Surcharge Fees and The Future of Payments

It is estimated that by 2024, 16.6 million mobile POS (mPOS) terminals will exist. That is because of the influx of mobile payment methods and the use of them by millennials and Gen Z’ers and will push for them. For retailers, these payment methods come with processing fees and some of them can be quite hefty.  

In order for merchants to accept credit and debit cards, they must sign an agreement with the payment processing company. This company will then provide the merchant with the tools needed to process payments. When a consumer makes a purchase, uses the equipment to make a card purchase, the payment processor subtracts their service fees from the payment and then the net sale proceeds will be sent to the merchant’s account. 

On a daily basis, customers will swipe, insert or tap their cards for purchases (or use a mobile device), and for each of these transactions the average processing fee is between 2% and 4%. Some credit card processors use an interchange-plus pricing model. This is where the processor separates the bank and credit card issues fees from the processor’s markup rates.  

Card processors know that they are disliked due to their fees for credit card processing. As a result, some payment processors offer Zero Processing fees. Zero Cost Processing enables you to pass most of the transactional costs to your customers. You will still have to pay other fees such as the setup fee, monthly service fees, PCI compliance fees and chargeback costs. 

Another route some merchants go is offering Cash Discounts vs Surcharges.

What is a Surcharge?

Surcharges are oftentimes called checkout fees. They are an additional fee that the merchants add to a bill or total when they use a card for payments. It is an extra fee, charge or tax that is added on to the cost of a good or service beyond the initial price of the item(s). This fee is in place due to the fact that each time a credit card is used, a percentage or fixed rate is tacked on to the merchants bill from their payment processor. 

Example: Items cost with tax is $100 and the surcharge is 3% of that total, then the new total would be $103.00 including the new fee. However, if the customer is paying with a Debit Check card, then we would not be able to apply the 3% for the Surcharge program.

What is a Cash Discount?

A cash discount is the opposite of a surcharge. In this method, all items in the store will reflect a higher credit card price vs a cash price. 

Example: Items cost with tax is $100 and the surcharge is 3% of that total, then the new total would be $103.00 including the new fee.

How do I implement Zero Cost Credit Card Processing?

  • Verify that 0 cost credit card processing is legal in your jurisdiction (if you are in one state and your customer is in another, verify that it is legal in states that you will be working in). 
  • Make sure that there will be no contractual conflicts with your payment processor and/or financial institution.
  • Find a reputable provider. (Schedule a call with us to learn more) 
  • Communicate with your customer base and inform them of the decision. Let them know that you have (or will have) new software in place and ensure that the customer-facing employees are aware of the changes as well. (training is key)

Why Choose Merchant Service Group LLC?

  • Keep 100% of your profits
  • No interchange fees and No transactional fees
  • Once you sign up, you’ll be assigned to a personal account executive with 24 hour support.
  • Experienced, No hassle set up and have approval within 24 hours.
  • Top rated payment equipment (Equipment In-Stock with no Delays on Delivery) 
  • Cloud-based reporting, Service and support, and a 3 year warranty.
  • Our platform allows a merchant to set up a zero fee, surcharge program using credit card equipment or online website.


The global payment ecosystem is revolutionizing. API is the new cool in managing payment processes for businesses. 

No one wants to be working with companies that employ obsolete tools to handle operations. Application programming interfaces (API) are expected to be the face of payment processing by the end of next year. 

One might argue that their existing financial setup is working efficiently and doesn’t necessarily require a change or any further integration. But it appears they fail to recognize how the meaning of efficiency is changing as technology continues to outperform itself daily. 

The API system is proof of this. The accounting department of your firm will bless you for employing this change. It doesn’t matter if you are a B2B or a B2C setup; API is the payment getaway you didn’t know you needed until now. 

Today’s interconnected world requires actions to be swift and without friction. Paper checks are old school and take days when, on the contrary, an online payment processing system would take mere seconds. 

As a business owner who trades with other businesses (B2B), data compilation and speedy transactions integrated with existing or future stock in hand seems to have become a necessity. This process, which several employees initially handled, can all be done digitally now, with just a handful of them managing each section. This also significantly eliminates the chances of errors. In addition, this streamlined and trouble-free process nourishes your B2B ties because others see you as responsible and as someone who values time. 

