Getting Started

How To Get Started Processing Cards On iPhone

Trying to make sense of all of this? Don't understand the difference between a merchant account and a gateway account? Let's start with the basics.

To be able to accept a credit card for payment, you need to establish a merchant account. A merchant account basically validates you as a entity operating a legitimate operation that receives income. Obtaining a merchant account requires an underwriting process. You will need to disclose information about your company and/or personal information, like your social security number. An underwriting department evaluates the purpose of your account and verifies your status as a legitimate operation. This verification can be referring to public records, or may require you to supply marketing materials, website address, or any other documentation to show you are indeed a business.

When you are shopping around for a merchant account, you need to determine what is important to you. Lowest rate? Lowest monthly cost? No contract? How it usually works is the companies that offer the best rates usually require a contract, but those companies that don't require a contract are much higher. You need to evaluate your expected volume and projected longevity of your business to decide what is best for you. Regardless of what rates your get, it is almost certain in all cases you will have a monthly fee to maintain your merchant account. This is usually referred to as a "statement fee", but basically is the fee you are paying the ISO to maintain your account.

Don't forget about the PCI compliance fees! What you usually don't find out about until after you get your merchant account is that there are required PCI fees you must pay. If you are shopping around for rates, be sure to inquire what the PCI compliance fees are and how are they billed (monthly/annually). You may find a great account at only $15.00/month, but then find out you have to pay another $15.00/month for the PCI compliance fees, while another account would have cost you $20.00/month, but only $60.00 annually for the fee. If you need to evaluate your complete monthly expense, you must find out about the PCI compliance fees.

Now that you have your merchant account, how do you process transactions? You need some way to transmit credit card information to a processor for payment. Conventionally, this is done with a dedicated terminal hooked up to a phone line. Now we transmit these transaction using the internet instead of phone lines. But to do this, we need a service that converts this network transmission into a package that the processor can understand. This is what a Gateway does.

A Gateway takes a transaction you transmit through the internet and then sends it off to your processor. It then gets a response from your processor if it was approved or not, and then the Gateway returns that response to you. Like your merchant account, your Gateway account will carry a monthly fee and usually a per transaction charge. In some cases, there may be a setup charge. This gateway will keep track of your transactions, and also provide you with a Virtual Terminal. A virtual terminal allows you to use any web browser to submit transactions. You can now accept credit cards for your business... as long as you are in front of a computer.

To accept payments away from your computer, you use iPay POS. To clear up any misunderstanding, there are not any monthly charges with iPay POS. You have the ability to pay a one time fee of $29.99 for iPay POS, after that you may perform unlimited transactions with no further costs. As a secondary option, if you don't do many transactions, you may purchase 10 transactions at a time for $0.99. This is not a monthly cost, but a refill cost.

There are many payment applications for the iPhone in the AppStore. What makes iPay POS different is we don't require you to lock into a merchant account with us. Shop around for a merchant account, or keep you current merchant account. If you just need gateway access, then shop around for that. One very important thing we wanted to point out - if you decide to use another solution in the AppStore, MAKE SURE THEY ARE PA-DSS CERTIFIED. Visa requires ALL payment applications to be PA-DSS certified, but for some reason, this is not being enforced in the AppStore. Using an application that is not PA-DSS certified is like driving a car without insurance. There may come a time where your customer suffers fraud, and regardless if you had anything to do with it, the fact that you took their payment on a system that wasn't certified can give your client cause to pursue action against you. You may think paying $0.99 for another solution is a smart move, but unless they are PA-DSS certified, you are playing with fire.

On a final note, we do have companies that would like to get our referral business for merchant account. We don't offer merchant account information on this website to keep this site neutral so other gateways can feel free to recommend us, but if you want to find out the latest offers we can pass along, contact us to request info, or use the in-app merchant account request form within iPay POS. Also, we do operate our own gateway, so if you already have a merchant account, we can take care of the other missing piece for you.