Choosing credit card payment processors with an eye for correct policy compliance

Customers may be more willing to patronize stores that make use of credit card processors if those places adhere to relevant industry guidelines – at least when it comes to card fees. Debit can be as widely seen in use as credit, but different rules may apply, depending on the location of a store, and it can improve a business' reputation if they become known for correctly upholding these specific standards.

An MSN Money piece on this topic examined the way certain POS businesses can be charging illegal (or, at the very least, unnecessary) surcharges to customers, or imposing unauthorized minimums on purchases, against the policies of major card companies. Such practices can go unnoticed, but that shouldn't lead businesses into thinking that they should continue this sort of behavior without the danger of being reported. The alternatives to card surcharges may seem steep, but the overall benefit of being able to be honest with the customers in your store and not leave them feeling punished for using their card there can be worth it.

Fees that target the users of specific cards may technically be allowed in some places, but there's a fine line for merchants to walk, especially when the laws in some areas don't entirely match up with federal laws or seem confusing. Though some states, like California and Massachusetts, might overtly ban charges, bordering states might not.

Installing credit processing software can be a big step for a growing business to take, and certain dangerous decisions might lead customers away from them. Making use of a processor that comes approved and allows for best practices can be the best way for companies to satisfy both sides.     

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