We recognize how digitizing one’s company requires the relevant infrastructure for it and how it must be challenging for small-scale businesses. But it must also be understood that your work practices must align with modernizing global systems for you not to be termed a ‘conventional business’. While operating on slimmer margins would make it difficult for API integration into your practices, focusing on its long-term benefits is the key to going about it. Worry not, as our merchant services are here to cover your back!

Merchant Service Group, LLC’s APIs allows ISOs and ISVs the most effortless process of getting on board, and several perks accompany along. Whether it’s a POS solution or Accounting System, we help businesses seamlessly integrate payments without any hassle.  

For more information, please email us at


Being average in any professional field is rarely accepted by any individual these days. They are always striving to be exceptional in whatever work they do. The same goes for ISO agents. 

An ISO agent (Independent Sales Organization) is a provider who sells credit card processing products and other merchant services to businesses, such as setting up payments and loyalty programs to increase customer retention. 

The industry for an ISO agent is evolving, so they need to learn and develop with it. There are specific characteristics an ISO agent must have to be successful in their field of work to expand their portfolio by offering their clients the most impeccable service.

But how can you achieve the position of being a successful ISO agent? What is the best way to get people to seek out your services?

This post will provide you with the best ways to be a successful ISO agent.

Difference Between ISO and Sales Agents?

In this field, the terms “sales agents” and “Independent Sales Organizations” are frequently interchanged, as if they all mean the same thing. In reality, these names apply to the different credit card processing industries.

ISO (Independent Sales Organization). This credit card processing company acts as a go-between for the credit card issuers and the merchant. It frequently offers merchants terminals and tech assistance, training, and customer care. This is also known as a “merchant service firm”.

Sales Agent. A sales agent is a third party who sells ISO and merchant services. Merchant services businesses will hire sales agents to identify merchants to engage with since they prefer to process credit cards and provide POS solutions. A sales agent does not have to pay the same hefty association fees as an ISO, but they cannot do business in their name and must work through an ISO or MSP.

How to Become a Successful ISO Agent?

Know What Your Customers Want

Merchants are always searching for ISO agents who can give them what they want. They need a professional who knows how to improve their business using their credit card selling process. 

In order to be successful, you want to offer consulting services, anti-fraud products, and back-office optimization, whose efficiency should be entirely enhanced so that your customer’s payment process is protected and smooth. 

This will be useful for you when merchants like your services and recommend you further. 

Be Up-To-Date With Technology 

Not all merchants keep up with the new technology these days, so they don’t know what software they can use to expand their business. 

This is why, as an ISO agent, you must keep up with today’s technology to sell credit card processing products successfully. 

When you are updated with the new technology, you will inform the businesses of the improved ways to improve their business. This will make the merchants appreciate your work. 

Know the Industry Trends 

If you want to be a knowledgeable and successful ISO agent, you have to be up-to-date with the merchant services industry and know about the changes made to processing or rising fees and how they will affect your clients in the present and future. 

This way, you are looking out for your customers’ best interest, increasing your chances of closing sales. The valuable information you provide will help the industry leaders understand the changes in the industry.

How Much Can You Make Selling Merchant Services?

The merchant services sector is commission-based in general, so the upfront commission is how much you’ll make each hour. To be clear, agents potentially earn a six figure income if they execute the three primary activities.

However, if a typical merchant account provides a salesperson with roughly between $30 and $60 in residual money each month, the salesperson can sign 10 accounts per month; they will be earning between $36,000 and $72,000 after the first year.

You just have to take your job seriously and be patient in earning the amount you want. It takes 6-18 months to build the residual base you want. 


Being a successful ISO agent might seem out of your reach, but this is only because you have not put your best traits to work. As long as you follow the rules mentioned above, you will be there in no time!

Protect Your Business from COVID-19’s Second Wave

It will be no surprise to many Americans that the second wave of COVID-19 is on its way. As retailers, restaurateurs, and entrepreneurs, you should ask yourselves what is the best solution to keep your business alive? The answer is simple- sell to customers online.

With contact-free delivery, mobile payments, and virtual payment gateways available, selling products and services online is the safest and most convenient option for billions of consumers in isolation.

But how do you choose the right e-commerce platform? Although there are many DIY website builders including Wix, Shopify, and Squarespace, there is still one major problem: the amount of time required to learn to build a website from scratch or even from a template. Sure, if you’re comfortable with design, creativity, and color patterns, you can easily spend hours (and days) custom building your dream store with excitement and youthful vigor. However, for those who don’t have either the time or creativity, the most realistic approach is to hire a web developer or designer.

