Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ’s

Do I have to sign a contract?
Yes.  A 1-year service agreement is required on all new accounts.

Why do you do a credit check? Why do you need my financials?
Credit checks are required by Visa® and MasterCard® and are necessary to determine if the business owners are financially sound. Financial stability is the most critical component of the approval process. A valid driver’s license and business license (Tax ID SS-4 form) are some of the documents required to start a merchant account.

Why does Simply Payments need to review my credit information?
When you apply for a merchant account, you are essentially applying for an unsecured line of credit. When a transaction takes place, the cardholder is debited and the merchant is credited for the amount of the transaction. The cardholder still has chargeback rights and can dispute the transaction for up to 90 days. When a cardholder initiates a chargeback with a valid reason code, the funds are automatically taken from the merchant’s account and credited back to the cardholder. Simply Payments wants to ensure that each potential merchant is financially sound, has a viable business and is operating in good faith and standing, so these disputes can be resolved with the merchant.

How long does it take to get set up?
The time it takes to establish a merchant account depends on several factors including: completeness of the application submitted, accuracy of the information provided and any required additional paperwork. After your application has been approved, it usually takes just a few days to establish the actual account and to arrange for any required training. (Canadian and international processing set-ups are completed in 10 days to two weeks.)

How long does it take to get the funds in my bank account?
Funds are electronically settled within one to two business days. Some high-risk businesses may have different settlement options.

When do you charge my account for fees?
Your account will be charged for all appropriate fees on or around the 2nd of the month following the activity, via an Automated Clearing House (ACH) transaction. The detail of your fees will appear on your merchant statement that you will receive the first full business week of the month following the activity.

What types of cards can I accept from customers? Can you set up my business to accept all of them?
You can accept Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express®, Discover®, Diners Club®, JCB® and Debit cards. Once we have established accounts with them, we can facilitate the clearing of their transactions through our processing systems.

What is “interchange” and how does it work?
Interchange are the fees associated with exchange of transaction data between Acquiring and Issuing institutions in accordance with the Visa and MasterCard bylaws and rules. It is the fee that Visa and MasterCard charge to clear your transaction to the cardholder bank. The interchange fee is actually paid to the bank that issued the card while the merchant’s bank is charged the interchange fee. Merchant transactions are gathered for processing every night, these transactions are routed to the cardholders to be charged and merchants are credited accordingly.

Will my merchant account be approved with a processing limit?
Merchant accounts are approved based on actual or projected dollar volume. Simply Payments monitors account activity and reserves the right to review accounts at any time should volume be significantly above or below the level represented on the merchant application.

When should I inform my current payment processor that I will be closing my account?You should wait until your account is set up to process your transactions through Simply Payments.  Once you’re ready to process with us, you can inform your previous provider.

What is check verification? Do I need it?Check verification is a service that provides merchants with varying degrees of insurance against bad check losses by verifying the authenticity of each check and/or its presenter. Checks are verified through a national database gathered from retailers who upload bad check information. While check verification service is not required, this service does help keep your business losses to a minimum.

What are debit cards?Debit cards at the point of sale are an alternative payment method. When goods or services are purchased with an ATM Debit Card, the funds are deducted from the customer’s checking account.

What is the difference between online debit and offline debit?
The difference between these two debit choices is whether a PIN (personal identification number) is used at the point of sale. When a PIN is used the transaction becomes “online” and funds are immediately withdrawn from the cardholder’s available funds. When an offline debit transaction occurs, funds are not withdrawn until the transaction processes – usually 1 day after the sale. Debit card transactions are the fastest growing point-of-sale payment method today. The acceptance of this payment method continues to remain popular because customers and merchants both appreciate the convenience and ease of using debit cards to purchase merchandise and services.

What are commercial cards?
Commercial cards – corporate, business, purchasing – are issued to businesses as an alternative way of financing expenses such as supplies, T&E, etc. (often replacing purchase orders). These cards also provide users with specific reporting advantages. By using a commercial card, cardholders get itemized records of all their purchases, which simplifies reimbursement procedures and helps track expenses. This specialized reporting is possible because specific data is captured at the point of sale. MasterCard and Visa each provide issuers with the ability to issue commercial card products.

What is a private label card?
A private label card is a credit card issued under the name of a particular merchant organization. Merchants offer it as an incentive for cardholders to spend money at their businesses. Cardholders receive benefits (special discounts, deferred payment schedules, frequency points, etc.) for using the private label card instead of Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Private label cards carry the insignia of the merchant issuing the card. (ex: Macy’s, The Gap)

What is Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)?
EBT is the automation of cash or cash-like benefits through electronic authorization, data capture and settlement processes. This is accomplished with the use of plastic magnetic-stripe cards at the point-of-sale terminal. The end result is the elimination of coupon benefits distribution. The electronic process results in increased security, thereby reducing fraud and benefit misuse.

