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Merchant account PCI DSS compliance


#1

I received a letter from my merchant account company stating that to
ensure my customer’s credit card security “The card associations
require businesses accepting card-based payments comply with the
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) and to use
compliant or approved software and hardware.” They go on to say that
I have to pay them $119 per year to remain compliant (I don’t seem
to get anything for this, just compliance). They further say that if
my validation documentation is not on their books by August 1st,
they will fine me $20 per month until I validate and pay the $119.
No mention of government regulations or specific recent legislation
or laws, they reference only “the card associations”. They further
give me no option, the fee will be deducted from my account on July
1st (it seems they have already “paid” this fee for me and are only
reimbursing themselves). The extra $20 a month is if I don’t fill in
their questionnaire (which looks more like a data mining study of my
business for them to sell to other businesses than
anything having to do with my customers’ credit card security)

After I weighed in on a merchant account question on a previous
thread and found that I was being hoodwinked by my previous account
holder concerning the requirement to lease or buy their equipment
versus owning my own, I wonder if I am once again being taken as a
novice about such matters (I am a novice about these things, so it’s
not like they are mistaken about that or anything). This is very
similar to the letters I got requiring me to use their equipment,
although it was a different company.

Anybody else being threatened with fees for not paying other fees
for compliance with I’m not sure what? It sounds to me like I’m once
again being setup to have buy or lease their "new and approved"
machine and also to PAY MONEY for the privilege of being on one of
their for-sale customer lists.

Thanks for any help.
Dave


#2

David,

I had a client who received a similar notice. Her website uses a
PayPal shopping cart and does not collect credit card I
told her that I suspected the notice was a scam. I would check with
your provider to make sure.

Steve Brixner


#3

Dave,

I am heavily involved with just such issues at the moment. I do not
know with which companies you are involved, but this is not a case
to continue to be unaware or innocent.

Due to just such overcharges and other shenanigans, I have been
actively gaining control of “overselling of services” I am
encountering. We are currently trying to wrest away the web site
hosting, and every roadblock and disto avoid loss of the
account has been thrown at us.

You must read every line before you sign. Use Orchid as you are to
clarify. Phfishing schemes have gotten far more sophisticated. Do
not believe any of them. Go directly to the sales department of any
service or vendor, speak with at least the supervision level, and on
shore, if you can manage.

I have uncovered thousands of dollars in overcharges, services never
received, reduced the phone/internet monthly charges first from 345
down to 250, (same provider) and now to 87 by changing the provider.

Running a business is not for the meek or focused artisan. This is
all new for me too, but when I see blatant overcharges and
overselling, I see red.

I know David Geller has tried to assist many Orchidians better run
the business side of their life. Pay some attention to his words. It
is not all pricing appropriately, it is also paying appropriately.

In reality,
Terrie, for myself


#4
Anybody else being threatened with fees for not paying other fees
for compliance with I'm not sure what?

Nope. My processing company is just doing their job, keeping us
informed, and not charging extra for it.

Elaine


#5
I have uncovered thousands of dollars in overcharges, services
never received, reduced the phone/internet monthly charges first
from 345 down to 250, (same provider) and now to 87 by changing the
provider.

I’ve said this before and I’ll try saying it once more. Think local.
Buy local. Get your merchant account from your local bank that you do
business with. None of these issues will crop up.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
www.spirerjewelers.com


#6
Anybody else being threatened with fees for not paying other fees
for compliance with I'm not sure what?

This happened to me with my previous company last year. I ended up
dumping them and going with Paypal. Good riddance- too many hidden
fees.

Janet Kofoed


#7

Terrie,

We are all in the mode of reducing our expenses and making sure that
we are getting the services we are paying for.

I work with a company that designs websites, hosts them and provides
Merchant account services. Our fees are all stated up front and in a
contract so there are no surprises. If you are having trouble with
control of your domain name always keep the registry in your own name
and give technical access to a web builder. Always make backups of
your site after and significant changes so that it’s easy to
reconstruct your site if needed. We are a US company and we pride
ourselves in our customer service. One of the most unusual things one
of the owners told me when I started working with them was that they
don’t take every piece of business that comes through the door, only
those that make sense for both the customer and the company. They
have proven that to be true with some of the prospects that I’ve
worked with and their decisions have been good ones. What credit card
service are you using? Contact me off list and I will see if I can
provide you with some good

Pat Gebes


#8
I've said this before and I'll try saying it once more. Think
local. Buy local. Get your merchant account from your local bank
that you do business with. None of these issues will crop up.

I guess that’s really the answer isn’t it? I’ve been with the same
bank since my first student loan in 1975. They are a large bank that
acted like a local bank. They have financed among other things, my
education, the house, the cars, the boats, the credit cards, the
laser and the business. They were taken over last fall by another
national bank, and things have been going downhill ever since.

The only thing really that has stopped me from going local before
was all the hassle involved with changing banks. As to merchant
accounts, the lesson I have learned is the same as with so many
things, our profession as well, cheaper is not necessarily better.

