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Frequently Asked Questions

Opening a New Merchant Account
How do I apply for a merchant account?
What do I need to apply for a merchant account? (Visit our UK or Canadian sites for foreign accounts)
How do I request more information about credit card processing?
How long after I apply for an account can I start accepting credit cards?
Why do merchant accounts need to be underwritten? What is the risk?
Can I be approved if I have poor credit or no credit?

Fidelity Services
What range of services does Fidelity provide?
What is credit card processing?
What are Gift and Loyalty programs?
What is ACH?
What are Check Services?
How does Fidelity’s ATM program work?
What is cash in advance?
How can I find out more about the VISA/MC settlement?

Equipment
What is a POS system?
Will you provide training in how to use a credit card terminal or gateway?
I'm not sure what terminal, equipment or software is best for my business…
What is e-commerce?
What is a gateway (or virtual terminal)?
What are the benefits of FideliPay?

Processing Credit Card Transactions
When do my transactions get funded?
How do I get next day funding?
What is the difference between a void and a refund?
What’s the difference between a keyed and a swiped account? Which is preferable?

Billing
What is the billing frequency for a credit card account?
What is the billing frequency for a check services account?
What is the billing frequency for a gateway?

PCI Compliance
What is PCI?
Do I need to be PCI Compliant?
What is my username for the PCI portal?
I'm a seasonal merchant that only processes three months out of the year. Does my merchant account still need to be PCI Compliant?

Fraud
What can I do to prevent credit card fraud?
How do I prevent chargebacks?

Adjusting For Daylight Savings Time
Will my terminal adjust automatically for Daylight Savings Time?
Will my gateway/software adjust automatically for Daylight Savings Time?

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Opening a New Merchant Account

How do I apply for a merchant account?

Applying for a merchant account with Fidelity Payment Services is easy. Simply fill out the “contact us” form on the right side of this page and we’ll be in touch with you shortly to help get you set up.

What do I need to apply for a merchant account? (Visit our UK or Canadian sites for foreign accounts)

1. A United States business address
2. A US Tax ID # (or SS if it’s a sole proprietorship)
3. A valid business checking account
4. An authorized business signer that is a US citizen (with SSN) with a fair credit score

How do I request more information about credit card processing?

Simply fill out the “contact us” form on the right side of this page and a knowledgeable Fidelity payment expert will be in touch with you shortly to answer all of your questions.

How long after I apply for an account can I start accepting credit cards?

Usually within 2-3 business days. The process of setting up a new merchant includes getting approved by underwriting, and setting up or reprogramming equipment or software.

Why do merchant accounts need to be underwritten? What is the risk?

When a merchant sells a product or service that they cannot or do not deliver, deliver poorly, or that is defective in some way, and the business cannot fix the situation with their own financial resources, then the Merchant Account Provider has to bear all the chargebacks, penalties, and losses. Thus the risks are thoroughly screened and monitored closely.

Can I be approved if I have poor credit or no credit?

Businesses with poor or no credit are very difficult to set up as the risks are very high. However, we deal with a number of high-risk banks who specialize in accommodating these types of accounts, and each account is considered on an individual basis.

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Fidelity Services

What range of services does Fidelity provide?

Fidelity provides an extensive array of payment processing solutions for merchants in a wide range of businesses. Our services include credit card processing, check services, Payment Websites, POS and ATMs. For a full list of the services and solutions Fidelity offers, click here>>.

What is credit card processing?

Merchant Services, or better known as credit card processing is the handling of electronic payment transactions for merchants. Merchant processing activities involve obtaining sales information from the merchant, receiving authorization for the transaction, collecting funds from the bank which issued the credit card, and sending payment to the merchant. Click here to read more>>

What are Gift and Loyalty programs?

Gift Cards: Forget the old paper gift cards – now you can start your own electronic gift card program just like all the major retail chains…at a fraction of the price.
Loyalty Program: Reward your customers when they reach a certain number of points, purchases, or visits. A loyalty program will help you not only retain your customers, but increase spending and frequency of visits as well.