How can I get the lowest interchange rate?
In order for a merchant to qualify for the lowest processing fee for a particular transaction, the card’s magnetic stripe must be read by the terminal (i.e., cardholder is present) and sales must be deposited and settled daily. The processing rate will be higher for a transaction manually keyed or not deposited and settled through the terminal until the next day.

How can I recognize suspicious customer behavior?
Be alert for the customer who:

  • Makes indiscriminate purchases without regard to size, style, color, or price
  • Makes purchases, leaves the establishment, and returns to make additional purchases
  • Hurries you to complete the sale at closing time
  • Refuses free delivery for large items

What else can we do to protect our business against fraud?

  • Always verify that the signature belongs to the presenter
  • Do not accept any cards which have not been signed
  • Your terminal/computer should prompt you to enter the last four digits of the account number to verify that the account number on the magnetic stripe is correct or your terminal may display the entire card number for comparison to that on the front of the card. If your terminal does not prompt for this, call the terminal help desk and ask for this feature.

What else can we do to protect our business against fraud?  

  • Always verify that the signature belongs to the presenter 
  • Do not accept any cards which have not been signed 
  • Your terminal/computer should prompt you to enter the last four digits of the account number to verify that the account number on the magnetic stripe is correct or your terminal may display the entire card number for comparison to that on the front of the card. If your terminal does not prompt for this, call the terminal help desk and ask for this feature.  

What is an ACH reject fee?  

An ACH Reject Fee is assessed when Simply Payments attempts to deduct fees out of your bank account, but there aren’t enough funds in the account. Think of an ACH Reject Fee like an “overdraft” fee in your bank account.  

Your fees are always billed the month following processing. Fees are always withdrawn during the first week of the month. If the bank account we’re withdrawing from doesn’t have sufficient funds to cover the monthly fees assessed, your account will be charged a $30 ACH Reject Fee.  

Is there a monthly fee?  

Yes, Simply Payments has a $10 monthly fee. This is assessed as part of your monthly billing and covers the cost of paper statements, PCI Self-Assessment questionnaires, and customer support.  

What is a batch fee?  

A batch fee is assessed on every day that transactions are sent in for processing, regardless of how many transactions are processed. Batch fees are paid if you process one transaction or one hundred. So, if your business is open every day, you’d be subject to 30 batch fees in a month.  

Simply Payments’ batch fee is $0.10/batch.  

Chargebacks and Retrievals  

Chargebacks and retrievals are both related to customer disputes of a credit card transaction. A retrieval takes places when a customer’s issuing bank formally requests specific information from you, the merchant or us, the acquiring bank. Retrievals are $12 each. They’re relatively rare, but often times a retrieval will come in the form of an invoice request, or a copy of a signed receipt. When requested, it’s important to act quickly and provide the requested documentation. That way, the issuing bank can verify the validity of the sale, and you can potentially avoid a chargeback. What’s a chargeback, you ask?  

A chargeback occurs when your customer formally contests a sale with their issuing bank. A chargeback is bad news! As a merchant, you want to avoid these as they carry a few negative consequences:  

Chargebacks follow strict Visa/MC/Amex guidelines, and require arbitration between acquiring bank (Simply Payments) and your customer’s issuing bank. This carries internal costs, and as such, chargebacks carry a $20/fee.  

Chargebacks are monitored by Visa/MC/Amex, and can impact your ability to accept credit cards in the future. Processing banks and credit card associations see high chargeback rates as proof of a business’ inability to properly work with customers, and are seen as high-risk.  

You can ship merchandise or deliver a service, and still lose the value of the sale. A chargeback can be won by your customer in many different circumstances. In particular, chargebacks in a card-not-present environment tend to favor the customer very often.  

How can you prevent chargebacks? There are a few important things to do:  

Respond to customer complaints. By resolving a dispute before the customer calls their bank, you can save yourself a lot of effort.  

Offer a refund if you feel the customer may win a dispute. It’s cheaper to offer a refund than to lose a chargeback. You may also be able to offer a “half off” or some other discount to your customer to further ease the sting of the loss. Half is better than none!  

If you’re processing in a card-present environment, always capture a signed receipt with a full description of goods sold or services rendered. These will prove valuable in the chargeback arbitration and will likely result in your favor.  

If you’re processing in a card-not-present environment, always check for fraud! Many chargebacks are caused by fraud. Set virtual terminal settings for AVS and CVV filters, as well as your Daily Velocity filter and your Transaction Limit filters. These can save you a lot of headaches down the line.