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Credit Cards and Your Business

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/20/2006 | Entrepreneur
Any business will cringe at the thought of what the banks put them through to use credit cards. If you do not know what I mean, then this article is for you!

The fact is that everyone online wants to use a credit card or debit card to process their order. It is very true in our society that the credit card is a way of life, and if you do not offer that ability to accommodate them, customers will move on to another website that does allow them to use their cards. This society has become driven by instant gratification and expects to receive their products immediately, either by a download or a short shipping duration. Taking credit cards as a form of payment on the internet or offline should be thoroughly understood. Read on to see what I mean and how to protect yourself.

The fact is that any merchant taking in payments is immediately at risk for whatever amount is charged and MORE. The banks will take the charge disputed along with a "charge back" fee right from your merchant account, and you better have enough in there that has cleared to pay your own bills or you will be charged more for "overdraft charges". Some banks are waking up to the fact that it is not always the merchant at fault and most merchants are more than honest in their dealings. There is so much credit card fraud out there and since the merchants are ALWAYS liable, you need to realize this and take action to prevent as much disaster for your business as possible.

First, if you have your own merchant account, then you have a lot of work to do when you receive a credit card order. You must verify as best you can that the card, the name on the card, the address, the cvv number verification, and the quantities are all in order. You need to verify the IP address of every order and see if it is within the location of the card holder. A person living in Toronto, Canada, probably would not be in Las Cruces, New Mexico, charging products. This is a red flag but not a deal breaker, some people DO travel. Caution needs to be taken to protect your cash flow. As a merchant you must get money safely into your account for any goods or service you provide, so that you can become a larger or more substantial independent business.

Do not just take in cards and believe that everything is going to be just fine now that you have the money in your account, because it can come out just as fast, or faster, than it went in. There is a real need for you to understand a lot more than can be mentioned in this article.

The best way to receive all the tools and services you need to protect yourself and to make your voice heard is to check this website: http://www.merchant911.org This is a group of dedicated individuals who have been working for years to try to change banking and processing company rules and regulations as relative to merchants, both large and small. If you need any more proof of their dedication, just read some of the press releases and look at the tools they have assembled for merchants to use.

Right now is the time to start to protect yourself from credit card fraud. If you have read any of the newspapers or listened to any of the news reports, then you already know you are at risk. There are reports of over 40 million cards in the hands of criminals and thieves and they will sell these cards or will use them in various illegal methods. It's not hard to imagine that some day soon you will be approached and asked to spend your time and money to ship a product or provide a service with these fraudulent cards.

Do your part to keep America strong and allow your business to grow and prosper, not be destroyed by thieves and credit card sharks.