Friday, September 30, 2011

If a merchant account offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

I had just received paperwork from a client late last night, and as soon as I got it I submitted it to the bank for review. This client is in a rush to get the merchant account live as there are some pending rebills that need to go in, which I completely understand. I had told my client that I am going to do everything possible to get the MID live ASAP. What this client told by another party is that they could have the MID issues, from the same bank, in 1 day. 

I have been in this business for a long time, and getting a direct merchant account the same day your paperwork is submitted is basically impossible.

So, when speaking to you ISO or processors, if they say something like this, or have claims that just seems a bit too out there, then you can expect a couple of things.

1. They are just trying to get your business and will tell you everything you want to hear. I personally don't like doing business this way, I would much rather manage my clients expectations right from the get go and then hopefully exceed them. I have learned that honesty is really the best way and what allows me to get repeat business from my clients. I would much rather tell a client bad news and work on a way to resolve the problem, then lie. The merchant services industry does have some shady characters, promising the world. Those are the people out there for a quick buck, not long term relationships.

2. They are not setting up the account correctly. If you are interested in a quick smash and grab, then I am not interested in doing business with you. A lot of work goes into setting up and managing accounts and its my goal to provide you with a long term processing solutions, and that is also what I expect from my clients. I ensure accounts are properly set-up and that allows for you to process your business through for a very long time. You shouldn't want to work with someone that tries to cut corners as your merchant account will just end up blowing up in your face.

We don't require exclusivity but our clients do give us all their business because they trust us, they know we are working for them, and that we are in this for the long terms. I will also review offers from other merchant services companies that my clients get to give them an honest opinion. If you have a question or concern, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Denied! What to do if your merchant account is rejected or declined?

Having your merchant account application rejected can be an extremely upleasant (to say the least) experience. You have spent tones of time and money building your website, developing your marketing, working out the relationships with your suppliers and you didn't have a doubt in your mind that you would have any issue with your merchant account. This is something that I hear from alot my clients, they assumed that getting the merchant account would be easy, but there was nothing easy about it.

The first thing you need to look at is what industry you are in and if you are in a high risk sector like adult entertainment, travel services, online pharmacy, escort services, dating, telemarketing, high-volume or multilevel marketing. Not every bank, in fact the majority of banks, will not take this business. One of the biggest value adds that I can bring is that I work with alot of banks around the world I know what banks take what type of business. So, working with me gives you a much less chance of being rejected.

But, what to do if you are:

1. Contact me. Seriously. I will get you a merchant account.

2. Understand the why your application has been rejected, both so that you can better deal with the issue, and so that you are better informed and equipped to move on with your business. There are many reasons why banks accept or decline application, it could be a minor mistake on the application or inappropriate answers. I review all application completed to stop these types of errors before they happen. Some other things that can happen.

Lack of documentation - Didn't send in all the documents required. However if your bank would just reject and not ask you for whats missing its probably a bank you don't want to work with anyways.

BBB (Better business bureau) complaint record

Record of Rip-offs or bad publicity on the internet. Banks are very concerned about reputational risk, so they dont want to be associared with companies that have a history of ripping people off.

Being on the TMF or Match list - see this post here

3. Be completely honest when applying for a merchant account. Tell about what happened with previous merchant accounts, have you declared bankrupcty, etc. This information is used to evaluate your company's risk and I always ask my clients to be completely honest as it allows me to better help them. Its like going to the Doctor, you want make sure they know everythig so they can properly treat you.

4. Slightly modify your business model. Making changes to your procedures and Web site and billing model can help you avoid being classified as a high-risk merchant account or less of a high risk account.

5. Find a reliable merchant broker or consultant. Sometimes (alot of the time) instant merchant account Web sites are scams and it is critical to choose a trustworthy merchant account provider for your high-risk business.

You will also see merchant account providers advertise that they have a 98% rate of approval or even higher, but that is because these companies do something called as a “Pre – Qualification” process on their customers before accepting their application for opening a merchant account, with them. Its just a marketing technique...

