What are your rates?

The way that it works with credit card processing is you have the interchange rate and the markup which is what the processor charges. Think of interchange as the “cost” of running cards, it doesn’t matter if you are with my company or any other payments company, you can’t get away from paying interchange because it is what the card brands charge. It’s a non-negotiable. What is negotiable is the markup over interchange. The markup over interchange is based on a number of factors: current pricing, business type, processing history, and the risk determined by the bank. Because we board so much high risk volume, we have the ability to price very close to interchange and can get the best rates. Without showing a statement, we can give you a flat rate where we know we cover the cost of interchange but in order to save you the most money possible if you would be willing to share a statement we can put together a cost savings analysis and it will show how the bank can price your merchant account over interchange. Interchange plus is the most transparent form of pricing and will give you the most savings in the long run, unless of course you want to eliminate your processing fees by doing cash discount!

What is the big advantage to your company vs. Square?

This goes back to the previous question regarding rates. With Square they charge a standard flat rate that is well above the average cost of interchange. With 99% of merchants they know they are covering the cost with the standard 2.6% and 10 cents per transaction for swiped. The other unique part about Square is that they are considered a payment aggregator. When you sign up with Square you don’t actually get a merchant account. What they do is they have one master merchant with submerchants underneath. With my company you will actually get a merchant ID number, similar to like getting a bank account. Because of this, the customer service is way better because you will be working directly with me and the processor. Plus there is much more merchant account stability. What Square does is they just approve merchants up front and then do the underwriting later. That is why you hear of merchants getting shut down or their funds getting frozen. It’s kind of like buying a house where you ask for a $5 million loan and the bank just gives you the money without having to submit any documents. 6 months down the road they look into you and come to realize you don’t have a job, filed for bankruptcy a year ago and then they tell you that you have to get out of the house. With our underwriting process, the processor and the bank know what you are selling, the have vetted your business, and this gives you comfort knowing that the account is stable for the long term. On top of that our rates are much lower than Square’s standard flat rate.

Why should we be charging our customers 4% if that is not what we are paying?

The reason we recommend charging your customers 4% when doing cash discount / surcharge is because 4% is basically the ceiling on all of the interchange rates, even some of the high end American Express cards. If I tell you that I am going to eliminate your processing fees, I want to make sure that I am totally eliminating them. If you did a 3% cash discount, and then let’s say in the first month you only had 10 credit card transactions but 7 of them were American Express cards, your “cost” may be higher than 3% and you would still have some fees to pay. Where as if you had done 4% that would have covered all of your fees.

What processors and banks do you work with?

When you sign up with me, your merchant account is essentially with my company. We are basically a sub-ISO of a credit card processor which is the ISO. You probably will ask what an ISO is. An ISO is an independent sales organization and is a company that acts as an intermediary between merchants and the acquiring banks that ultimately take in the payments from credit card transactions. The ISO serves a number of functions, including finding new merchant clients on behalf of the acquiring banks and major payment processors, processing the transactions put through by small businesses, and, in many cases, providing support and customer service to merchants for the lifetime of their relationship with the ISO. What’s great about working with a company that is contracted with an ISO is that you get the best of both worlds, the technology / pricing from the ISO and the 5 star customer service from our company that you likely wouldn’t get if you were direct with the ISO. The main ISO that I have a relationship with is Maverick Payments. They service upwards of 100,000 merchants. They have 3 sponsor banks, those sponsor banks are Evolve Bank and Trust, Avidia Bank, and Esquire Bank. I don’t want to bore you with the details because at the end of the day your merchant account would be serviced by my company but just know there is a behind the scenes support and tech support team at all times.

What types of equipment do you offer and what is the cost?

When it comes to equipment we literally can offer any payment processing solution. We have credit card terminals (Dejavoo, Pax, Verifone, Ingenico to name a few of the brands). We can offer mobile payments that are terminal based or app based on phones / tablets with swiper devices. We have gateways such as NMI and Authorize.net as an example where you can key in transactions, they have the ability to do recurring billing and subscription type payments, invoicing, store customer data through customer vaults. We offer POS systems directly through our company such as Blogic, Quantic, Dejapaypro, SwipeSimple, plus we can integrate into tons of different POS systems and Saas products that we aren’t necessarily resellers of. Our more robust POS systems can do inventory control, employee management, online ordering, QR code ordering, payroll. In addition to the payment processing, we also have a direct relationship with ADP so we can offer payroll services at a discounted rate. You name it, we can do it.

