1st US Merchants® has always been a service-centric organization, offering both our merchants and partners the best support in the industry. Whether during the sales process, throughout boarding or over the life of the merchant account, 1st US Merchants is committed to serving your needs and strengthening our partnership.

Training and Support
1st US Merchants offers an array of training opportunities for both our merchants and partners, both online and by phone. As the final step in our boarding process, each customer is contacted by an experienced merchant trainer to review his or her welcome kit and walk through the functionality of the point-of-sale equipment. This process ensures that our merchants get off on the right foot and can make the most of our partnership. It also provides an efficient and effective way to speed up activation that, along with our automated boarding process, allows our partners to start reaping the benefits as quickly as possible.

Credit and Risk
Every merchant represents some level of risk. At 1st US Merchants, we realize you can never totally eliminate risk, so we have implemented a streamlined credit policy that balances risk with sales, so that our partners can continue to grow their business without taking on unnecessary risk exposure. There are two sides to this coin — credit underwriting and risk management.

During the boarding process, every merchant goes through a brief, but thorough, underwriting process to ensure that both the business and principal are good fits for us and for our partners. A large number of merchants are auto-approved by our innovative credit decision tool within minutes of their application being submitted.

Merchants that may be a little more complex are routed to a team of experienced analysts for a closer look. Unlike many of our competitors, 1st US Merchants’s analysts are always available to discuss the specifics of any deal with the sales agent, enabling a speedy resolution and decision.

Whether auto-approved or reviewed by an analyst, 1st US Merchants is always looking for a way to approve merchant accounts and boasts some of the highest approval rates in the industry at over 91 percent.

Once an account is up and running, the risk side takes over to look out for our merchants and partners. Every transaction is run through our fraud system and checked against the merchant’s profile and historical data for any red flags. Suspicious transactions are investigated to protect our merchants and partners from potential losses.

Avoiding Chargebacks
Chargebacks are an inconvenience to any merchant. At 1st US Merchants, we work with our merchants on the best practices for avoiding them altogether.

Here are 16 tips that should be considered to avoid potential chargebacks:

  1. Do not complete a transaction if the authorization request was declined. Do not repeat the authorization request after receiving a decline.
  2. If you receive a “Call” message in response to an authorization request, call your authorization center. Be prepared to answer questions. The operator may ask to speak with the cardholder. If approved, write the authorization code on the sales receipt. If declined, ask the cardholder for another payment card.
  3. If an embossed Visa® card is presented for payment, make an imprint for all card-present transactions. If you have a point-of-sale terminal with a magnetic-stripe reader, swipe the card through the reader for every face-to-face transaction. If the terminal isn’t working or a card’s magnetic stripe cannot be read, key-enter the account information and make an imprint of the embossed information onto the sales receipt using a manual imprinter. Even if the transaction is authorized and the cardholder signs the receipt, if the receipt does not have an imprint of the embossed account number and expiration date, the transaction may be charged back to you for “no imprint” if the cardholder later denies participating in the transaction.
  4. If an unembossed* Visa card is presented for payment and you have a point-of-sale terminal with a magnetic-stripe reader, swipe the unembossed card through the reader for all card-present transactions. If the magnetic stripe cannot be read, you should ask for another form of payment. Do not key-enter any transactions on unembossed Visa cards, if you cannot prove the card was present (i.e., manual imprint/magnetic-stripe is read), you may be subject to a chargeback.
  5. Obtain cardholder signature. The cardholder’s signature on card-present transactions is required. Failure to obtain the cardholder’s signature could result in a chargeback for “no signature” if the cardholder denies authorizing or participating in the transaction.
  6. Make only one imprint of the card for each transaction. Making more than one imprint can lead to duplicate deposits and increase the chance of a chargeback. If you need to redo a sales receipt because of an error, write “VOID” across the incorrect sales receipt, inform the cardholder and tear up the incorrect sales receipt in view of the customer.
  7. Ensure that transactions are entered into point-of-sale terminals only once — and deposited only once. Entering the same transaction into a terminal more than once, or depositing both the merchant copy and the bank copy of the sales receipt with your acquirer, or depositing the same transaction with more than one merchant bank, can all result in “duplicate transaction” chargebacks.
  8. Ensure that incorrect sale receipts are voided and that transactions are processed only once.
  9. If your establishment has policies regarding merchandise returns, refunds or service cancellation, disclose these policies to the cardholder at the time of the transaction. Your policy should be pre-printed on your sales receipts; if not, write or stamp your refund/return policy information on the sales receipt near the customer signature line before the customer signs (be sure the policy shows clearly on all copies of the sales receipt). Failure to disclose such policies at the time of the transaction will be to your disadvantage should the customer return the merchandise.
  10. Deposit sales receipts with your merchant bank as quickly as possible, preferably within one to five days of the transaction date — do not hold on to them. Failure to deposit in a timely manner can result in chargebacks for “late presentment.”
  11. Deposit credit receipts with your acquirer as quickly as possible, preferably the same day as the credit transaction is generated. Failure to process credits in a timely manner can result in chargebacks for “credit not issued.”
  12. If a customer requests cancellation of a recurring transaction that is billed periodically (monthly, quarterly, annually), always respond to the request and cancel the transaction immediately or as specified by the customer. As a customer service, advise the customer in writing that the service, subscription or membership has been cancelled and state the effective date of the cancellation. Failure to respond to customer cancellation requests almost always leads to chargebacks.
  13. Keep customers informed on the status of their transactions.
  14. If the merchandise or service to be provided to the cardholder will be delayed, advise the cardholder in writing of the delay and the new expected delivery or service date.
  15. If the merchandise ordered by the cardholder is out of stock and delivery will be delayed or this item is no longer available, advise the cardholder in writing and offer the cardholder the option of purchasing a similar item or canceling the transaction. Do not substitute another item unless the customer agrees to accept it. By giving the customer notice and the option to cancel, you may help avoid a customer dispute regarding the merchandise and a possible chargeback.
  16. Ship merchandise before depositing transaction. Don’t deposit transactions with your merchant bank until you have shipped the related merchandise. If customers see a transaction on their monthly Visa statement before they receive the merchandise, it could lead to a preventable chargeback.

