Information on Merchant Accounts,
Ecommerce and Credit Card Processing

October 18th, 2005 by Jamie Estep

How secure is a website?

Filed in: Ecommerce |

Having a secure website is one of the most important aspects of owning an ecommerce website. A secure website allows your customers to enter and transmit their information over the internet securely. The misconception that most people have, is that a secure (SSL) connection is all that is needed to secure a website.

The problem with securing a website, is that there are several aspects that need to be secure for the website to truly be secure. Unfortunately the aspect that is easiest to secure is by far the least vulnerable to loosing sensitive information.


October 14th, 2005 by Jamie Estep

Bundled Processing Rates BreakDown

Filed in: Merchant Accounts |

Many business owners that I talk to appear to be interested in bundled processing rates. A great deal less are interested after finding out exactly what a bundled rate is, and isn’t. Bundled rates can be great for some business and terrible for others.

What is a bundled processing rate?
A bundled rate is simply a combination of the credit card processing fee, and the transaction fee into a single flat percentage rate. The reason that a bundled rate seems appealing is that is simplifies the whole transaction process, at least a far as looking at it on a statement is concerned. The reason that bundled rates are bad for merchants, is that they stand to spend a lot more money on their credit card processing with a bundled rate compared to a standard rate.


October 14th, 2005 by Jamie Estep

Ebay’s purchase of VeriSign unit seen as good move – Consumer Services – Technology, Software

Filed in: Industry News |

Ebay’s purchase of VeriSign unit seen as good move – Consumer Services – Technology, Software

The purchase of Verisign by Paypal could be considered one of the most significant acquisitions in credit card processing history.

September 29th, 2005 by Jamie Estep

Merchants sue Visa, MasterCard over fees

Filed in: Industry News |

Merchants sue Visa, MasterCard over fees

SEP. 26 1:34 P.M. ET Four merchant associations on Monday filed an antitrust, class-action lawsuit against Visa USA Inc., MasterCard Inc. and a number of top U.S. banks for allegedly colluding to set credit card transaction fees at anticompetitive levels.

MasterCard and Visa already face a number of retailer lawsuits that claim fees paid on each transaction amount to price fixing, and are designed to stifle competition. Both credit-card associations — valued for their processing networks as much as their brand names — derive most of their profits from the fees.

September 12th, 2005 by Jamie Estep

Starting an online business – Is an all-in-one ecommerce solution just an all-in-one failure? Intro

Filed in: Ecommerce |

For entrepreneurs that are new to the internet, all-in-one ecommerce solutions can seem like the perfect solution. But many times, an all-in-one solution is a recipe for an all-in-one failure. This post will consist of 4 parts, involving setting up a website online. First will be an introduction, second will cover setting up a website, third will help you understand accepting payments online, and fourth will cover marketing and SEO. Each day will have relevant resources for that day’s topics.

The internet has millions of websites and of these, thousands of them are selling products online. Of these online businesses, thousands of them use pre built, all-in-one ecommerce solutions. The problem with a pre-made solution is that no matter which company is providing it, they almost always look the same. Completely independent companies have the same cookie cutter look as everyone else. These systems make it hard to distinguish yourself from everyone else.


September 6th, 2005 by Jamie Estep

What is a high risk business?

Filed in: International, Merchant Accounts | 11 comments

Often businesses run into the problem of being labeled as a high risk business for processing electronic payments and are forced into unconventional processing agreements. Many business owners have no idea that their industry falls into a high risk category.

Shades of Grey and Red:
High Risk businesses fall into either the gray area between a normal business and a definitive high risk business, or fall into the red zone for truly high risk businesses.


September 1st, 2005 by Jamie Estep

What does a fraudulent transaction look like?

Filed in: Ecommerce, Fraud, Guides, Merchant Accounts, My Favorite Posts | 10 comments

Card Fraud

Nearly every online business will run into a visitor that is trying to make fraudulent purchases on their website at some point. Hopefully the transaction or situation can be identified and corrected before it ever becomes a real problem.

Unfortunately, fraud has become synonymous with online business. There are so many ways that fraud can be committed through a website, with several desired outcomes for fraudsters. Not all fraudulent transactions are made to obtain merchandise. Card testing is another problem that some merchants face, where the transaction is not meant to obtain goods.

It is important for merchants to be able to identify fraudulent situations and purchases before there is ever a shipment of products. Voiding a transaction is far easier to do than obtaining merchandise lost to a fraudulent transaction.


August 30th, 2005 by Jamie Estep

The story of 3rd party processing…

Filed in: Ecommerce, Merchant Accounts |

There are 2 options for a business when choosing to accept credit cards on the internet; a traditional merchant account, and 3rd party processing. 3rd party processors are companies like Paypal,, and Ikobo. Both, merchant service providers and 3rd party processors essentially provide the same service of enabling a business to accept credit cards.

The difference between the two business types is that third party processors process the transaction for your business under their own name, but with a merchant account, the transaction is processed under your businesses name. Visa and MasterCard both have strict policies against having another company process your transactions for you.


August 29th, 2005 by Jamie Estep

Popular Credit Card Machines

Filed in: Credit Card Equipment |

These are some of the most popular credit card machines that are currently being sold and used in the US.

The main brands being used in the US are Verifone, Hypercom, and Lipman. All three companies have terminals that are well suited for just about any business. Lipman is by far the leader in wireless processing with three wireless terminals in circulation. While Verifone has been the most popular brand in the past, Lipman and Hypercom are quickly gaining market ground in the US.


August 26th, 2005 by Jamie Estep

Credit Card Truncation

Filed in: Credit Card Equipment, Merchant Accounts | 5 comments

Credit Card Receipt
I wrote a lengthly truncation article about two years ago on my business website, and I think it is important enough to post an article about it here. Visa and MasterCard have slightly different policies regarding truncation so I will cover the most restrictive here.

Please refer to Credit Card Truncation if you would like information about a specific state’s policies.