FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What kinds of businesses does IMS work with as clients?
We work with retail, professional service providers, trade shows, mail order, telephone order, Internet based, and home-based businesses in virtually every industry. We can work with any size company, ranging from those that process hundreds of millions of dollars to companies processing just a few thousand dollars.
What is IMS’ value proposition?
Our scale enables IMS to to almost always make a more competitive offer to businesses processing credit cards. This is because most other programs contain hidden fees and charges, while we commit to complete pricing transparency. Our value proposition is three-fold: 1) we offer very competitive pricing; 2) we specialize in customer service and work incredibly hard to solve any problems that arise in a very expeditious fashion; 3) we spend a lot of time educating our merchants on how credit cards fees are levied and are very transparent regarding how each player is involved financially.
How does IMS determine if they can get my business a better rate on credit cards?
As a result of our large customer base we are almost always able to provide businesses with extremely competitive rates for credit card fees - better than they are currently being charged. We normally start by doing a no-obligation statement analysis and doing a deep dive on a business presently accepts cards. Our analysis is free and confidential. IMS will often only need one recent merchant statement and your annual processing volume in order to do a comprehensive analysis.
How long does the approval process take?
Once your application is complete, the processing time is usually 3-5 business days. If approved, we will promptly inform you of your acceptance and deliver the terminal equipment or software.
What does IMS’ 30-day risk-free trial mean?
Our 30-day trial period allows merchants to give our service a test drive and experience our value proposition totally risk-free. If you fail to experience fast, efficient processing, at a reasonable cost, coupled with the the highest level of customer service, cancel your account and we will refund you the purchase price of any equipment or software you bought from us. However, merchant account credit card processing fees that you may have incurred are not refundable. Certain restrictions and exclusions apply.
What credit cards will I be able to accept with a merchant account from IMS?
With IMS, you can choose to accept MasterCard®, Visa®, American Express®, and Discover®, as well as bank ATM debit cards. We also support private label cards, including gift cards and loyalty programs.
What if I have less than perfect credit?
By putting certain stipulations in place, IMS can sometimes approve merchant accounts despite low personal credit score. If you have a low credit score there is the possibility that you may not be eligible.
Do I need to have a pre-existing merchant account before I apply?
No. We can do this for you.
I want to begin accepting payments with credit cards. What kind of hardware or equipment do I need?
Many factors determine the most economical way to process credit cards, including: type of merchant account you want to establish (e.g., ecommerce, retail or direct market), the type of industry you’re in, how many transactions you have a day, type of transactions you’ll be processing, how many locations your business has, etc. Once we have all of this information, we will be better able to advise you on the type of equipment you’ll need to be able to process credit cards.
Can you help merchants select equipment or gateways?
Yes. We take great care in helping you select the equipment or gateway that best suits your system needs.
Can I use a smartphone or tablet to process credit cards?
Yes! We have a number of mobile applications that will convert your smartphone or tablet into a wireless credit card terminal. By utilizing this option you can let you deliver your products or services directly to your customers in the field or at your place of business. These apps allow real-time access to your payments at the point of sale and add inventory information to your system.
Is there a customer service number that I can call if I need help?
Yes! Our U.S.-based customer support team is always available. We will provide you with a live, toll-free merchant assistance hot-line so that you can reach us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Will I receive a monthly statement?
Yes. You can choose to have a statement emailed to you, or receive with USPS.
Does IMS work with foreign businesses?
In many instances we have the ability to work with foreign businesses, depending on their location. Certain exclusions apply.
Does IMS work with start-up companies?
Yes. We begin our process with a start-up exactly as we do with our other company by having a conversation and getting a very good idea of the businesses goals, expected volume, average ticket size, etc. Often, a start-up company’s needs are elaborate and require research. We strive to provide that in as timely a fashion as possible.
Should I have IMS do a statement analysis if my current provider has me in a long-term contract?
Yes. Even if your current provider has an early termination penalty, the savings determined by our analysis may prove it beneficial to leave your current processor because of lower costs and better terms.
Can IMS reprogram my existing terminal?
In many cases the answer is yes. We may be able to help you use your existing equipment as long as the terminal is PCI compliant.
What is the difference between online debit and offline debit?
