FAQs

Your Account

Credit Card Processing Basics

Debit Card Processing Basics

Security-Related

Technical Help - Terminal Technical Help

Debit Card Processing Technical Help

Your Account

What types of credit cards can I accept?

The Merchant Solutions is a full service merchant service that gives you the option to accept all types of credit cards. These cards include Visa™, MasterCard™, American Express, Discover Card, Diners Club, JCB, Debit Cards, ATMs, Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT), as well as Check Verification services.

How can I set up an account?

Applying for a merchant account is quick and easy. You can submit an application online, by fax, by calling The Merchant Solutions or by meeting with a sales representative at your business location. Your application will be approved almost immediately.
Basic application information required:
  • Name, address, and telephone
  • Checking account (for funds to be deposited/withdrawn)
  • Federal Tax ID (for Corporations, LLC's, and Partnerships), and your Social Security number (for Sole proprietorships)
  • Type of business
  • Credit card processing history, if applicable

How long does the approval process take?

The Merchant Solutions leads the industry when it comes to new account approval timing. After you complete and return your Merchant Application, in most cases your account can be approved and running in little as 24 to 48 business hours.

Do I have to change my bank account to receive my deposits?

No. The Merchant Solutions can deposit funds to all banking institutions. So, you can keep your existing checking account.

Can I change the checking account that services my bankcard deposits and fees?

Yes. To change a checking account please contact our customer service department at 888-707-2836 ext. 2.

Credit Card Processing Basics

How will I receive the money for the credit cards I process?

It generally takes 24-48 hours after a batch is closed to receive the deposit into your checking account. Note: Business days are Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

What is a transaction?

There are several categories of discount rates based on how the transaction is processed:
Card-Present, or "Swiped," Transactions
A swiped-transaction occurs when the merchant "swipes" the credit card through a terminal or card reader and has the lowest discount rates.
Card-Not-Present Transactions
Card-not-present transactions occur when the merchant does not physically "swipe" the customer's card. There are two forms of card-not-present transactions:
  • Keyed-transactions where the merchant "manually" keys-in the card number (e.g. mail order and telephone order)
  • Internet transactions
These types of transactions have higher discount rate charges since the credit card is not present and the consumer does not sign a sales receipt.

What is a transaction fee?

The amount charged each time a transaction is submitted for authorization.

What is a discount rate?

A discount rate is a percentage of each transaction charged to the merchant. The discount rate charge is adjusted based on the risk factor. When the card is present at the time of sale, the discount rate is the lowest; however, when the card is not present, the discount rate is higher for it carries more risk of fraud and chargeback.

How do I get the lowest discount rate?

Discount rates generally fall under three categories: qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified.

Qualified Rate: This rate generally applies to card-present transactions and has the lowest discount rate.

Mid-Qualified Rate: This rate is higher than the qualified rate due to higher risk since the card is not present. It generally applies to phone, fax, mail order, and Internet transactions.

Non-Qualified Rate: This rate generally applies to business, corporate, foreign, rewards card, and transactions that do not meet the Visa/MasterCard requirements for qualified and mid-qualified transactions. This encounters the highest discount rate of the three.

What is a pre-authorization?

A pre-authorization, or pre-auth, is a type of authorization that reserves (holds) a dollar amount on the customer's credit card for the merchant to process later, usually within 7-14 days.

What is a post-authorization?

A post-authorization, or post-auth, is a type of authorization that confirms the merchant is ready to capture payment of the existing pre-authorized transaction. When the post-auth is processed, the amount is actually debited from the cardholder's account. A post-auth cannot be voided.

What is a batch?

A batch contains all the transactions that occurred since the last batch was run. Typically, businesses "close out" their batches at the end of each business day.

What is a batch header?

A batch header is the record that identifies the beginning of the details and summary of the batch to follow. The batch contains the transactions that were captured for deposit.

When should I use a manual imprinter?

A manual imprinter should be used when one of the following events occur:
  • The point-of-sale terminal failed to read the magnetic stripe on the credit card.
  • The point-of-sale machine is not operational.
  • The proper authorization was not obtained or a voice authorization was obtained.
  • The credit card number is manually entered and/or keyed into the point-of-sale terminal.
  • An electronic printer was not used to print a receipt as a record of the transaction.

What is a chargeback?

Chargebacks occur when a credit card holder informs the credit card company that the charge was not authorized, or that goods or services were not delivered as promised. The Merchant Solutions uses the state-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 he/she paid, you'll have seven days to provide evidence that the goods or services were received before the cardholder's account will be credited.
You will need to provide the following information:
  • A copy of the signed sales draft along with the credit card number
  • Expiration date
  • Cardholder name
  • Location transaction occurred
  • Dollar amount of transaction
Note: you should retain all your sales drafts for 1 1/2 years.

What is a retrieval request?

A retrieval request is a request from the card-issuing bank to review a copy of a sales receipt that has been processed through your merchant account. This can occur for various reasons, such as a customer disputing a sale, or not recognizing your business name.

Debit-Card Processing Basics

What is a debit card?

