What is Your Monthly Sales Maximum? Don’t Let Your Merchant Account Get Locked.

Imagine it’s late Friday afternoon, you’re looking forward to a nice weekend with your family, and then suddenly your order manager blasts into your office stuttering, ”AHHHHH!!! No-no-no o- o- orders!”

You jump to your computer display and incredibly, you have had no new orders in the last hour!

Note: This is a true story that I read on a merchant’s blog. I changed the names to protect the parties. The merchant has sales in the millions of dollars, so this was not a trivial loss.

Something is wrong. But your website is up. The order form is there, but when you test it out with a credit card, the order is declined, giving some cryptic decline code.

You call your credit card merchant account provider to find out why your orders are being declined and after being on hold with lousy music for 27 1/2 minutes, you finally talk to somebody in tech support. The support technician can’t help you, and transfers you to another department.

Finally you reach Mr. Fox and you tell him there’s something wrong with the credit card acceptance.

Mr. Fox coolly tells you, “We’re investigating your account because you have more sales than normal.”

You sputter, “What?”

Mr. Fox continues, “So until we have finished investigating your account, you can no longer process credit cards. And the past week’s worth of sales are not going to be deposited into your account until this is finished. We’ll send you a letter that will tell you this took place.”

You shake the phone and try hard not to scream, “What do you mean I won’t be able to accept credit cards? For how long?”

Unfazed, Mr. Fox replies, “Hmmm… It looks like the investigation may take 1 to 4 weeks.”

“Four weeks?” you ask in disbelief. But that’s not the worst of it.

Again Mr. Fox calmly explains, “And those funds will be held for 6 months just in case there are any future problems.”

This seems like your worst nightmare, but it’s not a dream. A week’s worth of sales is being held ransom, yet you still have to pay the marketing and product expenses for them. And you have no way to take any new orders.

So you frantically decide to get another merchant account.  However, since you have been suspended from your first account, you may not be able to get another account! 

Why?  Because you may have been added to “The List.” This list includes merchants that have had problems in the past. And merchant account providers can and very often do use this list to screen merchants. Essentially, right now,

You are out of business!

I’m sure you are thinking, “This would never happen to me. I am an honest, trustworthy person.”

Unfortunately, in the eyes of your merchant account provider, you are just another account number — and a risky one at that.

And in fact, the provider’s Risk Department may think of you as the enemy because you can potentially cause the provider to lose a lot of money.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

You should never have to worry about the most critical part of your business — getting the money.

With the information in this report you can take your first step towards making sure you do not become the next horror story. And that’s not all. The report can actually show you how to put more money in your pocket every month.

Here are some reasons why you may “get into trouble:”

  • Your merchant account contract has maximum dollar amounts for both monthly sales volume and sales prices, in addition to the types of products/services sold.
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  • If you exceed your limits or change products, the Risk Department will see this as an increased risk. This department’s job is to make sure the provider does not get saddled with costs if you, the merchant, cannot pay the costs for returns or chargebacks.
  • When you signed up for your merchant account you may not have been aware of these issues, or you didn’t read the fine print, or the sales person did may not have given you a full explanation.
  • After you signed up for your merchant account, nobody followed up with you to help you monitor your sales or products and/or you may have forgotten about these limits.

Here’s how to “stay out of trouble” and horror-proof your account:

  1. Communication, Communication, Communication!
  2. Choose a merchant account provider that understands that businesses may have sales spikes. You want a provider that will average monthly sales over three months. That way, if sales consistently are high, the provider that will raise your limits, not lock the account!
  3. Plan ahead. Contact your merchant account provider in advance when:
  • You will exceed your monthly sales volume
  • You will have sales spikes
  • You will increase product prices
  • You will add new products

When you take these pro-active actions, your orders won’t be blocked, your merchant account won’t be frozen, and you’ll have access to your money. In short, you will have payment processing peace of mind.

Real Life Story #2

A client of mine with a half-million dollars in annual sales ran a promotion last year. I was reviewing his sales and two weeks into December he was already at 90% of his monthly maxium.

I jumped on the phone and called the merchant account provider underwriter. The underwriter assured me that all was well. Why? This provider offers a three-month window when merchants exceed monthly maximums. If, near the end of the third month, the merchant has still exceeded the monthly maxium, the provider reevaluates the merchant’s processing credit risk and will usually increase the monthly maximum.

By using the process I recommended, my client has peace of mind – and money in the bank!

Only you can protect your business against the real-life nightmare experienced by this and hundreds of other innocent merchants. If you’re ready to take these important steps to protect your business, or you have any questions, I’m ready to help.