Our Experts Respond to Your Questions


What is a merchant account?

A merchant account is a commercial account that enables merchants to accept credit card transactions. It handles the transfer of funds from your customers’ cards to your bank account.

How do I apply for a merchant account or payment gateway?

You can apply for both merchant and gateway accounts by filling out the application located here on our website.

How long does it take to set up a merchant account?

Once you complete the application, Payment Systems Worldwide will have you ready to accept credit cards in about two to three business days.

Do I need a business license?

Yes, or if you own a corporation, you will need to submit your Articles of Incorporation along with your application.

If I have bad credit, can I be approved?

Yes, you can be approved with bad credit, but there may be some restrictions on your account.

If I have more than one business, do I need more than one account?

Yes, every business needs a separate merchant account.

What is the difference between a retail and a MOTO account?

Retail accounts are for card-present situations when cards are being swiped at the location at least 75% of the time. A mail order/telephone order or internet account is used when the card and customer are not present at the merchant’s location.

Can I open a seasonal account?

Yes, seasonal accounts can be opened.

Can I use my existing checking account?

Yes, there is no problem using an existing account.

How do I change my DDA (Direct Deposit Account)?

Fill out the online form for a DDA CHANGE REQUEST.

How do I receive my funds?

The funds from your transactions are deposited directly into the checking account you specify on your merchant application.

How soon will I have access to my funds?

Credit card transactions generally take about two business days to deposit into your checking account. American Express usually takes three to four days.

Do I need a dedicated phone line?

Yes, we ask that you use a dedicated analog phone line if you will be using a credit card terminal. Processing can be done with a shared line; however, if there is a lot of traffic on either line it will be difficult for both devices to function.

Can I use a credit card terminal that I already own?

In most cases, Payment Systems Worldwide is able to program your existing equipment.

Will I receive a monthly statement?

Yes, monthly statements are mailed to merchants and can also be viewed online.

Can I view/monitor my activity online?

Yes, Payment Systems Worldwide sets up logins and passwords for merchants upon request.

Which credit cards will I be able to accept?

Visa, MasterCard, and Discover acceptance are included with all of our merchant accounts. We also offer an American Express enrollment program.

Can I accept debit cards from customers?

Yes. There are two ways merchants can accept debit cards. Contact us for more information on how debit acceptance can save you money.

What is the difference between signature debit and PIN-based debit?

With signature debits, the customer signs receipts after transactions, whereas with PIN-based debits, customers enter their PIN numbers on a PIN pad for the accounts they are using.

What is a discount rate?

The discount rate is a small percentage of each transaction.

What is a qualified rate?

The qualified rate is charged for a normal payment made on a standard credit card. These transactions are the least expensive for merchants because they carry the smallest risk of fraud or human error. Debit/check cards fall into the qualified rate category unless they are manually keyed into the terminal.

What is a mid-qualified rate?

The mid-qualified rate is charged for transactions that do not fit the criteria for the qualified rate. For example, the mid-qualified rate is charged if a sales clerk manually keys in credit card information instead of swiping the customer’s card (the clerk must perform address verification; otherwise the merchant will pay the non-qualified rate). Rewards cards and some business cards fall into the mid-qualified category.

What is a non-qualified rate?

The non-qualified rate is the highest rate a merchant can be charged for a credit card transaction. This rate is charged when a sales clerk manually enters a card and does not perform address verification or when other necessary information is absent at the time of the transaction. Most corporate and promotional cards fall into the non-qualified category.

What is AVS?

AVS stands for Address Verification System. To reduce the risk of fraudulent transactions and/or chargebacks, a credit card billing address is requested with any charge and verified before authorization is given for the transaction.

What are CVV/CV2/CID codes?

The Cardholder Verification Value (CVV) or Customer Identification Number (CID/4DBC) are three- or four-digit numbers located on the back of credit and debit cards that help ensure a physical card is in the cardholder’s possession when purchasing products or services. This is one of the most common fraud protection tools.

What is a per transaction fee?

A transaction fee is the fee that is charged to merchants for every transaction that is run.

What is a chargeback?

A chargeback is a disputed credit card transaction. Customers have 180 days to request chargebacks if they feel they did not receive the product or service promised.

What is a retrieval request?

A retrieval request occurs when:

  • The card issuer asks the merchant for a copy of the actual ticket of a transaction. This is the initial step the issuer takes in the event that either the issuer or the cardholder disputes a transaction.
  • A cardholder’s bank requests information about a charge that is being disputed. Retrieval requests usually precede a chargeback.

What is a payment gateway and is it secure?

A payment gateway – the most utilized method for processing web purchases in real time – is a secure, encrypted method of processing using an internet connection. A payment gateway can also be used as a virtual terminal so a merchant can process using a personal computer.

Can I use a terminal with an internet connection/DSL?

Yes, although not all terminals are DSL compatible.

Can I process wireless or WIFI?

Yes, there are many terminals available that allow merchants to process remotely.

What is an Electronic Check Transfer?

An Electronic Check Transfer occurs when a merchant or vendor uses the information on a customer’s personal check to immediately remove the payment from their checking account. It works the same as a debit card transaction when used with a PIN.

If making a purchase in a store, the check is processed, voided, and returned to the customer. If the customer has mailed the payment, the canceled or voided check is not returned. The transaction is recorded on the merchant’s monthly bank statement with the check amount, the check number, and name of the vendor or merchant.

What is PCI?

PCI stands for Payment Card Industry and refers to a set of specific security standards that were developed to protect card information during and after a financial transaction. PCI compliance is required by all card brands. The PCI Security Standards Council is an open global forum for the ongoing development, enhancement, storage, dissemination, and implementation of security standards for account data protection. The mission of the Council is to enhance payment account data security by driving education and awareness of the PCI Security Standards.

How do I know the rules and regulations of credit card processing?

Please visit the websites for Visa and MasterCard for complete rules and regulation information on these cards.

If I need help, who should I contact?

Please call the Payment Systems Worldwide toll-free customer service number at 1.866.PARTNRS (727.8677) or via email. We’re happy to help!