Debit cards are connected to a user's checking/savings account.
Debit cards are processed in two different ways:
  • "PIN-based" debit requires the customer to approve the payment by submitting their Personal Identification Number (PIN) at the point of sale. Since the customer enters their PIN code, the risk of fraud is reduced which results in lower fees.
  • “Signature-based” does not require entering a PIN since it is processed like a credit card.

Security-Related

What does "CODE 10" mean?

CODE 10 is a term used by the credit card associations to refer to suspicious situations. Call your voice authorization center immediately for a CODE 10 authorization for ANY reason of suspicion of a transaction or cardholder.

What is the Address Verification Service (AVS)?

The Address Verification Service is the process of validating a cardholder's given address against the issuer's records to determine accuracy and deter fraud. This service is provided as part of a credit card authorization for mail order/telephone order transactions. A code is returned with the authorization result that indicates the level of accuracy of the address match and helps secure the most favorable interchange rates.

If I accept a sale that is above my approved average ticket, what should I do?

Notify The Merchant Solutions of the transaction(s).

If I anticipate an increase in volume or average ticket, what should I do?

Notify The Merchant Solutions of the situation. You may be required to provide additional information.

Can I process sales for friends and associates? For other businesses I may have?

No. Accepting credit card transactions on behalf of another business is considered factoring and is in violation of Visa™ and MasterCard™ regulations and is against the law in some states.

Technical

Terminal Technical Help

How can I tell what transactions are in my terminal?

Simply print a report. If you have an electronic printer, you can print several reports:
  • A Detail report itemizes every transaction run through the credit card machine.
  • A Totals report shows the total for each particular card type and the number of transactions run by card type. (e.g., Visa: 10 items at $1000)

My terminal says "Waiting for Line" or "No line." What do I do?

  • Confirm whether or not you have a phone line attached to the back of the credit card machine.
  • Verify that the phone line is not in use by another device or person.
  • Verify the terminal has a good connection to the wall jack; it is always a good idea to eliminate "splitters" from the phone line.

Should I close the batch in my terminal every night?

Yes. For instructions on "batching out," refer to your terminal's Quick Reference Guide.

My terminal is displaying "Call Center." What does that mean?

It means that you will need to call the voice authorization center to complete the sale. The voice authorization center will assist you in obtaining an authorization code for the transaction you are trying to run. Please make sure to have your merchant number ready when you call. Once you have obtained the authorization code, you will need to perform a "Ticket Only" transaction and obtain an imprint of the credit card.
The numbers to call are:
  • Visa MasterCard Authorization Center: 800.228.1122
  • American Express: 800.528.2121
  • Discover: 800.347.2000

My terminal does not seem to have power. What do I do?

  • Make sure the terminal's power supply is securely connected to a power outlet and the back of the terminal.
  • Try another outlet that you know works.
  • If the power pack is cold to the touch, it might require replacement.
Contact The Merchant Solutions for further support.

I ran a sale, and the printer did not print a receipt. What do I do?

Perform a reprint on your credit card machine. To do this, refer to your terminal's Quick Reference Guide.
Contact The Merchant Solutions for further support.

Debit Card Processing Technical Help

I get the response "NO PIN PAD" when I try to do an ATM sale.

First, check the PIN pad. Unplug the PIN pad cable from the back of the terminal and plug it back in. Then, push the cable in back of the PIN pad. Contact The Merchant Solutions for further support.

What should be done when the error message
"NO ACKNOWLEDGMENT FROM PIN" is received?

First, check the PIN pad. Unplug the PIN pad cable from the back of the terminal and plug it back in. Then, push the cable in back of the PIN pad. Contact The Merchant Solutions for further support.

What should be done when "NO M KEY" displays on the PIN pad?

This response will flash on the PIN pad after the debit card has been swiped through the terminal. The PIN pad will go back to dashes across the PIN pad. This means the PIN pad has lost it's encryption and may be replaced. Contact The Merchant Solutions for further support.

Declines are received on ALL debit card sales.

This could indicate a compatibility problem between the PIN pad and the credit card terminal, or it may indicate that the PIN pad will require encryption. Contact The Merchant Solutions for further support.

When a debit card is processed, the response is "Waiting for Answer."

Normal processing of Visa and MasterCard transactions indicates that the debit card system could be busy. Wait a few moments and try the transaction again.

When a debit card is processed, the response is "Invalid Card."

This response means there is a problem with the routing of the debit networks through EDS. Contact The Merchant Solutions for further support.

When a debit card is processed, the response is "Call Center."

This response indicates that the debit gateway is down. Wait a few minutes and try the transaction again.

What should be done if the magnetic stripe on the debit card doesn't work?

The customer will need to present another form of payment. Debit card processing does not allow for the card number to be keyed into the terminal.

A debit card transaction is authorized and processed. But when the batch is closed, the debit sale shows "discrepancy."

A discrepancy usually means that the terminal didn't recognize the settlement through the host. To ensure the sale is processed, contact The Merchant Solutions the following business day. Note: We advise not to process the debit transaction again.

Your Briefcase

Submit your selected products list to The Merchant Solutions and receive a call back within one business day.