With 8 years worth of awards, and top clients including Verizon, Subway and Avon, Flagship Merchant Services is in the enviable position of being one of the biggest and most popular providers of credit card merchant accounts. In this article, I will be looking at the details of the Flagship package, and how they differ from other merchant services.
Firstly, as you are no doubt aware, most merchant accounts have a confusing variety of fees and commissions that are hard to understand and can hit you when you least expect it. For instance, other providers will usually charge different commissions for different credit cards, with the fees on American Express credit cards often eclipsing all other cards. Flagship have decided to process all cards under a single, easy to understand fee structure which means it is a lot easier to understand and predict your expenses.
In addition, the standard account fees are customized for each individual merchants. Too many providers will charge fees that simply do not apply to all their merchants. By tailoring a package to the merchant’s exact business, Flagship ensures that they will not feel cheated by unfair fees.
There is no set-up fee, and no cancellation fee. And, if you are already PCI certified, you will not need to pay a PCI certification fee.
A consultant will discuss your business with you and work out the correct fee structure for you before you sign the contract, so you know upfront what fees and costs will apply.
Often, opening a merchant account means undertaking a contract with heavy commitments. For instance, a large deposit against refunds may be required, or a minimum contract term of 24 months may be set. This puts the merchant on the
These merchant services is unique in offering a monthly contract, which can be cancelled at any time. This significantly reduces the risk for a merchant when opening an account.
Flagship provides live priority support all day long, 7 days per week. They also have one of the largest anti-fraud and loss prevention departments in the credit card business.
In addition, you will have a dedicated representative who you can deal with. This is a huge benefit – it can be really counter productive when dealing with other large companies to have to explain a situation again and again to different people in different departments as your call is passed around, answering the same questions each time.
Setting up the Account
When I opened my first merchant account in 2001, the process took about 2 months, involved several meetings, credit checks, background checks and a huge stack of paperwork. During the entire process I felt I was under a microscope. In the end, I was approved, but even then, I was given very little guidance about how to set up the software to actually process the credit card transactions from my website.
Things have improved since then, as the Internet has become a stable platform for Commerce.
But even in today’s simpler merchant account marketplace, Flagship Merchant Services has lowered the bar for new merchants who are getting started online.
They take pride in maintaining one of the highest approval rates in the industry; even merchants with past credit difficulties have been accepted by Flagship. Accounts are approved within two business days, allowing the client to start accepting credit cards the next day!
They provide you with all the help you need to get the Authorize.net payment gateway set-up with your e-commerce software, and provide you with a web based terminal that you can login and use to manually process credit card orders. They will help you to install a shopping cart on your site.
You can even process credit card orders with a smart-phone app!
All of this is free.
In addition to the web based terminal, you can also access all the important details of your account when you login to the web interface, including the recent transactions and analytics. Having all the information you need in one place makes it much easier to be productive!
As always, before dealing with a company, you should do your homework. When I checked on the BBB web site, I found that a number of clients have had difficulties with the PCI certification fee. They did not expect to pay this fee, and believed that they should be exempt from certification.
However, PCI certification is a requirement from the credit card issuing companies – it was proposed by a consortium of companies led by American Express, Visa and Mastercard. It applies to most merchants because of the way that e-commerce software works (software running on the merchant’s web server collects and transmits credit card details during the transaction).
This means that Flagship Merchant services are required to ensure you have PCI certification. If you are already PCI certified, you will not need to pay again!
In conclusion, if you are looking for a new merchant account, I can recommend Flagship Merchant Services as they have a fair fee structure with minimum commitment, excellent customer service, great facilities, and they offer a lot of help to get your website set-up.