Card Processing Checklist

Follow these steps for smooth set up and processing of your account.

Set Up Checklist:

1. Do shop around and get multiple bids. offers bid from the top processors. 

2. Do get completely setup at least two weeks before you need to process your first card.

3. Do get new processing equipment that fits your business needs and is PCI compliant. 

4. Do Accept American Express One Rate plan – this gives you the lowest American Express rate and consolidates your billing.

5. Do opt out of paper statements to save on your monthly statement fee. Use the online account instead.

6. Avoid tiered and billback pricing plans – Tiered are qualified, mid, and non.

7. Do get Interchange Plus Pricing – the Fortune 500 companies do, why not you?

8. Do know the difference between Effective Rate and low rate offer. Effective rate takes into account all Visa/Mastercard rates and gives you true cost.  Low Rate Offer is a teaser rate the processors use to gain your business.

9. Get a large ticket merchant account if you have very high transaction amounts like over $1000. 

10. Get a QSR or small ticket account if you an average transaction of $15 or less. Example, Coffee Shop, Fast food restaurant,

11. Accept all cards. Make it easy as possible for people to pay. For most businesses, the higher cost American Express will only make up 14% of your sales. You have to ask yourself if it is worth it to pay 1% more to get 14% more sales.

12. Go outside your processor for PCI compliance to save unless its free. Most cases it is not.

13. If you take many phone orders, get a virtual terminal. You can run transactions off of your computer.

14. Get an internet based gateway so that you can accept credit cards from nearly any computer that has an online connection. 

15. Do get setup with the right merchant account type (Retail, Ecommerce, B2B, etc.) Although another one may look cheaper, it won't be if you don't accept cards the correct way for the account.

16. Visa/Mastercard offer rate discounts for certain types of industries. The most popular are QSR, Small Ticket, Supermarket, Service Stations, Charities, Government, Utilities, Hotels, B2B, MOTO.

17. Most processors offer seasonal accounts if you are only open for a frew  months a year.

18. If you are a mobile business, get a wireless terminal, if you plan to process $10,000 or more a month. You should realize a 1% savings or $100 per month which will cover the cost of the wireless terminal and save you some money

19. If you have a smart phone, Iphone, Android, Blackberry, you can accept cards through a processing app and add a card swiper to the headphones plug in.

20. Do find a company that will answer all of your questions, and one that asks you questions. Every business is different, and a one size fits all merchant account is a bad fit for everyone.

21. Do purchase POS Computer registers for retail. The extra cost is worth every penny for all the features you receive like inventory, customer database, accounting, purchase ordering, time clock etc.

22. Do get a loyalty and or gift card program if it fits your business type, like retail. Loyalty programs are simple to implement, but sophisticated enough to give you good customer analytics. 

23.  Do get a neutral party to analyze your statement –

24. Don't inherently think your local bank has the best service and lowest price just because you are already a customer.

25. Banks outsource their processing to a third party and then take a portion of the profit. A reputable Independent Sales Organizations (ISO) can give you better deals.

26. Don't take any offer you receive without looking at other companies first.

27. Don't take the lowest offer you find just because it is the cheapest. Go with the business you trust. Usually the cost difference is negligible, and processing through a bad company can hurt your business.

28. Don't trust your accountant's recommendation without first looking at that company yourself and others.

29. Don't confuse a debit rate with a credit rate. (If it's below 1.6%, it's either a debit rate, or you're going to get charged somewhere else.)

30. Debit cards can perform two types of transactions, signature and pin. Under the Durbin Amendment, signature debit transactions are less expensive, however pin debit transactions are more secure.

31. Don't go with a free terminal program just because you don't have to pay for the equipment. (Processors make up for the lost revenue in other areas.)

32. Don't buy a proprietary terminal unless you know and accept that you may not be able to switch providers and still use that terminal. The FD100’s are the most common proprietary terminals.

33. Unless your business accepts tips, make sure you choose automatic settlement. Set a daily settle time that is before your processor’s settlement time.  Failing to do this may cause additional charges and a delay in funding.

34. Do not sign a long-term agreement if possible. If it is a three year agreement find out what the early termination penalty is.

35. If the early termination fee is low, then you will still have an opportunity to switch without incurring a huge penalty. Many times the first few months of savings offsets the early termination penalty.

Processing Checklist

36. If your processor raises your rates during the contract term, this action nullifies the early termination penalty for 30 days in most cases. Please check with your processor first.

37. Make sure your account is settling properly. Check your device and with your bank.

38. Do check your statements each month to make sure you being charged what you were expecting. Again, understand what downgrade charges are before you complain about your bill.

39. Do keep your credit card terminal is a safe place away from liquid and heat (As best as possible.)Do check your customer's IDs and make sure the card is theirs. You're liable if you accept a stolen card.

40. Do not store cardholder data other than truncated receipts. If you have recurring payments, ask your processor to store the cardholder data for you. 

41. Visa/Mastercard can impose huge fines for cardholder data breaches traced back to your business.

42. Do contact your processor if you need to process an abnormally large transaction. (IE: $5,000 when your normal ticket is $50).

43. Do respond to chargebacks or retrieval requests immediately.

44. Contact your processor before submitting your chargeback response and consult with them.

45. Contact your processor before submitting your chargeback response and consult with them.

46. It is against Visa/Mastercard policy to process your own card and to process a payment for another company or individual. This makes you liable for a chargeback.

47. Don’t forget to get your statement analyzed at least once a year. Visa/Mastercard continually make changes. Keeping up to date can save you money.  Go to for free analysis.

Checklist Ecommercesites:

48. Do check AVS and CVV on every transaction. (Choosing whether to accept or decline transactions based on the AVS or CVV response is up to you.)

49. Do use an API integration method and SSL for accepting payments on your website. Your website will convert better, and you will look more professional.

50. Do use risk management software to score transactions to prevent chargebacks and fraud. offers such a service.

51. Don't ever email credit card numbers, this is completely insecure.

Checklist to Close your account:

67. Cancel your old service after the new service is installed and working. The extra fees are minimal compared to the possible down time.

68. Fax in your termination letter, and call to confirm that it was received and the date is correct.

69. Check to see if there is a termination fee. If you contract is about to expire, sometimes the monthly fees for a few months is less than the termination fee.

70. Pay your final bills with your old processor. You don’t want to be placed on a Terminated Merchant File, which may prevent you getting processing in the future.

About Blindbid

Blindbid is a small business cost reduction company. We help you negotiate with the top processors to get the best deal. Our online forum allows the top credit card processors to bid for you business.   

The Blindbid process saves you both time and money. 

1.Lowest Rates - Multiple processors will compete for your business.

2.Privacy Protection: We really do take your privacy seriously. That's why we named our company, Blindbid. We "blind" (conceal) your contact information from our vendors. Only the vendor with the lowest bid will contact you, while you will have the choice of multiple vendors.

3.Control - There is no haggling with vendors.You choose how many vendors you want to speak too.

4.The Most Reputable Vendors - We've pre-screened and assembled the industries top processors, saving you valuable due diligence time. 

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