Should have listened to you before Daniel (and Richard). I’m calling
the Senior VP of the local bank Monday morning. He’s been calling and
stopping in trying to get my business for a while now anyway. At
least he knows my name and where my store is.

Thanks all for your help!
Dave


#9

I’ll be following these threads since I was contacted about this
compliance as well. I paid the $25.00 rather than deal w/ the hassle
but am wondering if it was legit.

Regards, Audie Beller- Audie’s Images


#10

Hi Elaine & All,

I thought Teamac was going to start charging an extra $8 a month for
compliance and I believe we use the same company for processing.
That’s what I understood from the letter I received a couple of
weeks ago. In general I do love them though.

It’s the new laws about 3rd party compliance due to credit card
fraud. Apparently someone has to confirm that I’m not improperly
storing or transmitting CC numbers. We are all getting dinged due to
the mistakes of these huge companies that have “lost” thousands of
customers numbers and private info.

Since my slips are never IN my computer to begin with I am once
again paying for the mistakes of the big companies.

I WOULD be interested in knowing the laws on how long you should
keep the paper CC slips prior to shredding. I once got a charge back
5 months after the fact and was glad I still had the signed slip.

Karen in Chicago


#11

David, Set up your credit card service thru your local bank, You can
talk to a real person anytime, they will more then likely even come
out and set the system up for you. Then dump the provider you have
they probably tell you there rates are better “Wholesale”. and make
you buy consumables thru them, use your local bank, build a
relationship the people there will buy from you and when you need a
loan you have friends. We did do some sort of compliance with our
bank with NO fee and no survey.

Mark Guerin


#12
I'll be following these threads since I was contacted about this
compliance as well. I paid the $25.00 rather than deal w/ the
hassle but am wondering if it was legit.

You got lucky, if it was legit. My previous processor, who I thought
was going to be my local bank, but it turned out they outsourced it,
was going to charge me several hundred dollars to have some strange
company riffling through my hard drive. I don’t think so. Security
begins at home.

Janet Kofoed


#13
I once got a charge back 5 months after the fact and was glad I
still had the signed slip.

How did it help you to still have the slip?

Noel


#14

My local bank (who was my agent between me and the actual processor
at the time) copied it and took it for proof that it wasn’t a
fraudulent charge. Refused the ladies charge-back. I think she
actually backed down when shown her own signature. I still lost all
profit of course, since the larger company involved charged me $25
bucks or something like that just because it happened, but I didn’t
also lose the $80 from the sale.

Hard to tell if my current company would back me up or not. Many
local banks don’t really handle merchant services any more.

Karen


#15

I went through this last year, and my findings were that it WAS
legit. And yes, I use the local bank - not a big boy. And no, that
didn’t matter. I could pay once, or pay monthly. But I was going to
pay if I was going to be able to keep running credit cards - and
there is no way to sell as I do without taking them.

Right now I’m looking at switching from the local bank to Sam’s for
credit card processing. Is anyone out there using Sam’s Club for
your merchant processing? Are you pleased? Any issues? They sure seem
to be a lot cheaper with less fees!

Beth Wicker
Three Cats and a Dog Design Studio
http://www.bethwicker.com


http://bethwicker.ganoksin.com/blogs/


#16

I keep the CC slips, but remove the first 12 numbers by cutting them
away from the slip, and shredding them. Then I can always refer to
the past sales slip, and say “It was on your card number ending in
4207” or whatever. It’ is just logical for me to do this.

M’lou Brubaker
Minnesota, USA
http://www.craftswomen.com/M’louBrubaker/


#17

Pretty obvious answer. Somebody argued w/ their bank saying they did
not make the purchase and the signed slip is proof that they did.
Happens often at craft fairs where the jeweler is from another state
and the customer tells their bank that they never went to where the
jeweler lives. Especially in MD, I make a point to tell NEW customers
that their charge will show the my name from Arden, NC even though
the purchase was made in Gaithersburg, MD. Old customers don’t
usually complain as they already know I don’t live there. I keep
slips for 7 years like other biz papers, and then shred when it’s
time to clean house.


#18

I’m with Costco for the past few years. Probably the same as Sam’s.
they’ve been reliable but: I have to have 2 accounts for craft
shows/with cards and mail order at home. 2 different rates.

A friend’s company has started a new processing co that I think
would save me some money as I’d only have to have one account.
Haven’t made the change aswell, it’s change!

Marianne


#19

Hi Beth,

We switched to Sam’s club processing over a year ago. They use First
Data. We have been very happy and it has saved use quite a bit in
processing fees. We were also able to pick up Discover card at no
additional charge.

Linda McMurray G.G., A.J.P. (GIA)
Best Cut Gems
www.bestcutgems.com


#20

Costco processing. Jay has had it for quite some time. What he was
not aware of was the extra high cost of leasing rather than buying
the card machine up front.

I have been in the middle of this for some time now, and all I can
say to anyone is, be aware of what you are signing for.

Yes, you do have responsibility, but in a sales pitch, one can be
easily oversold with flowery words.

We have changed to a more responsible vendor, far lower costs, far
better accounting, hopefully, we can deal with the overpriced lease
as well.

It can be a jungle out there.
Hugs
Terrie