The ability to process credit cards is important to your business. If your customers cannot use credit cards as a form of payment, you risk losing profits.

Obtaining a merchant account and all of the necessary equipment/software to process credit cards will have you up and running soon. However, it is not always smooth sailing when it comes to processing credit cards. The following three mistakes are common for merchants new to the credit card processing world. Understanding these mistakes will help you learn how to avoid them and ensure that your processing experience stays positive.

1. Use your common sense – it sounds easy enough but many merchants fail to use their best judgment with their merchant account. Avoid changing banks without informing your merchant account holder. Never let anyone else use your merchant account (like a friend or family member). Always respond promptly to requests for more information and to chargebacks. Always ship a customer’s order as soon as possible and avoid charging their card until the order is ready. Never charge for items that are not part of your enrolled business. If you stop and question whether you are doing the right thing, you may be reaching beyond the scope of your account. Check the fine print first, or talk with your merchant services provider for a solution.

2. Better to be over than under – when filling out your merchant account application, you will be asked to estimate the highest transaction amount that you anticipate. Avoid quoting a number that is too low because if you end up with a transaction over that amount, you could be in for a lot of extra paperwork. For example, if you think your highest transaction will be a thousand bucks and someone orders two thousand dollars worth of stuff, your account holder will probably flag the transaction and request proof. Avoid the hassle by overestimating your highest transaction.

3. Check and check again – When it is time to batch out, double check your list of transactions. Make sure that you have all of the amounts entered correctly or you could end up paying the fees for mistaken amounts. You can never be too careful, so take the time to ensure that each transaction has the correct amount. You could save yourself a lot of time, money and headache in the future.

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