Let’s say I want to sign up, what does the process look like and how long will it take to get my equipment? What is the cost of the equipment? What information will you need from me and are there any contracts?

The first thing I want to do is put together a cost savings analysis for you so we know what the pricing / savings looks like. Once we do that and you decide to move forward, I will send you the merchant application. The merchant application should only take about 20 minutes to fill out. It asks questions about your business (address, federal tax ID, etc), personal information (address, phone, email, drivers license, social), your processing (how much volume you do, your average ticket, your max ticket, how you take payments whether it’s 100% card present or 50% card present vs card not present, etc), then it will ask you to upload some documents which will likely be drivers license, voided check, a processing statement and maybe a bank statement or two, then once the app is completed you will sign the application. Once we go to underwriting, you will either get approved or they will ask for more information. Once you get approved they will ship out whatever equipment you need and it usually takes 2 business days to receive. All of the equipment we provide we give at exact cost from our supplier. If you wanted a free terminal, there is a monthly fee for the free terminal so the processor can recoup the cost of the equipment. Once you get the equipment I will either come in or call you over the phone and help you set it up. Lastly, there are no contracts. We don’t believe in putting merchants under contract because if we are doing a great job there is no need for a contract.

What happens if I try cash discount and I don’t like it?

When we get your statement we will put together a cost savings analysis that shows savings for traditional processing and cash discount. If you try cash discount and decide to switch go to traditional processing, we literally get you to sign a fee change form and the pricing gets changed on the back end. Once a download is done on the terminal it will remove the 4% non cash adjustment. Honestly we have found that once merchants go to cash discount and give it a solid 30-60 day trial period they won’t go back to traditional processing because they love the savings. The other thing you can do to combat the rebuttal from switching to cash discount is implement PIN debit. By giving your customers the option to pay with cash and PIN debit, they will be less likely to get upset when paying a 4% non cash adjustment on a credit card transaction. Again, if you are going to try cash discount we recommend trying it for at least 30-60 days as your customer base adjusts to the new pricing model.

When will I get my deposits?

Our sponsor banks have the ability to do next day funding and even same day funding if you are batching really late at night. Our goal would be to qualify your merchant account for next day funding. Each sponsor bank has a different cut off time. One of them is 9 pm est, and the other two are 11 pm est. If we get your account qualified for next day funding and you batch out your terminal, POS, gateway before the cut off time you would receive your deposits the next morning.

What happens if I have a problem with my terminal? Is there a customer support number?

The great thing about working with someone local is that you always have that first line of defense when it comes to customer service. You will have direct access to my cell phone and our company will be the one servicing your account. If for some rare reason you can not reach me and it’s an urgent issue at the processor level you have a tech support line you can call, plus all of the terminal / POS brands have their own dedicated support lines during regular business hours plus an after hours help desk.

How long have you been doing merchant services? Do you have any references?

At Capstone Payment Solutions, we have a direct pipeline to the top 5 payments companies in the US to offer you the lowest rates on your merchant account. We have been in the payments industry for over a year but we have partners with payments companies that have been in the industry for over 20 years. We are actively involved in the community and are engaging with new business owner prospects on a daily basis. What I can tell you is that my processors service thousands of businesses and process billions in transactions.

Why should I accept credit and debit cards?

When you take your business from a cash-only operation to one that accepts credit and debit cards, your potential customer base broadens significantly. The more customers you attract, the more likely you are to make additional sales. Accepting credit cards helps level the playing field with your competition.

What is a merchant account?

A merchant account—aka merchant services account—establishes a business relationship with a merchant services provider, like a bank, and enables a business to accept debit and credit cards, Apple Pay and other contactless payments, eCommerce transactions, and more.

How does the merchant account work?

A merchant account is a type of bank account that allows businesses to accept payments by debit or credit cards. When a customer pays for a product or service with a credit card, the funds are first deposited into the merchant account and from there eventually transferred to the business bank account.

Why do I need to provide my Social Security and/or Tax ID number on the merchant services application?

This applies to US-based businesses. Providing your Social Security Number and home address is a requirement when applying for most merchant services accounts.

