Before signing up for a Canadian merchant account ask these five crucial questions to ensure you understand what your credit card processor will be providing for your business.

By asking these five questions you will help protect your business from some of the negative practices that some Canadian Merchant Account Providers engage in.

1.) What are the contract terms and conditions? 

While Helcim offers merchant accounts on a month to month basis, many of the other Canadian merchant account providers have lengthy contracts. Ask how long the contract is, what happens if you want to end the contract early, and what you need to do to cancel the contract when the term is up. Some payment processors include auto-renew clauses that business owners should be aware of, being aware of this clause will keep you from inadvertently being signed up for another contract. Ensure you fully understand the terms and conditions of the contract you’re signing to avoid frustration after you’ve signed on the dotted line. 

2.) What is my real processing fee? 

Make sure you clearly understand if you’re getting an introductory rate that will increase at some point, or if there is any kind of rate guarantee that the payment processor can offer. Credit card processing rates will vary depending on the type of transaction, the card used and based on a businesses monthly processing volume. If the rate you’re being offered seems lower than what you expected, clarify exactly which transactions the rate does, and does not, apply to.

3.) Are there any additional fees or charges that I should be aware of? 

Cancellation fees, early termination fees, PCI Non-Compliance fees, chargeback fees, account change fees and equipment rentals are all additional costs that you should consider. While it might seem like a lot, understanding what the fees are and how you can avoid them will save your business money in the long term. Be sure to clarify if the fees are a flat rate, or a percentage of your processing volume because how the payment processor calculates their fees can make a big difference.

4.) If I have a problem how can I get it rectified? 

Each merchant account provider will provide different customer support options and what works best will vary based on a businesses preference. Whether you prefer to submit an email, chat online, or pick up the phone and speak to someone, it’s important to know how you can contact your payment processor and when their support team is available. If a merchant account provider outsources their customer service versus training an in-house team may also impact your decision on who is the best fit for you.

5.) What software or integrations do you offer? 

Easy to use integrations can help streamline your business and make you more efficient. For example, if you rely on QuickBooks, it would be beneficial to ensure your payment processor can integrate their platform with QuickBooks. Whether you’re setting up an online store or managing inventory, confirm what software your payment processor offers to avoid disappointment.

By asking these questions ahead of time you are protecting your business from surprises like unknown fees and hard to contact customer service teams. If you have more questions about merchant account providers, you can find additional resources on our blog, or by contacting our friendly in-house customer service team.