Our approach is to make this process convenient and affordable. We set up your products and services (including photos, inventory, prices, and descriptions) in your own online store that includes a shopping cart and payment gateway, all for a small monthly fee that can cost less than some phone data plans. It’s a month-to-month, cancel-anytime, no-risk option that has helped many customers move their businesses online.

We talk to customers on the phone and via text, email, and chat so that they feel comfortable enough to trust us to take the next step together. We’re not in this business to make millions of dollars- there are definitely bigger e-commerce companies out there – we’re in this business to keep small business owners, restaurateurs, and entrepreneurs alive during this uncertain time.

Many of our clients have been building their businesses for years and have relied on their incredible in-store or dining experiences to bring in customers, but now that’s no longer possible. These clients have neither the time nor energy to build an online option for their customers, who desperately miss their favorite places. Even with the stay-at-home mandate being lifted, only some customers will return because of the constant fear of the unknown- and those who decide to show up will be putting themselves and others at risk. With all these fears looming, the second wave of lockdowns, bans, and shutdowns will feel like deja-vu for millions of business owners.

This is the time, while we’re still months ahead of the next COVID-19 and flu season, when building an online store brand is crucial to the survival of your business. This is the time to establish history and credibility, to build customer retention, and to gain traction before competitors take their products and services online. Take advantage of this opportunity to have our trusted team members build your online store platform before it’s too late.

For more information, please email us at

E-Cigarrette Merchant Accounts

E-cigarettes and vaping are rapidly growing industries with sales increasing every year, from $2.35 billion in 2016 to $2.9 billion in 2017, and e-cigarette sales are expected to exceed tobacco sales by 2026. With over 3,500 retail vaping shops in the United States, businesses like yours stand to post higher sales and profits by accepting credit cards; however, most credit card processors make that more difficult than it should be. That’s why Merchant Service Group LLC strives to provide you with the fast and easy approval you’ve been searching for.

Even as a relatively new industry, e-cigarette merchant accounts have a reputation for a high number of chargebacks, making it difficult for these businesses to open merchant accounts at other processors. Online sales come with a greater risk of chargebacks, and e-cigarettes are no exception, especially when shipments are delayed because of the frequent use of third-party distributors and when customers deal with lesser known businesses. Additionally, age restrictions and FDA regulations vary from state to state and are constantly changing, so many processors are hesitant to take on the increased liability involved.  Even if processors approve your application, they may still restrict your processing for any of these reasons.

At Merchant Service Group LLC, your e-cigarette merchant account won’t be subjected to any more scrutiny or hassle than other accounts. We look at the same information as a typical merchant account. Your credit history and the financial health of your business matter more than the classification of your account.

Whether you wish to accept payment through a gateway or online shopping cart, over the phone, or in person, we provide a wide range of payment solutions to integrate into your current system or to begin a new one. An experienced technical team is on hand to help customize a solution for your business, and our customer service team provides 24/7 support.

For more information, please email us at

Is the Cash Discount Program Right For Your Business?

How would you like to eliminate your credit card processing fees entirely? Sound too good to be true? It’s not! The cash discount program allows you to avoid processing fees and more and more businesses are utilizing this new program as a way to cut their expenses and increase their margins. Read on to learn more about whether cash discount is right for your business.

What is it?

The cash discount program is a simple way to avoid credit card processing fees by passing your fees onto your customers. While gas stations have made use of this program for years, it only recently became available to other business types.

How Does it Work?

A small fee (typically 2-4%) will be added to all customer transactions. The fee is removed for customers who pay with cash. At the end of the day, the charges are collected and used to cover your processing fees.

How Is this Different from a Surcharge?

This may sound similar to a credit card surcharge, but there are some important distinctions. Surcharges cannot be applied to debit transactions, but under the cash discount program, every transaction that is not paid in cash (or in-store gift card) will include the extra fee.

Is This Legal?

Credit card surcharges are currently prohibited in 11 states: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Texas, and Puerto Rico. Thanks to the Durbin amendment of the Dodd-Frank Law, passed in 2010, the cash discount program is legal in all 50 states.

You just have to follow a few simple rules in order to stay compliant: the charge must be visible on the customer’s receipt, signs must be displayed in your store explaining the fee, and you must ask the customer at check out if they would like to receive a discount by paying with cash.