What is ACH?

An ACH is when money is electronically transferred from one bank account to another via the Automated Clearing House (ACH) system. Instead of sending a check, the customer authorizes the merchant to initiate a “debit” directly out of their checking account. An ACH can also be used as a “credit” and sent by the customer to the merchant.

What are Check Services?

The term “Check services” (or sometimes called "E-Checks") is a broad term that can include ACH, Check21, and Check Guarantee. The general idea is that check services allow you to handle checks and get the funds from the comfort of your office, whether with a desktop check scanner, online, or over the phone. For a full explanation of features and benefits, click here>>.

How does Fidelity’s ATM program work?

You can find an ATM machine in many retail stores, clubs, restaurants, and business offices. This is because it is an easy, automated source of income for a business and has a number of additional benefits.
An ATM machine from Fidelity Payment Services is a great way to generate additional revenue because YOU set the price... YOU make the money!
Here's how: There is a surcharge that you charge each card holder for making a withdrawal from your ATM.
You decide how much to charge for each surcharged transaction (typically between $1-$4.). All you pay to Fidelity is a nominal transaction fee......the rest of the surcharge is yours to keep! Click here to learn more>>.

What is cash in advance?

Cash in advance is a program that gives merchants the ability to get actual cash by tapping into the funds of future credit card sales. Fidelity’s Cash in Advance program allows merchants the convenient option of having cash on hand to manage their business cycles. For more info, click here>>.

How can I find out more about the VISA/MC settlement?

To find out about the recent Visa/MC settlement, please email claims@fidelitypayment.com. In a nutshell, the Visa/ MC settlement is a result of a class action lawsuit against Visa and MasterCard for collaborating and establishing unfairly high interchange fees on merchants processing their cards. Visa/ MC agreed to reimburse over $6 billion to merchants who accepted Visa or MC any time since Jan .1, 2004.

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Equipment

What is a POS system?

A POS, or Point of Sale system is a computer with integrated credit card processing capabilities that takes the place of a regular cash register. It uses customizable functions with tailored features to a particular industry or retail environment. It is extremely useful for retail stores such as groceries and supermarkets, and for restaurants and fast food establishments. For more info on Fidelity’s POS solutions, click here>>.

Will you provide training in how to use a credit card terminal or gateway?

Absolutely! All new merchants are thoroughly trained during the setup process. Knowing how to properly use your processing equipment or software will directly affect your bottom line. The last thing we want is for you to lose money on downgraded transactions or chargebacks! Should you ever have any questions down the line, simply contact our customer service department at cs@fidelitypayment.com and we will ensure that you’ll receive any assistance you need.

I'm not sure what terminal, equipment or software is best for my business…

We hear that all the time! With so many options to choose from, it can be very tricky for merchants to know what they need. That’s where Fidelity steps in. Our favorite motto is: “You tell us what you do… we’ll tell you what you need!”

What is e-commerce?

E-commerce is a term used to describe a company that does business online on a website. In e-commerce transactions, the payment process occurs electronically and automatically, through online payment “gateways” that integrate directly into your shopping cart.

What is a gateway (or virtual terminal)?

A payment gateway is a virtual terminal that replaces the traditional countertop “credit card terminal” with a fully automated online portal. FideliPAY is Fidelity’s proprietary flagship gateway. Give us a call for more information on processing with a gateway.

What are the benefits of FideliPay?

As Fidelity’s premier e-commerce portal, FideliPay provides a fast and reliable gateway for merchants to process secure credit card transactions. It is one of the most affordable on the market, is easily customizable, and includes credit card, check services and recurring billing features. Unlike software you do not need to upgrade to a newer version to get the new features, and you can access the gateway from anywhere; work, home or on the road from your computer or our smart phone app.

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Processing Credit Card Transactions

When do my transactions get funded?

Fidelity proudly offers “next day funding” at no additional cost for most merchants and transaction types.

How do I get next day funding?

There are a number of factors to keep in mind when setting up next day funding, so please make sure to discuss it with your rep during the setup process. To receive your funds by the following morning, you will need to have your system set to batch out before a specified time each evening.

