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What does a retailer need to know about Amex?

How does a check warranty system work?

Should I accept checks by phone?

What do retailers need to know about Diners cards?

What does a retailer need to know about Discover cards?

What is ECA and how can it help my business?

What is an EFT?

What does a retailer need to know about JCB cards?

What is a small ticket warranty and why would I want it for my business?

What is a virtual check?



What does a retailer need to know about Amex?
American Express credit cards are widely used and accepted. Card users tend to be loyal, though some merchants have reported problems with chargebacks from the company. If you wish to accept Amex cards, be aware that they have slightly higher merchant rates than the standard rates for Mastercard and Visa, and make sure your merchant account can handle Amex transactions. There's a payoff: Amex customers spend four or five times more on their cards than Mastercard and Visa holders. Amex business cards are particularly well-marketed, making Amex acceptance a must if your organization caters to business professionals. If you are in an area frequented by tourists or business travelers, you may also wish to be sure your equipment and merchant account can accept American Express travelers' checks.

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How does a check warranty system work?
If a significant percentage of your customer base does business by check, you may wish to investigate such products as the Telecheck Check Warranty system, which guarantees the full amount of any check that meets its requirements. This means merchants can accept out-of-state and low-numbered checks and spend less time chasing bad-check writers. To be accepted under a check warranty program, a check must carry the customer's address and phone number, and must be dated the same day as the sale. The customer must sign the check, and no third-party checks are allowed.

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Should I accept checks by phone?
Did you know that your business could accept checks by phone? Check-by-phone software creates a "virtual" check at the seller's point of sale which can be deposited immediately (no waiting for an order to arrive by mail). Sometimes called "e-checks," these drafts can be processed by fax or Internet as well as over the phone. Depending on your needs, you may be able to verify the customer's account status before processing the order, thus saving time and money spent managing orders for people without sufficient funds. If you have a substantial customer base who prefers to pay by check, it's worth adding this service to your merchant account.

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What do retailers need to know about Diners cards?
Diners Club was a pioneer in the charge-card industry in the 1950s, but has not gained sufficient market penetration or innovation to attract large numbers of merchants and cardholders. In 2004, the company announced an alliance with Mastercard, so that now Diners cards are accepted anywhere Mastercards are valid. For this reason, a merchant need not worry about specifically accepting or marketing to holders of Diners cards. They are still somewhat common among business travelers, and the company has rewards programs aimed at the affluent.

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What does a retailer need to know about Discover cards?
Discover differs from category leaders Mastercard and Visa in that it allows customers to set up automated payments from a bank account to clear the entire balance. It also allows customers to pay their debts at any Sears store (the card originated as part of a financial network operated by Sears). Card members tend to be loyal, though their numbers are fewer and their cards are accepted at few locations outside the U.S. Most merchant accounts will allow you to accept Discover cards, but you may have to pay a $25 application fee to Discover.

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What is ECA and how can it help my business?
ECA stands for Electronic Check Acceptance, a service from Telecheck, a widely used check guarantee program available through your merchant account provider. The sales clerk feeds the customer's check into a reader which converts it to an electronic transaction, with funds available to the merchant within two or three business days, the same as a credit-card sale. The customer then signs a printed receipt and gets the voided check back on the spot. Telecheck charges a fee for this service, but the merchant never has to deal with returned-check fees and can accept out-of-state checks with confidence. Because customers get their checks back, this system also helps reduce their qualms about their information being used fraudulently. You'll need a reader such as the Eclipse Terminal Printer, which can read checks as well as being used for credit and debit card transactions.

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What is an EFT?
Electronic funds transfer (EFT) is the system behind many financial transactions that do not involve physical exchange of cash or checks. If you've ever received a direct deposit of a paycheck or tax refund, you've used EFT. This method is popular with government agencies because sending an EFT payment costs a fraction of what it costs to print and mail a check. They also eliminate issues with checks being stolen, subject to postal misadventures, or lost by the recipient. Funds are available immediately in many cases. EFTs are also used for credit- and debit-card transactions, automatic-teller withdrawals and mail order, phone and Internet purchases.

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What does a retailer need to know about JCB cards?
JCB is a Japanese credit card provider similar to Mastercard or Visa in the U.S. Increasingly, U.S. businesses in cities frequented by Japanese visitors are accepting these cards, and Ignite Payments and other reputable merchant account providers are adding JCB to their list of cards they can process. JCB acceptance is particularly helpful to tourist-oriented businesses such as hotels, restaurants, popular attractions and gift shops, but should also be considered for merchants who cater to business travelers from abroad, and for Internet merchants whose products are of interest in Japan and other parts of Asia.

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What is a small ticket warranty and why would I want it for my business?
A small ticket warranty is one form of check warranty system for businesses. The guarantee service sets standards for accepting checks, then guarantees them against bad-check writers. There is a small per-check charge for this service, which is geared toward businesses that accept high volumes of low-dollar checks.

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What is a virtual check?
A virtual check is a kind of electronic transaction that takes the same amount of time as a credit-card purchase online, but instead results in a paper check being printed at the vendor's location for deposit as with any other check. This option is commonly used by government agencies and other organizations that do not want to set up merchant accounts and pay fees to accept credit cards. It places a somewhat higher burden on the buyer, who has to enter a bank account number, routing number and a transit code (the number on your checks that looks like a fraction). Because many customers balk at gathering up this information or transmitting it over the Internet, virtual checks are not widely used.

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Services by Ignite Payments.

The Ignite Payments name, trademark and logo are owned by Ignite Payments Corporation. All other trademarks, service marks and trade names referenced in this material are the property of their respective owners. The Ignite Payments Agent Program is operated by Ignite Payments International, Inc. Ignite Payments International, doing business as Ignite Payments, is a registered ISO/MSP of Wells Fargo Bank, N.A., Walnut Creek, CA. American Express requires separate approval. Ignite Payments Ventura County is an independent agent for Ignite Payments International.
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