What Are the Advantages of the Cash Discount Program?

Here are just a few reasons to choose the cash discount program:

  • Save with every transaction! You’ll no longer have to pay a fee every time the customer swipes their credit card. This adds up to big savings by the end of each month. With fewer fees overall, you’ll enjoy higher profits.
  • It works with your business! Many gas stations already take advantage of the cash discount program and others can benefit greatly from it. It’s perfect for many businesses, especially those that process small-ticket transactions.
  • It’s flexible! You have the option of removing the fee for the customer if they are upset by the charge. You can also return to more traditional pricing at any time if you find your customers are unhappy with the system.


What Can Merchant Service Group LLC Do for You?

The cash discount program has been growing in popularity and Merchant Service Group has helped many businesses switch their accounts to this business-friendly system, including nail salons, restaurants, donut shops, coffee shops, minimarkets, retail stores, and more!

We provide support with every step of this transition, whether it’s helping you understand the program itself, setting up your equipment to use with the cash discount program, or providing signage to display in your store that explains the program to your customers.

For more information, please email us at

Cannabis Merchant Accounts

Opening a merchant account as a cannabis retailer is challenging to say the least. Finding a processor that will board your account and offer you fair rates? Nearly impossible. Merchant Service Group LLC knows that you face enough challenges in operating a dispensary, which is why we’ve created a new program to help you start accepting card payments today.

Merchant Service Group LLC has partnered with iPayment, a US-based payment solution provider, to offer a new program that allows legal cannabis accounts to be boarded.

Even in states that have legalized the sale of cannabis, federal regulations make credit card processing a challenge. Large, national banks tend to label these accounts as high risk and see them as a liability, and processors that do board cannabis accounts will often charge higher rates because of the added risk of high chargeback and fraud rates in the industry. Dispensaries that try to go around these restrictions and board their accounts under a different industry may find their merchant accounts closed and their funds diverted with no warning.

These limitations force many legal retailers to accept cash-only sales, which limits their revenue and puts their businesses at greater risk of theft because of the extra cash on location. Accepting other types of payment can increase revenue by nearly 40 percent and allows you to keep less cash in your store, offering greater peace of mind for you and your employees.

The Merchant Service Group LLC cannabis merchant account program allows you to expand your business and accept debit cards as payment to add increased security and legitimacy to your business. Along with your business license, bank statements, and processing statements (when applicable), you must have a valid checking account for your business to open your merchant account.

Merchant Service Group LLC offers years of experience, including a history of successfully boarding high-risk accounts. We offer the same level of service, transparency, and savings for every account, in every industry.

For more information, please email us at

Are You Getting the Most Out of Your Ed Tech?

Merchant Service Group LLC strives to be more than just a credit card processor—we’re a solutions provider. With technical expertise and years of experience, we provide comprehensive solutions to seamlessly integrate custom payment and software solutions for your education organization.

Education technology – or ed tech—is used by educational organizations to manage communication, grading, attendance and all other components of the organization. There are many options available on the market with different advantages to each system.

Features of the software when it comes to student management include

·         Mass email

·         Grade books with individual instructor access

·         Financial aid applications and tools

·         Time clocks for student hours

·         Application processing

·         Travel management system

The optimal system will simplify and streamline your operations by combining school management software with your POS system. This is where Merchant Service Group LLC can help. Our team of technical experts will examine your school, taking into consideration the type, size, and future goals you may have in order to select the system to best serve all of your needs.

Once the optimal system for your organization is selected, our payment solutions are integrated right into it. A user-friendly gateway system allows you to take payments online and gives you the flexibility of taking payments anywhere by setting up a mobile device. is a gateway payment solution that has features to assist with all aspects of billing and payments including recurrent payments, customized invoices, and secure customer data storage. Our team will set up your page in-house along with a merchant account to track all of your transactions, deposits, and statements.

Through our expertise and personal attention to your business, Merchant Service Group LLC can provide the best solution that integrates your needs into one system.

For more information, please email us at

How to Prevent Chargebacks

You already know the obvious reason to avoid chargebacks: they cost your business money. But chargebacks are more than just an added cost to your operations, and a high ratio can be detrimental to your business. Once you’ve exceeded the allotted ratio, your account may be closed and your funds diverted in order to ensure the chargebacks are covered. Once your account is closed by one processor, it can be difficult to impossible to open another.

