Is Your Business Working with a Certified Payments Professional?

fill up card information

Richard Hassman, The Business Resource Guy, here today with a very important question. Would you hand over your social security number, tax id number, home address, and a voided check to someone you have barely any relationship with? Would you hand that information over to someone who was not a certified professional in their field?
Business owners do it everyday.

In my field of credit card processing business owners do it everyday.
Imagine that. Some boiler room calling center gets you on the phone, sets an appointment with you to meet with one of their reps on the promise of lowering your credit card processing fees and that person comes into your business and walks out with enough personal data to ruin you. Is saving a few dollars a month worth that risk?
Of course not.

So what can you do about it?

Work only with a merchant services representative who has earned the designation CPP, or Certified Payments Professional, from the Electronic Transactions Association. The ETA is the primary trade association in my industry and 2 years ago in an attempt to rid the industry of the stench of untrained, short-timer reps out there promising the moon to business owners they moved to self-police the industry. They created the designation CPP and it had to be earned.
To sit for the exam for certification you first had to be working in the industry a minimum of 12 months and you had to be recommended to the exam by a processing company’s management. And the exam was not easy. I had been working in the industry for 6 years when I took the exam and even at that point I still struggled with some of the questions.
I am proud to say that I was one of the first 100 people in my industry to earn the CPP designation.

If you are a business owner who accepts credit cards you understand the complexities involved. Different classifications of cards are charged different rates and then there are the processor’s fees on top of that. Additionally, businesses that are outside the scope of a simple retail brick and mortar business have other factors that can cause confusion to an inexperienced rep signing them up for processing. Factors like the average ticket size, the highest ticket allowed, the mode of card acceptance (e-commerce website, phone orders, mobile phones, etc), and the specific services the business offers all play a part in how the rates will be determined for that business.

For example, if you are a speaker/author/coach type of business who sells coaching programs at the back of the room at events you speak at or sells those programs on your website, you are going to be looked at with very discerning eyes by the risk department of the processor’s underwriters. Why? The reason is that the relationship you have with your customer is considered much riskier than a clothing store.

Another interesting issue is a business that needs to accept very high transaction amounts from one customer while taking lots and lots of smaller transactions from many customers. You may think that you can charge a customer’s card for however high an amount that they will be approved for, but that is not the case.

I bring up these examples to help illustrate why you need to work with a professional who is certified in payments, not just a friendly, charming rep who promises you the moon.

I would love to discuss this post with you and help you better understand the issues related to credit card processing for your business.

All comments are welcome below or fill out my contact form for a consultation and I will reach out to you quickly.

Now go make it an awesome day!

Richard Hassman, The Business Resource Guy