6. Create a cash reserve for your business to avoid being denied because of chargebacks. If you have money in the bank or strong business financials the bank will definitely see you as much lower risk.

While your merchant account may be seen as a high risk, there are specific companies and services that can offer solutions. There are high-risk merchant account providers and offshore merchant account programs that use a network of banks internationally. This is who we work with and this is a part of the service we provide. You should spend time focusing on your business, while we get you the best merchant account possible. .

If you can establish what they reasons are for the accoubt being declined, you will be better prepared to for your next move. Learn from your errors, so that you will have more success in the future, whether it be with a new application to a different bank, opting to work through a merchant account provider, or trying to set up an offshore merchant account.

If you have been declined, contact me for possible solutions. There are no additional costs to work with us, as we generate revenue from our partners and because of the volume we bring them, the pricing you would get with us would probably be lower then if you went direct.

If you have any questions, don't hestiate to contact me.


We help banks become offshore acquirers.

One of the many things that really seperate us from others is that we don't only provide our consulting services to merchants, we work with a quite a few banks to get going and starting to process for online companies. Currently we are workig with a bank in Europe, a bank in Asia (Taiwan) and a bank in the Carribean who are new to international processing.

These banks are run by bankers of course, so they don't have the experience or background when it comes to medium to high risk ecommerce processing. We do.

We help them set up procesing relationships, we help them with their underwriting policies, we help them with their reporting, we help them manage their risk/exposure and we will help them determine pricing/revenue models.

Because of this unique relationship with banks globally, we are able to place business that nobody else has. We have some unbelievable relationships with banks that have been processing for years, but we also have "virgin" banks.

So, if you are a bank and you are looking to start in acquiring, get in touch. We can definitely help you out. If you are a merchant looking for some "different" processing solutions, we can help you there also.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Merchant Accounts for HCG offers!

Originally prescribed to treat infertility in women by triggering ovulation, HCG is probably one if the hottest products in the online marketing world today. I am asked, literally, on a daily basis if I can get merchants accounts for these types of offers. I am happy to say the answer is YES.

Currently are boarding HCG merchants that:

1. Are established - meaning they have processing history
2. Will go offshore

Domestic HCG accounts are almost impossible to setup, so if you have one, you are very lucky but I would seriously consider setting up an offshore accounts because your domestic account will not be around forever.

If you are interested in setting up an HCG merchant account, contact me today!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Consultant vs Agent. How do we differ in the high risk processing business

When speaking to prospective clients, sometimes I am asked "are you an agent?" and the answer to the question is no, although there are some similarities, it's quite different.

Agents basically act as sales arms of ISO and/or credit card processors. Having worked at one of the largest processors I came into contact with alot of agents. The way an agent typically works is they will get an application from a prospective merchant. Then they will shop that application around to all the processors/ISO's they have relationships with, and hope to find a home. Then they are done.

What we do is very different. We work with a select few processors who we have very strong and longstanding relationships with. I prefer to work with less partners, but with those who I know can deliver. However, not everyone is strong in all areas. For example some have great solutions for dating, others for adult, or pharma....the list goes on. We know exactly who is strong where and that is where we place the business.

The biggest difference though is the extra value that we add through our consultation. We know the rules, we know what works, we know what will help with chargebacks, we know the tools and we know what works and helps other clients of ours. We share that with you. We will help with chargeback reduction, we will help with banking redundancy, website compliance and much more.

So, not only do we setup the merchant account, we also will help you manage it. I am strong believer in letting you focus on what you do best, which is grow your business. Let us manage the merchant account for you. Let us be your advocate.

We have no interest in just shopping deals around, we look to build longterm partnerships and we are constantly looking for new solutions that will help you. Whether its high or low risk, offshore or domestic - this is what we love and this is what we do.