In the event that a chargeback occurs, our dedicated, in-house chargeback team will work with the merchant to quickly resolve the situation so that the merchant can focus on their business.

We also offer online chargeback notification and response through our reporting system, TransLink, to make this process as easy as possible for our customers.

Ways to Reduce Processing and Interchange Expense

  • Swipe cards instead of hand-keying the card number when in a Face to Face environment.
  • Visa and Discover require AVS (Address Verification Service) information for the cardholder’s billing address when hand keying. (MasterCard does not require AVS)
    • Visa Card Present transactions require a Zip Code match. (Acceptable response codes: B, C, D, G, I, M,P, R, S, U, W, X,Y, Z)
    • Visa and Discover Card Not Present transactions require an attempt on the zip code, but do not require a match. (Any response code is acceptable)
  • Settle/Close transaction batch the same day as authorizations occur.
  • Follow industry set guidelines for transaction amount adjustments.
    • Retail
      • **Visa-Settled amount must match authorized amount.
      • MasterCard and ***Discover-Settled amount must be within 10% of the authorized amount.
    • Restaurant
      • Visa-20%
      • MasterCard and Discover-No restriction applies
    • Lodging
      • Visa-Settled amount must be within 15% of authorized amount
      • MasterCard-Settled amount must be within 10% of authorized amount
      • Discover-No restriction applies.
  • Enter Order Number when prompted. (Order number prompt will vary depending on terminal type, contact Merchant Support for information regarding specific prompts pertaining to your terminal)
  • Enter Level 2 Data (tax amount) when accepting a commercial card.
    • Visa- .1-22%
    • MasterCard- .1-30%
    • Discover- N/A

If your current terminal or terminal application does not support any of these enhanced data requirements contact your terminal provider for enhanced terminal solutions designed to ensure lowest processing cost.

**Visa Transactions: Taxi Cabs and Limousines, Drinking Places (Bars, Taverns, Nightclubs, Cocktail Lounges and Discotheques), Beauty and Barber Salons, and Health and Beauty Spas are allowed a tip adjustment of up to 20%.
***Discover Transactions: Passenger Transport, Car Rentals, Steamship/Cruise Lines, Service Stations, Automated Fuel Dispensers do not have an amount limitation for tip adjustment.