For many internet marketers, promoting credit card processing or merchant services could be a lucrative way to make money online. If you are seriously considering going into this business, here are some tips for you.
Recently, I received some promotional material from a payment service provider. Well, they would call themselves as a payment gateway, e-commerce provider, credit card processor, merchant account service, 3rd party billing provider, or online payment service… But they mostly do a similar thing, they help processing credit card payments for online merchants.
Since I don’t really know this particular payment company, just like many of you would do, I search online using their domain name, company name, and some keywords like “scam”. Next, I search their address on Google map. Using Street View, I can check where their office locates, does it look like a commercial building? or does that street number even exist? Sometimes, searching the phone and fax number would generate some interesting results. Are they using some sort of accounting / business services that many companies are sharing the same resources like office and fax number? Are they using a mail-forwarding address? By now, you can tell if they have a real physical office.
Next, you want to check if they are one of the Visa / MasterCard PCI DSS certified service providers. What is PCI DSS? PCI DSS (The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) is a proprietary information security standard for organizations that handle cardholder information for the major debit, credit, prepaid, e-purse, ATM, and POS cards.
Visa PCI DSS certified service providers
MasterCard PCI DSS certified service providers
If the company you want to search is on those lists, then you know you are dealing with a real payment service provider. If the company you want to search is not on those lists, chances are they are a middleman / broker of one or several payment service providers, or they are simply not really into this business (a scam?!) If you plan to make money promoting credit card processing, you want to be a broker or reseller of a real gateway, you don’t want to be a broker of another broker.
If you are new in marketing merchant service, and you are looking for suppliers, those two lists can definitely help you. Select country, and state / province, then you can see any available service providers in your local area. Contact them and see if they have any reseller programs. On the other hand, if you are an online merchant who are looking for the best discount rate, check out the list and you can bypass the middleman, get connected to a gateway directly and get the best possible deal.
Now assuming you have a few suppliers in hand, and you are ready to start looking for merchant leads. But wait, you better study your merchant reseller agreements thoroughly. Some companies would hold you responsible for your clients’ chargebacks. You could imagine you would be in deep trouble if your client commits fraud and disappears. Also, try to keep in contact with your clients on a regular basis. Once a client informed me that they got an account approved and they happily sent me a consulting fee, while the payment provider told me a different story. A service provider which got approved by Visa / MC, does not necessarily mean that they are running a honest business. It takes time to get to know a decent service provider.