I don't want this post in any way to be seen as negative towards agents. I have worked with many, they are sharp and know the business. Some are extremely successful and alot of ISO/processors rely on them for new sales. We just take a different approach.

One problem I do have with agents, is when too many people are in the middle. Meaning, you have an agents, who passes a deal to another agent, who then passes the deal to either another agent or the final processor/iso. You run into issues where there are too many layers, too many people involved and nothing gets done. We only work with people who are direct to bank or directly with the bank itself.

In the high risk processing business, you never know what can happen. Your account can be shut down, and if you lose your processing you are in big trouble. Could end up on the TMF list or worse, fines. Our goal is to make sure you are always running and have the best possible options at your disposal.

If you have any questions about how we can help you, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

DDDD (Daily Deal Dynamic Descriptor) helps reduce chargebacks and customer service overhead

At Social App Merchant we are always looking at new ways to leverage technology to improve the way our customers operate their business. Daily Deal websites are a big part of our business, and although the industry is in its infancy, we are definitely one of the payment service providers who have quite a lot of experience in dealing with these clients. In previous articles I discussed if Daily Deal websites are high risk, I don't believe they are and that is because I know what the best practices are for ensuring chargebacks are kept in check. And, with all my clients in this space I like to work with them to ensure they are in compliance with these best practices as its beneficial to everyone.

Back to how to leverage technology, we have introduced functionality that allows a daily deal website to pass through name of an actual deal to appear on the credit card statement descriptor, and not just the deal site and customer service phone #.

A merchant descriptor looks something like this:


Dynamic descriptor gives the merchant the ability to control the descriptor on the credit card statement of the customer. Adapting this feature to our previous example, we get:


The “GreenSpa” would be information that the Daily Deal website would be passing with the transaction .

As Daily Deal websites grow in popularity, we are seeing that consumers are making many purchases at the same deal site on a monthly basis. They may see three charges from the same site but may not remember they made those three purchases. Also, they could have purchased several deals across two or more daily deal websites. By implementing daily deal dynamic descriptor (or DDDD - I like that!) functionality, your customers will know exactly what each charge is for. This will reduce the number of call center and email inquiries you receiver as well as reduce chargebacks.

If you are a Daily Deal website and would like to learn more about this, contact me! If you are looking for a processing solutions, we can definitely help there. Take a a look at for information


Monday, September 12, 2011

My new home - Patricia Weber Consulting!

I would like to take this opportunity to let everyone know that I have joined Patricia Weber Consulting as VP High Risk Merchant Management. I have known and worked with Patricia in the past and I am extremely excited about this opportunity. My main goal is to work with Internet Marketers to find the best possible credit card processing solution/s available to them. This is what I have done for the past few years and its what I love doing. Internet Marketers are by far the most innovative and fun group of people to work with. Some of the things I will be doing are:

- Setup merchant accounts and banking relationship for online marketers who fall into a higher risk category.
- Manage merchant account relationships acting as an advocate on behalf of their business
- Assist with expansion into the global marketplace
- Implement best practices to improve the customer experience.
- Recommend tools to reduce fraud and increase conversions.
- Prepare and execute a chargeback reduction plan
- Help high volume merchants spread volume across multiple banks to reduce the risk of their account being terminated without having any back up processing in place.
- Work with high volume merchants to increase their processing bandwith by setting up accounts with either no cap, or multiple accounts.
- Work with merchants to manage their accounts, monitor chargebacks and ensure processing uptime.
- Offshore company formation (when needed)

You can read more about our services here -

In addition to our consulting, we also have another division called Social App Merchant. Social App Merchant focuses more on emerging markets and businesses that are "out of the box". As an example, we work with a lot of Daily Deal companies, mobile dating, etc etc. So, although the business might not be high risk, alot of banks don't really understand. So, we work with these merchants to find the right solutions for them.

You can read more about Social App Merchant here -

I am very excited about this next stage or my career and working with Patricia. If I can help you and your business out in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me.