Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Merchant Payment Account Rules

Merchant Payment Account RulesMerchant payment account users must follow certain basic card processing rules for all transactions, including the following:
  • Taxes. All taxes should be included in the final transaction amount and should never be collected separately in cash.
  • Card acceptance. Accept all valid cards of the brands listed in your merchant payment account agreement.
  • Minimum and maximum transaction amount. Check with your processing bank on what is the minimum sale's amount that you are permitted to charge. U.S. retailers can set a minimum sale's amount on credit card transactions that must not exceed $10, must not treat different card issuers or card brand differently, and doesn't apply to sales paid for using a debit card.
  • No surcharging. Always treat card transactions like any other forms of transactions. Merchant payment account users must not assess any surcharge on a card transaction.
  • Prohibited uses. Retailers must never use a bank card number to refinance existing debts or for payment for a debt that is considered uncollectible (that is, to recover funds for a bounced check).
  • Convenience fees. For retailers who provide an alternate payment channel (such as mail, phone, or a website) for consumers to pay for merchandise or services, a convenience fee can be added to the sale's amount. If the retailer elects to charge a convenience fee to consumers, the merchant payment account user must comply with applicable Association rules regarding convenience fees.
  • Laundering. Retailers must only deposit transactions only for their own businesses. Doing it for another business is called laundering and is strictly prohibited.
  • Zero-percent tip. For restaurant, limousine, taxi, bar, barber shop, and health transactions with a credit or debit card, the merchant payment account user should authorize only for the check's amount, not adding an estimated tip. Customers can now check their credit or debit accounts in practically real time by telephone, over the web, or at an ATM. An authorization that features a calculated tip can limit a consumer's available funds or credit line by an unexpected amount. This can happen if a customer leaves a cash tip or adds one that is less than the calculated amount used for the authorization request. For instance, a restaurant submits an authorization request for an estimated 20 percent tip, however the consumer actually adds on only 15 percent. Also, be advised that your restaurant authorization approvals are valid for amounts up to 20 percent higher than the check amount.
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