The difference between these two debit choices is whether a PIN (personal identification number) is used at the point of sale. When a PIN is used the transaction becomes “online” and funds are immediately withdrawn from the cardholder’s available funds. When an offline debit transaction occurs, funds are not withdrawn until the transaction processes – usually 2-4 days after the sale. Debit card transactions are the fastest growing point-of-sale payment method today. The acceptance of this payment method continues to remain popular because customers and merchants both appreciate the convenience and ease of using debit cards to purchase merchandise and services.
What is the discount rate?
The discount rate is the fee that a merchant pays to the acquirer for processing services that enable the merchant to accept bankcards as payment. Our discount rates are extremely competitive.
How is my Discount Rate Set?
The discount rate you pay is determined by a variety of factors including: payment processing methods (face-to-face with your customers, online, by phone or mail); the type of cards your customers use to pay you; how quickly you settle transactions; and how your merchant services account is set up.
What are my monthly fees?
The interchange pass-through pricing program is generally the most economical and transparent program. If you have been processing with a three or four tiered system (e.g. Qualified, Mid Qualified and Non Qualified rates), a qualified or flat rate pricing plan. you should see an immediate cost reduction. You pay the cost of the card type, which is clearly posted and updated on the internet by Visa and MasterCard, along with a very modest margin. We carefully explain your monthly fees before you sign any agreement.
How are my fees collected?
Fees are normally collected on a monthly basis, by an automatic deduction from the checking or savings account you specified. However, we can also deduct on a daily basis if that is your preference.
What is the Address Verification System?
If you sell mail order/telephone order, or through the Internet, you don’t want to send a product to a false address and have a risk of receiving a chargeback. The Address Verification System (AVS) lets you enter the customer’s home address and compares it to the address on file with their credit card company. If someone uses a stolen card, and wants products shipped to a false address, AVS will help detect this for you.
What is PCI DSS?
The Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS) is a set of requirements for enhancing payment account data security. These standards were developed by the PCI Security Standards Council, which was founded by American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide and Visa, Inc. to facilitate industry-wide adoption of consistent data security measures on a global basis.
I have never heard of PCI Compliance before, is this new?
No. Merchants have been advised to take the PCI self-assessment and be compliant for the past few years. The framework of the PCI data security standards has existed in different forms for some time now and continues to evolve. You may be more familiar with the payment brands' programs that promote the implementation of the PCI DSS.
Is there a fee for becoming PCI compliant each year?
Yes. The PCI compliance certificate is valid for one year from the date the certificate is issued you are required to complete the PCI DSS self-assessment questionnaire on an annual basis. If you are already PCI compliant, then you will not have to pay any additional fees for the calendar year.
What is EMV?
U.S. banks are now issuing EMV chip credit cards. EMV is named after its original developers: Europay, MasterCard and Visa. These credit cards have a small computer chip that makes them more difficult to counterfeit with the intent of significantly reducing fraud for card-present transactions.
What is happening in October 2015 regarding credit cards with EMV chips?
On October 1, 2015, the card networks are implementing chargeback rule changes that shift the card-present liability in the event of a chargeback due to fraud to merchants if an EMV card is presented, but the transaction is not completed using an EMV/chip reader. Today, if there is card-present fraud, the card issuer usually takes on that liability and chargeback. However, starting October 1, 2015, if your business accepts payments in a card-present environment and does not have a terminal, virtual terminal, mobile device, or point-of-sale system that is enabled to process EMV secure chip cards, you may be liable in the event of a chargeback that results from fraud.
How do EMV requirements affect PCI compliance?
Use of an EMV-compliant point-of-sale system has no correlation to Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) requirements. EMV is intended to help reduce card-present fraud, and PCI compliance is intended to provide security around credit card data.
Do I need to purchase all new EMV-capable credit card readers?
That will be a decision your organization will need to make. Existing credit card readers will continue to work for current credit cards and new EMV chip cards by swiping the cards’ magnetic stripe or keying in the card information. There are no industry requirements or fines forcing the purchase of new card readers. However, after October 1, 2015, if your organization does not have an EMV card-capable point-of-sale system, and your customer is using an EMV card, you will still be liable for a chargeback that results from fraud until you also have an EMV-capable credit card reader.
Is there a liability shift for EMV cards that applies to online/website credit card transactions?
No. EMV chip card liability rules apply only to card-present transactions in which you read the card information from a machine. They do not apply when credit card numbers are typed into a website or other system.