Right #1

The right to know the fee for every card transaction ― and who’s charging it.

As the owner or operator of a small or mid-sized business, you deserve ― and should expect ― competitive pricing and the best value for payments processing … including credit, debit and prepaid card processing.

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Right #2

The right to know the markup of Visa®, MasterCard®, Discover® Network and American Express® fee increases.

Visa, MasterCard, Discover Network and American Express typically adjust interchange rate categories and fees annually in April and October. When rates go up, many processors seize the opportunity to inflate them even more ― and then deceptively blame the increase on the card brands.

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Right #3

The right to know all Visa, MasterCard, Discover Network and American Express fee reductions.

Oftentimes, annual fee adjustments by Visa, MasterCard, Discover Network and American Express include reductions in some card transaction categories. And, while many processors and their middlemen eagerly pass fee increases along to larger merchants, most don’t pass reductions onto small and mid-sized merchants.

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Right #4

The right to know all transaction middlemen.

The chain of events that begins when you swipe a customer’s card is fairly straightforward. At minimum, it requires four essential entities to process the transaction: a bank, a card brand (Visa / MasterCard / Discover Network / American Express), a telephone or internet connection and a processor.

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Right #5

The right to know all surcharges and bill-backs.

Many processors and their middlemen hide arbitrary charges ― often classified as “surcharges” ― without disclosing them to merchants. These charges are pure profit to processors and their middlemen, making transactions that are already expensive even more costly for you.

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Right #6

The right to real-time dedicated service.

Service and support are critical factors in implementing and maintaining a card acceptance program. Unlike national merchants, you may lack the resources needed to ensure proper training, ongoing support ― and the best available rates.

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Right #7

The right to encrypted card numbers and secure transactions.

Data security solutions are quickly evolving, yet not all processors guarantee encrypted card numbers throughout the transaction lifecycle and secure payments. Many have not implemented the most advanced technology, and if they have, may not have made the financial investment required to completely protect their systems.

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Right #8

The right to real-time fraud and transaction monitoring.

Credit and debit card fraud costs American businesses billions of dollars every year. Thieves work overtime to find ways to steal from merchants. Often disgruntled or dishonest employees ― even some customers ― are masters at making money the illegal way ... and not getting caught.

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Right #9

The right to reasonable equipment costs.

When big companies buy equipment, they often solicit proposals from multiple equipment manufacturers to drive the best deal. As the owner of a small or mid-sized business, you may not have the time or resources to shop around for a payment device, so you probably turn to your processor for guidance. However, you’re probably not getting the deal you’ve bargained for ― and you most likely don’t know it.

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Right #10

The right to live customer support 24/7/365.

With most Americans relying on credit and debit cards for their purchases, one minor problem that prevents or delays the processing of transactions at the point of sale can have devastating effects. Combine the ripple effect of customer dissatisfaction with lost revenue, and it’s easy to see why live customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year is mission critical for all merchants.

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If you accept credit, debit and prepaid cards, you have rights.

The Merchant Bill of Rights promotes fair credit, debit and prepaid card processing practices on behalf of owners of small and mid-sized businesses. Proposed as an industry standard, it calls for the clear and straightforward presentation of card processing costs.

Its purpose: to enable merchants who don't have the resources of large purchasing organizations to effectively manage their costs, determine which processor best meets their needs and realize significant savings.