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Showing posts from July, 2009

Merchant Account Cancellation Fees

It is a standard practice in the industry to charge an early termination fee. This is understandable - considerable time and effort goes into underwriting and boarding a new account, time is spent on customer service, etc. An early termination fee is a way for a merchant account provider to make sure they will recoup their initial investment into a new merchant account. These fees are usually range from $200 - $500 depending on the provider.

However, some entities enact extremely unethical early termination fees.

For example, some merchant account providers will charge a mutliple on the earnings from the largest volume month over the past 12 months. Some providers will go so far as charge a multiple on their profit + interchange + dues and assessments!

Two examples that I have encountered:

1) Big Bank - I had a merchant processing with this bank. They wanted to cancel, and were prepared to pay what they thought was a $295 early termination fee. They receive a communication from the bank t…

MWAA Annual Meeting

I spent the last couple days attending the MWAA (Midwest Acquirers Association) annual conference in Lombard, IL. As always, the show was very productive. There is always great educational opportunities and networking opportunities at these trade shows. I learned a lot, and made many new valuable connections.

One thing that was very apparent, the show was very "retail" oriented. Most of the discussions, panels, questions, etc revolved around serving the retail merchants of America. It's great that the retail segment is given a lot of attention, as they are deserving of it. They are a large segment, and they are and have always been a staple of the American economy.

However, a specific segment was sorely overlooked. The Internet segment. There were no sessions, panels, discussions, questions about Internet merchants at all. To me, that is mind boggling. Internet merchants are a major segment of U.S. commerce, and will continue to grow and grow quickly. Before long, every me…

Credit Card and ACH Processing in FoxPro

Yeah, you heard me. FoxPro! FoxPro is a database platform that has been around for an extremely long time and at one time was widely considered the fastest database platform available.

I remember seeing an Apple demonstration in the early 90's, running on the hotest Mac of the time, and using the Fox platform. The demo ran searches against the U.S. postal database in milliseconds. Very impressive.

Much like other database technologies - such as Microsoft Access, FileMaker or 4th Dimension (4D) - most FoxPro users and developers never consider the possibility of running credit card and ACH (E-check) transactions, in real time, through their FoxPro databases.

When you realize that this type of automation can be done, the possibilities are endless. For example:

- Eliminate exporting and importing to/from third party applications to run transactions.
- Automate the payment process - auto charge customers.
- Create cascading systems - i.e. if a credit card payment fails, run an E-check trans…