What kind of businesses do you accept?

You will be able to provide payment processing for any legal business online or offline.

Do I need a business license?

A business license is almost always required: Merchant account underwriters review and file a copy of your license to validate your business’s standing. This can be anything from a fictitious name statement to articles of incorporation.

Do I need a business checking account?

Even if you are a sole proprietorship, you will need a business bank account before opening a merchant account. You can open one in about 15 minutes at your local branch and they only require that you have a business license and EIN (employer identification number, which can be your social security number if you’re a sole prop with zero employees)

Are you direct merchant services?

Yes we have access to over 25 Banks-Payment Companies Worldwide to find the best pricing & benefits for yourself and your merchants.

Are you a third party?

No, We are a direct merchant services provider

What if my business is not based in the US?

We can provide payment processing worldwide besides OFAC countries. Currently, sanctioned countries include the Balkans, Belarus, Burma, Cote D’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and Zimbabwe.

How long will it take to begin accepting card payments?

For your low risk/retail merchants than can be up and running in as little as 24 hours. For your ecom, mid to high risk merchants it can take on average 2-5 business days to be approved.

What is a chargeback and why might I receive one?

This occurs when a cardholder disputes a transaction with the card issuer. The issuer initiates a retrieval request against you and the disputed amount is withdrawn from your account until the matter is settled. You are given 10 days to dispute the chargeback with proof of purchase or delivery. The merchant account provider imposes a chargeback fee as part of the process. Chargebacks are a consumer protection tool that allow consumers to get their money back for fraudulent charges or purchases that do not live up to standards by submitting a dispute with their card issuer.

What is a rolling reserve?

A rolling reserve allows a credit card processor to withhold a pre-specified percentage of your gross sales. The processor deposits the held funds into a non-interest-bearing account for a predetermined period that is specified in your merchant processing agreement. A typical rolling reserve lasts about 90 days. Once your merchant proves that he or she is not a risk to the bank the full reserve taken would be paid back to the merchant. The rolling reserve is set in place if say they process for 3 months, skip town, get 100% chargebacks, the bank now has some capital to recoup their loss. If the chargebacks came to say $10k and the merchant only had $1k in their bank the bank cannot take money to cover the losses when there is not money there to take, hence the rolling reserve.

What is PCI compliance?

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is an information security standard for organizations that handle branded credit cards from the major card schemes. The PCI Standard is mandated by the card brands but administered by the Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council

What is the Durbin Amendment?

The Durbin Amendment made it legal to pass the cost of processing on to the consumer through a cash discount. Cash discounting is legal in all 50 states. There are three things required for cash discount: proper signage in the store, clearly denoting any cash discounts on the receipt, and clearly offering the cash discount before completing the transaction. It is important to note that it is not legal for merchants to profit off their own processing. In other words, these non-cash adjustments must go directly to the processor and the program must be reported to the card brands.

What is interchange?

A fee that is set by the credit card brands and paid to their member banks. Interchange is charged to credit card processors, who pass the cost along to you as part of the discount fee. It makes up the largest portion of credit card processing fees.

What are the card brand fees?

The card assessments are also incurred by the merchant as a pass through cost from the processor. This money is collected by the processor and paid to the card brands: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.

What is a cash discount?

A cash discount is when a business offers a discount to customers who pay by cash or check instead of a credit or debit card. When they pay by card, either a 3 or 4% fee is added to the bill to cover their credit card fees, eliminating all of the processing fees, and saving business owners $2,000-$3500 monthly on their credit card fees for every $100k they process. The merchant saves the most money with this program. There are 2 types of cash discount: 1.0 with which the prices are cash prices & there is a non cash adjustment line item & 2.0 is when the merchant raises the prices slightly & they become credit card prices with the percentage built in.

Why does Stripe & Square ask for so little information to get approval & we ask for more?

We provide a traditional merchant account which is like getting a real bank account whereas Stripe does not. They basically don’t do any underwriting so it’s easy to get quick approval with little info but it’s also easy to get your account frozen or terminated for little reason. Imagine if you went to a bank to get a loan & the only thing they asked for was the last four of your social. You get the approval, then a few months later they find out something they didn’t know about & terminate your account without warning. What Stripe does is easy up front but can be a nightmare later on. We provide the most stable & compliant account possible which sets your business up for long term success.