By Guest Blogger, Seth Kelley, Merchant Processing Pros
Note from eFulfillment Service: We invite our partners to write for our blog, introducing our audience to new ideas, tips, advice and different points of view. eFulfillment Service partner Seth Kelley, channel sales manager of Merchant Processing Pros, has 20 years of financial experience, including a decade at PayPal. Following are his answers to questions about merchant processing tips for internet retailers, helping them maximize cash flow.
What are typical triggers that get ecommerce retailers to consider switching processors?
Most often, ecommerce merchants want to change processors after their account has been put on hold, limited or even closed. Oddly, some merchant processors consider an account high-risk when they are selling online and products are being shipped by a third party—a fulfillment center. There is some concern that if a case of fraud ensues, the processor won’t be able to use the inventory as collateral (of sorts) because the fulfillment company would have possession.
Ecommerce Definition: Merchant Account Provider: A merchant account provider is a middleman between an ecommerce business, the consumer and the credit card companies, making it possible for the consumer to pay for an online order using his or her credit card and for that money to move through the issuing bank into the online retailer’s bank account.
What would cause an ecommerce seller to have their processing account get put on hold?
When an internet retailer signs up with PayPal, Braintree, or Stripe account (for Shopify payments), the company is setting up a “merchant of record” account, meaning you do not own the account. The merchant of record owns the account.
There are rules set in the account that automatically put holds, limits or set reserves on all accounts on a broader scale. For example, a processing account might trigger a hold on funds if there’s a sudden spike in sales. The processor is protecting itself from a possible fraud by making sure the goods get delivered to customers, and the customers are satisfied with the products. A sales surge, where the merchant takes the money and disappears without delivering the product or delivering an inferior product means the processor would pay the merchant and then the customers would chargeback the processor. To mitigate the risk, processors delay payment to see if there will be a large amount of chargebacks.
Honest internet retailers can see sales take off, only to have cash flow strangled.
The only way to resolve those situations is to call the processor to get it resolved. With so many clients, and especially during high-volume sales seasons like the holidays, it may take the processor days, even weeks, to contact a single account. And all that time, the online seller is unable to receive a payment.
The internet retailer can sell, during this time. But it won’t be getting any payments into the retailer’s bank account, so it straps cash flow.
How long does it take to switch online credit card processing? Will the ecommerce company have to stop selling for an extended period?
Ecommerce businesses can continue selling through their current merchant processing platform while they go through approval. Once approved we connect the new gateway to their site so there is no disruption in sales. Our approval takes 2-5 days, since we are actually obtaining a bank approved processor that they will own the relationship to (not a merchant of record account)
“Honest internet retailers can see sales take off, only to have cash flow strangled.”
Are there ecommerce shopping carts that allow very easy transitions, like Shopify, for example? Is there a moderate and more difficult set?
All shopping carts integrate with Merchant Processing Pros, our service, since we use authorize.net as a gateway. Authorize.net is the most popular gateway globally, and is integrated by simply putting in credentials to the back end of the shopping cart
Ecommerce Definition: Payment Gateway: Payment Gateway’s facilitate credit card payment for internet retailers primarily with software services at the front end of a transaction and sending customer credit card information to the merchant acquiring bank. Popular gateway services include alternative options you can consider. The following gateway examples all integrate with Shopify: Authorize.net (available in the US, Canada, UK, Europe and Australia), eMerchant Broker, Securepay, First Data Payeezy (US and Canada), SagePay (UK only), TSYS (US only).
PayPal and Stripe have very recognizable brand names. If an ecommerce business makes a switch to a lessor known brand, is there a drop off in sales? Do customers delay or abandon a purchase if they don’t see those options?
No, customers don’t make a purchase decision based on processors, and most often don’t know who is processing their cards. Internet retailers can still offer PayPal as a payment option. The only difference is that the seller will just be using a new processor’s banks for credit card approvals. If an ecommerce business uses Merchant Processing Pros, one of the many banks we work with would process the purchase. Kind of like when one makes a purchase at BestBuy.com—no one has any idea who processes the credit card, you only know you made a payment to Best Buy.
What are the top processing issues that plague internet retailers working with their processing providers during the holiday season? How can those be prevented next year?
Account holds are the biggest holiday issue plaguing internet merchants, especially those who are seeing products start to take off. Because online sellers are processing so many more sales than usual, it’s possible for them to sell more than they were approved for, and hit a new threshold. During the holidays, our industry also sees more fraudulent transactions. One reason that our business is using Authorize.net is its ability to utilize real-time card tracking to prevent a majority of fraud with their clientele. It helps us be more responsive to our ecommerce clients.
Email Seth Kelley, Merchant Processing Pros’s Channel Sales Manager, if you would like to discuss changing processing providers.
If you’re interested in becoming a partner with eFulfillment Service, please email our Marketing Manager, Rachel North (email@example.com).