All businesses should be wary of the risk that chargebacks pose to their business, as they can come for a number of reasons, including fraud, which is an increasing issue with businesses of all types but especially for online businesses. In 2018 alone, U.S. businesses lost an estimated $6.4 billion in payment card fraud.

Outside of fraud, customers may file a chargeback if:

·         The item was not received

·         They received a substandard product or something different than expected

·         Billing is incorrect

·         They don’t recognize the charge on their credit card statement

Chargebacks can come for any of these reasons or through no fault of your own, but there are ways that you can help prevent them. Here are a few tips to combat chargebacks before they appear.

Process in-person EMV transactions when possible

EMV transactions provide the most protection against chargebacks due to the added security involved in each transaction. The added information and sent with the transaction makes it more difficult for consumers to file a chargeback for fraudulent reasons. Keyed transactions are the most susceptible to chargebacks because they are more difficult to verify, so it’s best to use the EMV chip whenever you have the option.

Be Clear

Confusion is a common reason for a chargeback. A customer may dispute a claim if they didn’t understand the terms of the sale or if they don’t recognize the name of the company that appears on their statement.

Provide detailed receipts and clear invoices for each transaction. Online and keyed sales are at particular risk for chargebacks, so make sure the description of the product is clear. If the customer receives something of lower quality or that is different than they expected, they are more likely to dispute the charge.

You’ll also want to be sure your website lists your terms and agreements, and that shipping times are clearly laid out for the customer.

Use chargeback prevention software

Between 60-90% of fraud reported in 2016 was friendly fraud, when a customer provides false information while making a purchase. Chargeback and fraud prevention software can help your business avoid this kind of scam and is especially a good idea for businesses types that tend to be targeted for chargebacks.

Many of these software options can be integrated into your current ecommerce set up. If you’re unsure which fits your needs, our technical team can assist you in selecting the best option for you business.

Provide Excellent Service

A customer who feels heard will be less likely to dispute a transaction. The sooner the customer can get in contact with your business, the sooner their issue can be resolved, and the less likely they are to file a dispute.

Merchant Service Group LLC can help provide that support, with customer service and technical support that is available 24/7 to assist in locating a transaction or provide cardholder information when a refund is necessary.

Keep Records

Once the chargeback is filed, you may feel like you have little control over the outcome.  The credit card company makes the final decision, but you can help your case by keeping detailed records of every sale, especially for online purchases, including receipts, shipping information, invoices, and any communication you had with the customer.

For more information, please email us at

Lower Rates for B2B Companies

Credit card processing fees have become as inevitable as death or taxes. If your business accepts credit cards, you can expect a significant portion of your revenue to be taken out of your merchant statement at the end of each month. But if you deal in business-to-business (B2B), there may be a way to lower your rates as much as 1% and help you keep more of the money you earn by using a payment gateway.

In 2014, U.S. business-to-business retail accounted for half of the gross domestic product—about $8 trillion in goods. E-commerce B2B in particular is growing at a rapid rate and is expected to top $1.1 trillion by 2021.

Unfortunately for these businesses, corporate cards come with some of the highest interchange rates, which means that if you accept these cards on a regular basis, you’ll likely pay higher credit card processing fees than businesses who don’t.

Most merchants accept a range of credit cards through a standard terminal. Only the amount, date, and the name of the business is transmitted for transactions like these, and they are subject to the rates that Visa and Mastercard set for each type of card.

However, B2B businesses can save on their interchange rates for corporate cards by using payment gateways to process these cards. Gateways like can be set up to include more information than a standard transaction including ship from and destination postal codes, invoice number, item description, item quantity, and more. Including this information with a transaction directly affects the fees that Visa and Mastercard pass on to your business and lets you process at a lower rate.

Any business who deals in B2B or even business-to-government (B2G) and accepts corporate, payment, or government service agency (GSA) cards can benefit from accepting payments in this way, including

  • Wholesalers
  • Manufacturers
  • Construction
  • Marketing
  • Printing and shipping
  • Recruiters/headhunters
  • Payroll processing
  • IT services
  • Accounting services
  • Property management
  • Housekeeping and industrial clean up

Merchant Service Group LLC provides the customer support and technical expertise to guide you through the process of accepting corporate cards through a payment gateway. As an reseller, our team of technological experts can set up your account and make sure you have everything you need to process at the lowest rates possible.

For more information, please email us at