Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I become a member?

Becoming an exclusive member of the Preferred Merchants network gives you access to programs at a price that you otherwise would not be able to get without being part of the network.

 

Some of the benefits members receive are direct wholesale flat-rate pricing, free equipment programs and access to promotional programs.

Why do you charge a membership fee?

We charge a small monthly membership fee to our members to offset the cost we take on when giving such deep discounts on programs such as: flat-rate wholesale pricing and free equipment.

 

We keep our markups very very low so that we can pass on a much larger discount to our members. We work on the premise that a truly good thing will be talked about, shared and passed on to many. This is also why we so strongly advocate our philosophies to our members and have built a generous referral program to encourage sharing our service with others. The network needs the help of it’s members to live on and thrive.

What is the Durbin Amendment and why have a not seen a significant change in my rates?

The Durbin Amendment, passed as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation in 2010, required the Federal Reserve to limit fees charged to retailers for debit card processing.

 

Interchange fees are paid to banks by merchants for the privilege of accepting payment cards. Merchants and card-issuing banks have long fought over these fees. Prior to the Durbin Amendment, card swipe fees were previously unregulated and averaged about 44 cents per transaction.

 

However, this does not mean the savings was passed onto you. Instead it increased the profits for the processing banks and agents. This happened because it lowered the processors buy-rate cost while still keep the markup to the merchants at the same cost.

I am already getting “the best rate”, no one has ever beat it. So how is it better for me to become a member?

First, you must understand that the card brands instate a rate or cost that is called interchange. Interchange rates cannot be changed or negotiated under any circumstances. They are what they are. When a processing bank provides you with service, they add a markup for two reasons. One, because they are in business to make money. Second, because they are responsible for taking on the risk associated with transacting payments. When the processor directly or an agent of the processor boards an account, they will add an additional markup that is all profit margin. The agent gets these “buy rates” at a cost above the margin the processor has accounted for risk. Even if you go directly to a processor without an agent, they will not give you as low of a rate as you would otherwise get if you came to them with 100 more merchants like yourself. This comes back to the fact that there is huge power and leverage in numbers. We have negotiated rock bottom prices with a processor because of the volume we bring to them. In addition to sheer volume, we have also cut out the middlemen profits. Therefore, we are saving you money that you would have otherwise lost to an agent or processor.

How do you make money?

We make our money the same way most typical organizations do. We add a very small markup in what we provide, but only if it has costs associated with it in the first place. If we have access to something for free, we often pass it on without a markup.

What is interchange?

Interchange is set by the card brands (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, etc.). This is a percentage of dollar amount from each transaction that is paid back to the cardholder’s bank plus a per item fee.  This is part of what is considered the “wholesale” transaction cost.

What is PCI compliance?

PCI Security Standards are technical and operational requirements set by the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) to protect cardholder data. The Council is responsible for managing the security standards, while compliance with the PCI Security Standards is enforced by the payment card brands. The standards apply to all organizations that store, process or transmit cardholder data – with guidance for software developers and manufacturers of applications and devices used in those transactions.

 

If you are a merchant that accepts payment cards, you are required to be compliant with the PCI Data Security Standard. Fortunately, we take care of your compliance and that is one of the many benefits you receive by being a member.

Are your programs cheaper than Square?

Yes. We will always be able to provide you with a service that is less expensive than square and will best fit your business needs. And, we offer free equipment. We go above and beyond Square, contact us for more information.

I already have equipment, can I still use it?

Yes of course! We want you to use the equipment that makes the most sense for your business, even if we don’t provide it.

I am in a lease for my equipment, can I still join?

Yes. A lease only covers the cost of the equipment. Your processing is a seperate service. You can even use your leased equipment with our services.

I am stuck in a contract, can I still join? Would it be worth it?

Yes, regardless of whether you cancel your old service or not. If you have a contract now, ask us to review it and we will show you what your options are. And by the way... when you become a Preferred Merchant there are no contracts!

Do you offer equipment at fair or discounted price?

Yes! And unlike most other organizations, we do make equipment a profit center. You need equipment to run your operations and it is contrary to our philosophy to charge you for that. Whatever equipment we do provide, we only charge to offset our costs. Furthermore, we do so in such a way that makes it more affordable and doable for you. With that said, you may consider our feature-rich free POS system.

Why have I never heard of you before?

Well to make a long story short, we were a hometown business services company. Most of our clients had the same qualms about their service. Not that we did not take care of them, just that they would sometimes go through what most merchants go through with processing banks… surprises. After watching this go on for some time and feeling helpless about it being out of our hands, a light came on. The epiphany we had was: power in number. We knew that if we could build a network of members, not only would they have a voice, but we would have major clout in case a processor (or any provider for that matter) ever decided to get shifty. And there was born an idea bigger than us.

If this is so great, why isn’t everyone a member?

Hey! We’re working on it!  But all joking aside, we really look to our members to promote the network.

 

We don’t spend any money on advertising because that would be another cost that we would have to offset which ends up being a cost to you. We keep our costs low by sharing by word of mouth only. Besides us at the corporate office, our network is all we have, so please help by paying it forward.

Are there any contracts?

Absolutely not, and we strive to keep it that way. We see contracts as a way to lock in revenue for companies so that they don’t have to rely so much on providing the best service. For us, we see that as backwards. We know if we give you an excellent experience, we don’t need to lock you to a ball and chain.

Why don’t you do contracts when that is standard in the industry?

Because we rely so heavily on providing top tier service, we don’t need to lock you into a contract. If we treat you with the best service, why would you need to go anywhere else?

 

Any provider trying to lock you into a contract isn’t putting their money where their mouth is.

Welcome to the NEW standard,

 

WELCOME to Preferred Merchants.

This all seems too good to be true, what’s the catch?

I know! We must be crazy or magicians or something. How did we make all that “industry standard” stuff disappear?

 

No catch. We are just pioneers with progressive ideals and wise ethics.

 

Other companies may dislike us for disrupting the industry norms but that’s okay. You’re our client, not them.

Why should I promote this and refer it to other merchants?

Because there’s power in numbers. This network can only be successful with the help of the network. Because our margins are so skinny we need your help build an enormous network. This will help keep your costs down and give you great influence over your service providers (that includes us).

Does it cost anything to cancel my membership?

Nope. No contracts, no cancellation fees.

How are you different from the other merchant services companies?

Well, in most every way imaginable. But to give only a few examples:

  • Membership based

  • The network holds the power

  • No contracts

  • No cancellation fees

  • No hidden fees EVER

  • Top-tier service

  • Progressive philosophies

  • Strong code of ethics

  • We’re awesome

How do you negotiate your rates with the processor?

Based on performance and sheer volume. The more members we have, the more influence we have over our providers. This alone keep our providers honest and in line. And if they don’t perform to the standard set by our network, we pull the business from them and give it to someone who won’t let us down.

How does your affiliate/referral program work?

Refer 1 merchant - get 1 month membership free

Refer 2 merchants – get 3 months membership free

Refer 3 merchants – get 6 months membership free

Refer 5+ merchants – get a whole year of membership free

Do you plan to offer any other products or services?

Definitely! This is just a start to a myriad of products and service. We have big plans for this organization, but first we need help to build.

 

We started with credit card processing first because it was a logical first step for us considering we are experts in the industry, but also because it is an area that we see needs a serious overhaul.

 

So yes, expect more from us. We always encourage feedback from our members and even non-members. If you want to see something in the product line-up, please let us know.

Will these offerings be included at my current membership cost?

Certainly. The small monthly membership fee you pay gives you access to the network and all its benefits. We will never charge you a higher membership fee to use another product or service we add or offer.

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