What is the difference between a void and a refund?

I. A void must be done on the same day of the original charge, before the batch is closed. The void does not show up on cardholders’ credit card statements (Although they will see it as a temporary authorization hold if they check their bank immediately after the transaction).
II. A refund can be issued any time after the original transaction, even if the batch was settled. A refund is displayed as a credit on the cardholder’s statement.

What’s the difference between a keyed and a swiped account? Which is preferable?

Most retail “bricks-&-mortar” stores and businesses swipe credit cards when the card and cardholder are present. Other businesses, for example mail order companies, key in the credit card information without actually seeing the card or cardholder. And online merchants have the card holder key in the transaction. The difference between these swiped and keyed conditions are the associated risk factors per transaction. The level of risk determines the merchant’s rates.
Swiped transactions have the lowest rates because they are the lowest risk. This is because the customer and the card are present at the time of the charge and the merchant serves as a level of security.
Keyed transactions have higher rates because the cardholder is not actually present when his information is entered and the card is charged, therefore there is a higher risk of fraud.

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Billing

What is the billing frequency for a credit card account?

Credit card merchant account statements are posted on the 2nd or 3rd of each month, for the PREVIOUS month’s processing. Merchants should receive their processing statements in the mail by the 10th of the month. Those who opt for online reporting can view their statement by the 2nd or the 3rd of the month.

What is the billing frequency for a check services account?

Check services fees are debited on the second week of each month for the previous month of processing.

What is the billing frequency for a gateway?

Gateway fees are debited on the second week of each month for the previous month of processing. An emailed invoice is sent the same day.

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PCI Compliance

What is PCI?

PCI compliance is a security guideline mandated by the major credit card associations. It was created to reduce fraud in the credit card industry by requiring certain safety and security precautions in the handling of personal credit card information. Perhaps the most noted feature of PCI is the prohibition of merchants storing card data in any shape or form (even an excel sheet on your desktop!) unless it is encrypted in accordance with PCI rules. To be compliant, all merchants are required to submit an annual SAQ (Self Assessment Questionnaire), and merchants that process over the internet are usually required to pass a quarterly vulnerability scan.

Do I need to be PCI Compliant?

Yes. All merchants are required by the major credit card associations to be PCI Compliant. Being compliant ensures that your customers’ personal information is safe and that you run a secure operation. Non-compliant merchants that experience a data breach are most often faced with stiff fines and penalties… sometimes severe enough to shut a business down!

What is my username for the PCI portal?

The username to access the PCI portal is your full merchant number. It can be found on your statement or on the sticker located on the side of your terminal.

I'm a seasonal merchant that only processes three months out of the year. Does my merchant account still need to be PCI Compliant?

Yes. Any merchant that has the option of taking credit cards must be PCI Compliant, no matter how often they will actually be processing.

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Fraud

What can I do to prevent credit card fraud?

To help you prevent credit card fraud, Fidelity offers a wide array of fraud prevention tools, including customizable filters, advanced IP address tools and automatic email notifications after suspicious transactions. It is important to note that the first step toward preventing credit card fraud is awareness of what you’re up against.

How do I prevent chargebacks?

The best method of preventing chargebacks is to process transactions exactly as you were trained to do. For retail merchants, that would mean to swipe, or do “card present” transactions with electronic authorizations and the cardholder’s signature. Additionally, there are several practices that merchants can adopt to reduce the likelihood of chargebacks. Some examples are: Having a clear refund and return policy, responding promptly to inquiry letters, and letting customers know what merchant name will appear on their credit card statements. For a full list of tips, click here>>..

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Adjusting For Daylight Savings Time

Will my terminal adjust automatically for Daylight Savings Time?

No. Terminals need to be manually adjusted for Daylight Savings Time twice a year. For instructions on how to do so, click here>>

Will my gateway/software adjust automatically for Daylight Savings Time?

Yes. Gateways and other online e-commerce options adjust automatically for daylight savings time.

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