Look here first for the answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive at Total Merchant Services.

General FAQs
  1. What is a merchant account?
  2. What is an acquiring bank?
  3. How do I apply for a merchant account and a payment gateway?
  4. What credit cards will I be able to accept?
  5. What is the discount rate?
  6. What is a High Risk Merchant?
  7. What is a "per transaction" fee?
  8. What is a charge back?
  9. How often will I receive funds from Total Merchant Services?
  10. What type of equipment do I need to accept credit cards?
  11. What makes Total Merchant Services different from other payment processing services?

Internet Related FAQs
  1. Why do I need a separate account for orders I accept over the phone, fax, mail or Internet?
  2. What is a payment gateway?
  3. Do I need to have SSL on my web site?

What is a merchant account?
A merchant account is a special account that allows your business to accept credit cards as payment in person, over the telephone, by mail order, or over the Internet. You must have a merchant account if you want to be able to accept credit cards from your customers.

What is an acquiring bank?
An acquiring bank is the bank that holds your credit card merchant account. It is also the bank that transfers funds from your merchant account into your local bank account.

How do I apply for a merchant account and a payment gateway?
It's easy to establish a merchant account with Total Merchant Services. You can submit an application online, by fax, or by meeting with a sales representative at your business location. Your application will be approved almost immediately, your account will be activated, and, if you're buying or leasing new credit card processing software or terminal equipment, it will arrive in just days.

What credit cards will I be able to accept?
You'll be able to accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and Diners Club/Carte Blanche. In addition, you'll be able to accept debit cards that carry a Visa or MasterCard logo, purchase cards, and online checks.

What is the discount rate?
The discount rate is one of the processing fees charged to your merchant account. It is a percentage of your gross sales.

What is High Risk Merchant Payment Processor?
These are merchants where the risk level is too high for most banks, due to reputation risk or for high chargeback rates. There are specialty services available online that are more suited for high risk payment processors.

What is the "per transaction" fee?
The "per transaction fee" is a nominal charge for processing each transaction through your merchant acccount service.

What is a charge back?
Charge backs occur when a credit cardholder informs the credit card company that the charge was not authorized, or that goods or services were not delivered as promised. Total Merchant Services along with its credit card processors use a sate-of-the-art fraud screening system to help protect you from fraudulent charges. If a customer claims that you did not deliver the goods or services for which they paid, you'll have seven days to provide evidence that the goods or services were received before the cardholder's account will be credited. (more info)

How often will I receive funds from Total Merchant Services?
Total Merchant Services will transfer funds from your merchant account to any checking account you designate on a daily basis.

What type of equipment do I need to accept credit cards?
If you have a retail storefront, restaurant, hotel, or service business you can use either a hard-wired or wireless point-of-sale (POS) credit card terminal or a personal computer equipped with credit card processing software. If you have an Internet business, or a telephone order or mail order business, you can use a virtual terminal. With a virtual terminal, you do not need to load any software onto your computer. Since this is Internet-Based software, you simply need access to the internet. Other options includes using credit card processing software. This is software that you load onto your computer. Authorizations are obtained by dialing into the credit card processor with your computer modem. Or, you can hand enter (key in) data into a point of sales (POS) credit card terminal.

Why is Total Merchant Services the best choice to be my merchant account provider?
Total Merchant Services provides competitive rates, world class customer services, and fast and easy enrollment.
  • World Class Customer Service - Total Merchant Services provides customer service via telephone 24 hours per day, seven days a week. Our representatives will help you with questions about transfers of money into your designated checking account, monthly statements, chargeback and retrieval requests, and other issues that face merchant account holders every day.
  • Fast & Easy Enrollment - If you meet our liberal approval guidelines, your application can be approved quickly and simply. In most cases, we can tell you in minutes if your application will be approved, and can complete the entire process in a matter of days. Applying for an account is easy with our online application. Just complete the application online, print it out, sign it and fax it in. There's no need for original signatures and no expensive overnight deliveries. If you prefer, you can apply in person or over the phone with one of our sales representatives.

Why do I need a separate account for orders I accept over the phone, fax, mail or Internet?
Because you never take physical possession of a credit card so that you can swipe it through a magnetic strip reader, both Visa and Mastercard use different criteria for evaluating risk and have different fee structures for card-not-present transactions.

What is a payment gateway?
A payment gateway links your web site to the credit card processing companies and your merchant account. When your customer enters his or her credit card number on your web site, the payment gateway obtains authorization for the charge and later handles the transfer of funds into your merchant account. Total Merchant Services works with the industry's most widely used and reliable gateways including the TotalPay powered by Authorize.Net, Plug N Pay, and VeriSign Payment Systems.

Do I need to have SSL on my web site?
No. To ensure that your customers are protected when they enter their credit card information on your web site, Total Merchant Services and its payment gateway partners use Secure Socket Layers (SSL) to encrypt sensitive personal information, including credit card numbers. There is no need for you to have SSL on your web site.

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Total Merchant Services (TMS) is a registered ISO/MSP for HSBC Bank USA, National Association, Buffalo, NY

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