At Affinity, we understand merchant solutions can be confusing. But we’re here to help! Below we have provided a list of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) from our clients. If you can’t find what you’re looking for below, simply click here to contact us and we will help get you an answer.

A merchant account is set up with a financial institution to allow you to accept credit card payments directly from your clients. Unlike with most third-party services, money collected through your merchant account is deposited directly into your checking account within 2 to 3 business days. Having your own merchant account also allows you to take payments from your clients using your own business name, increasing consumer confidence and decreasing chargeback issues.

The rates for merchant accounts vary based on the amount of risk involved in the transaction. The accounts with the lowest rates will always be the ones where the customer is present and the card is swiped in a face to face transaction. The credit card companies view these types of transactions to be fairly low in risk for fraud, whereas internet transactions and transactions where orders are taken by phone or mail are generally considered high risk, since the customer is not present and the card is not in hand.

We believe in helping our merchants maximize their profit! Therefore, most merchants qualify for NO monthly minimum on their account, or a smaller than average minimum. A minimum is derived from your Qualified Discount Rate for Visa and MasterCard Transactions. For Example, say your minimum is $25 and you have a discount rate of 3% and you process a transaction for $100, then $3.00 in processing fees will be taken from that transaction and applied towards your monthly minimum of $25. If, at the end of the month, you have not processed any other transactions as in this example, you would be charged a minimum fee of $23 to meet the $25 minimum. Otherwise, a minimum would not be collected as long as enough transactions are processed to cover the minimum fee.

This is the percentage fee a merchant pays to process a transaction. There are three types of Discount Rates that can be applied, depending on the transaction type: Qualified, Mid-Qualified and Non-Qualified.

Qualified discount rate is applied for all transactions meeting the qualified or “normal” operating guidelines as outlined below:
* All batches closed daily
* Retail Merchants Magnetically swipe cards and electronically authorize charges through a certified terminal.
* Internet / MOTO Merchants Electronically authorize credit card charges using AVS and include order numbers for Visa and MasterCard transactions.

Mid-Qualified discount rates are applied for all transactions meeting the operating guidelines as outlined below:
* Retail Merchants Manually keying in credit card orders using AVS & order number on Visa and MasterCard transactions.
* Rewards Level Cards often fall into the Mid and sometimes even the Non Qualified rate categories, unless separately quoted or indicated specifically.
* Internet / MOTO Merchants There is no mid-qual rate for Internet / MOTO merchants.

Non-Qualified discount rates are applied for all transactions meeting the operating guidelines as outlined below:
* All Merchants – Not Closing batches daily, not using AVS & providing order numbers on manually keyed transactions.
*All Merchants IF the Credit Card is a Following Card Type:
-Corporate Bankcards
-MasterCard/Visa Business Bankcards
-Procurement Bankcards (Government)
-Visa Signature Cards unless separately quoted
-MasterCard World Cards unless separately quoted

Address Verification Services. This is a tool for merchants to reduce the risk associated with non-face-to-face transactions, such as mail order or telephone order sales by keying in the numerical portion of the customers billing address and zip code. By using Address Verification Services, a transaction qualifies for a lower rate as compared to not using the service. This is an industry standard regulation.

CVV2/CVC2 is a three-digit security code that is printed on the back of most credit cards. The CVV2/CVC2 program is designed to reduce fraud in the card-not-present environment by validating that a genuine Visa/MasterCard credit card is being used during a transaction.

When you apply for your merchant account, you indicate how much monthly volume you expect to process. As such, your account is approved for that amount and if you go over you may be subject to an overlimit fee. You can avoid the overlimit fee in any given month if you believe your sales will be over the top by calling customer service and letting them know in advance. This encourages merchants to remain proactive in their business and their merchant services. If your sales will continue to be over the limit for the following months, you can simply ask them to bump you up to the next level. There is no penalty for growing your business, again, we just want you to keep aware of your processing. This also helps us to provide additional fraud monitoring to your account, mitigate risk and help you to avoid chargebacks!

From the time we receive your application, it generally takes 24 – 48 hours to receive your approval. It then takes about another 24 hours to receive your real-time login information if you are an internet merchant. If you are ordering a software product or terminal, it is shipped out upon approval, and will generally reach you within 3 to 5 business days. You can begin processing as soon as you have received your product.

We have a 98% approval rate, so it’s very unlikely that you wouldn’t get approved. We will go over all the details of your business before you apply, so we will do our best to be sure that you will get approved. If, for some reason, you are denied, you will be refunded your setup fee, less a $25 processing charge.

Yes. Businesses outside the United States and accounts where a principal business owner has an open bankruptcy are not allowed to apply. We also maintain a list of unacceptable, or “high-risk” and conditional merchants. Conditional merchants may apply if they meet certain restrictions. The bank may also impose some additional reserves be held back, or require an up front security deposit to approve these merchants. Merchant will be notified prior to final approval and acceptance of terms. Contact us to inquire on specific conditional or unacceptable business types.

No, All businesses must have an address in the United States, a depository checking account with a United States Bank, and ship all products from the United States.